I’m growing up and becoming less shallow.
It took long enough, that’s for sure, but I’ve finally come to the conclusion of the type of person I’m looking* for. It shouldn’t come as a huge shock to anyone who has ever been in a relationship but coolness is really one of the biggest factors you should use when finding someone you want to spend time with. Shifting to this from picking women based almost exclusively on attractiveness like I did in high school and college is actually quite the change for me, and one I like.
I began thinking about this a few months ago when my PhD program was interviewing candidates. It’s tradition that at the end of the two day marathon we take the candidates out on the town and end up at a bar where we unwind and really try to bond with the kids. We typically have three rounds of about twenty candidates each, and I typically do what I can to meet with each group at least once over those two day spans. This year I met with the first two groups and was extremely disappointed with the caliber of candidates, but a buddy of mine told me that the third group was, almost to a person, fucking awesome. Of course, I didn’t believe him, so I had to see this for myself.
We invited the group out to a bar where we were already having another celebration and I met the group. Needless to say, all of them I met were cool and interesting, but there was one stand-out even among a group such as that. That girl (woman? I don’t know what to call ’em anymore…) was just really cool , no way around it. The only thing is that she wasn’t exactly what me or my friends would call “attractive.” It didn’t matter for my two friends though, they both wanted to fuck her. They’re attractive guys too, so it’s not like they were just digging at the bottom of the barrel; she was just that cool.
That’s what cool does. It brings you in, and if it’s great enough it keeps you there.
That actually was part of the reason my marriage ended, and I’m finally beginning to realize that.
* I’m not looking in the traditional sense. I’m not crazy. I just got divorced, it’s time to shop around and play the field for a while.
There are two things I’m a total sucker for: love songs and “The Fountain.” I’ve known this for quite some time and was actually quite ashamed of it until a few years ago. I am not entirely sure why I was ashamed to be a sucker for these things, but it may have something to do with “manliness” or some other bullshit like that. This is ridiculous of course, and now I can unabashedly embrace my love for the idea of love.
This whole line of thought came about through the creation of a list of the ten greatest songs I currently own. It was remarkably difficult, but the one undeniable fact that came from this was that love songs are often some the best songs written by any particular artist. I don’t know if it’s due to the intensity of love and how it feels differently to everyone or what, but it is clearly some of the best song fodder of all time. This is by no means a novel observation and I don’t mean for it to seem profound, but it’s something that is nice to finally accept for what it is.
The love songs serve as a good transition into my feelings about Darren Aronofsky’s 2006 film “The Fountain.” I’m not even going to touch the artistic aspects of the film that make it such a masterpiece, but instead I am going to focus on the story and why it makes such an impact on me every time I watch it (which happens to be at least once a month).
Two things strike me deeply every time I watch The Fountain. The first is that I can realistically see myself as the main character, Tommy. He happens to be a scientist working on brain cancer research; the very same research that could cure his ailing wife. I could see that being me. Working endlessly, using all my intellect to solve an insolvable problem to the point of neglecting the very thing that drove me to work so hard in the first place. It was all Tommy knew, so he lost himself in his own work for the entirely selfish reason of not wanting to let go of the love of his life even though she was finally comfortable letting go. He took a commendable, yet self-defeating view of his terrible situation and reaped the consequences later on in the film.
The second thing I see is the most intense depiction of true love I’ve ever witnessed on film. Knowing the realities of my own history of love it gives me a depiction of what I aspire to have at some point. At the same point, the movie terrifies me greatly. You see, one of the most clear ways love was shown in the film was though moments of the most intense sadness. Desperation, complete despair, a total mental breakdown, and finally a single, unbreakable focus were what made Tommy the remarkable man he was in this story. What I fear is that I am simply not capable of having such intense emotions, and by extension can never feel the love he felt for his wife. I realize this is probably an unreasonable way to feel, but there’s something in me that keeps me from not rejecting it entirely. All I know is that I want to feel for someone the way that Tommy felt for his wife, Izzy.
Is that too much to ask?
Filed under life, marriage
For the first time in quite a while the science is going relatively well. I want to write about it, but with science being the way it is (and my boss being the way he is) I shouldn’t go into details. What I will say is that the optogenetics work I have been doing is finally coming to fruition and the postdoc who made it seem so fucking difficult was clearly just trying to dissuade me since my first animal gave me data. Bitch…
Had a group dinner where the lady I’m kind of interested in was also in attendance Wednesday night. We were kind of segregated from the rest of the group and ended up talking most of the dinner. Not gonna lie, there were some awkward times but I would like to feel that they were overshadowed by the not awkward times. I don’t know what to do about this woman. Is this one of those carpe diem times or is it more complicated than that due to my divorce situation? I’m leaning towards the former since at this age amazing single women are becoming more difficult to find by the day.
Overall, good shit. I like life again.
Turns out that going without internet still sucks (I did this a few years ago when I first split with my wife), but going without gas is even worse. Yeah, the morons from the gas company shut my gas off instead of beginning to charge me for it. I knew they were dumb, but this has been going on for a week now and I’m getting real sick of it. Cooking is my stress relief, so thank god there’s very little stress in my life right now
On a more positive note the divorce paperwork is all filled out and ready to go. Turns out it’s just checking a few boxes and signing your name about a dozen times (as long as you’re getting an awesome divorce like my wife and I). Have to say it looked much more intimidating than it really was.
My apartment is coming along nicely since I got my bed on Friday. I’m at work now, but when I get back I plan to put up a bunch of pictures and paintings and really help make my place feel more like my home. Still need to get rid of those boxes though…
And science-wise things are progressing quite nicely. This Thursday will be a trying time since the mice I injected with Channelrhodopsin will be ready to use and, fingers crossed, I get a boatload of data. In theory I can knock out all the data I need with just a few healthy animals with unique injections. It won’t work out quite that nicely, but I still have hope that all my training will get me through this.
Companionship, internet, a bed…
Break-ups, especially long ones, are particularly difficult in the early stages. This is something I have been living for the past few days since I moved out of the residence my quasi-ex-wife (still working on the paperwork. We’re lazy) and even though I’ve been though a similar situation in the past this time is particularly difficult since I know there is no possible chance for a reunion. We are both very happy with the outcome, but that does not mean that the transition to true single life is going to be an easy one. So far it’s been fine, but it’s also novel and that alone is enough to keep me happy for the time being. The problem with novelty is that it is by definition temporary and will at some point be lost and I will have to deal with the mundane existence that is the dating/single life.
For some reason I find this both exciting and terrifying. I find it to be exciting since this very situation forces me to meet new people, and that is something I like to do that my previous life actively kept me from. And to be quite honest, I simply love meeting women. The chase is an amazing game that I at one time loved to play. This is also what scares the living bejesus out of me. I have a number of friends who have been in the dating game for a long time and who have had absolutely terrible outcomes with multiple relationships. Mind you, these are the tails of the normal distribution and I completely realize this, but it still frightens me.
However, I do have an advantage in this whole situation: my attitude. I’m going into this new stage of my life with a completely rational attitude. If I ask someone out with someone and she denies me? No problem and no hard feelings, that’s just the way things work out sometimes. So be it, no reason to waste a possible friendship due to hurt feelings that really weren’t there to begin with. I understand this may seem like a naive perspective, but the people who know me understand that if anyone can pull it off I can. Another reason I feel this way is that I’m a relatively good looking, relatively young, goddamn neuroscientist living in motherfucking Chicago. If I can’t find someone here in my situation then that’s my own goddamn problem.
I’m still optimistic about the whole situation and I feel that is good at this point. We shall see how long it lasts, but at least it’s how I feel right now and that type of outlook has to count for something.
I actually think I like this whole getting divorced thing. I’m going out more, seeing my friends much more frequently, getting more done in the lab, and just generally feel better. Of course, it’s not all sunshine and puppies, but it has been a lot easier than I expected it to be. I think getting back in the dating scene is going to be the most difficult part of this whole endeavor, but that’s bound to get easier with time. Hell, I’ve already had a drink with a really cool engineering grad student that I may be a tad interested in so I think I’m doing pretty damn well all things considered.
It may sound odd, but I feel bad about not feeling worse about my divorce. I know that was a jumble of a sentence, but I’m not sure how else to say it. Essentially, the split from my wife has been surprisingly mutual in just about every regard (almost Seinfeld-esque). Not saying it wasn’t brutal for three or four days, but I got over it quickly and both of us are well on our way to moving on with our lives.
This brings me to something a little odd that happened the other day. Another student in my program apparently split from his wife in November and just heard about my recent split. I’ve talked to this guy a few times, but not really all that much, and he’s a nice enough dude and all, but now he wants to grab a drink after work sometime this week. I’m really not sure what to make of that. I said I’d like to grab a drink with him, but I don’t really have anything to talk about since I’m quite happy with the way things have played out. I really hope his divorce was also a pleasant split and then we can have a laugh about how both of us probably thought the other was in dire need of consolation when that simply isn’t the case.
Oh well, only way to see this through is to just let it play out.