Sunlit Water

April 14, 2009

What Now?

Filed under: Personal — by teofilo @ 10:37 pm

I haven’t done a really personal post in a long time.  There are reasons for that, but there’s been a lot going on in my life lately and I think it’s time to mention some of it.

Probably the biggest and most important development is that I’ve settled on a grad school to attend, with pretty generous financial aid, so for the first time in quite a while I know exactly what I’m going to be doing for the next couple of years at least.  My life has been so unstable and in-the-moment since I graduated from college that it’s going to take a while to adjust to this new stae of affairs.  It’s definitely a good thing, though, and I’m very happy with how the whole process turned out and excited about going back to school.

I also feel like my personal life has become unusually stable.  At this point I’ve done everything I felt like I needed to do.  At the very least, it’s certainly been an important learning experience for me to finally get the relationship I always wanted and then to realize that it wouldn’t necessarily turn out how I expected.  This is kind of a sensitive topic, and I haven’t said much about it here, not least because my ex reads this blog, but I think it’s time I talked about how things turned out.

Basically, going in I wanted a serious relationship but one that was also going to have a definite end date.  In retrospect it seems really naive of me to think that was reasonable to expect, but I was pretty naive about these things at the time.  I definitely wasn’t clear enough at the beginning about what I wanted, and I definitely went too fast in making the relationship very serious very early on.  I didn’t really have a sense of how these things typically go (and I’m actually not sure I do now).  In any event, I made a lot of mistakes in how I started the relationship.  I was just so happy to have finally found a wonderful girlfriend and I wanted to make the most of it.

Needless to say, when it became increasingly apparent over time that I wasn’t really intending this to go on indefinitely things got more difficult.  I ended up modifying my expectations quite a bit, and to my surprise things like staying together long-distance for a while turned out to work pretty well.  At least, it worked well for me; I’m not sure she saw things the same way.

Ultimately, however, I could never get past my initial discomfort with the idea of the relationship extending indefinitely into the future, so I ended it.  By the end I was really feeling like I didn’t want to be in a relationship anymore.  It’s kind of painful to admit, but I think I didn’t really understand at the beginning what it meant to be in a serious relationship.  I knew it was something I wanted, but I didn’t realize the implications of it or think about how I might feel a few months down the road.  I’ve always been somewhat restless and uncomfortable with staying in the same place or situation for too long, and I hadn’t really considered how a relationship might affect that.  Or, perhaps, I just assumed it would work out and I could have my serious relationship and then move on to something else the way I always do.  Of course, it doesn’t work that way, as I’ve since found out.

We stayed friends after the breakup, and for a while it kind of felt like nothing had really changed except that all the pressure of being in a Serious Relationship had ended.  It even felt fun again, like it had at the beginning.  After a while, though, the same problems that had been there all along about my attitudes and expectations began to surface again, and I’m not sure they’ve really been resolved.  She’s currently living overseas for an extended period, which has been a major factor in all of this in various ways, one of which has been to make dealing with any remaining issues feel less urgent.

So basically, my life has settled into a no-relationship routine, and it feels pretty good.  I find that I just don’t have any desire to ever do that again.  Not that I can’t imagine ever having the desire in the future, but I sure don’t have it right now.  I feel like I’ve accomplished the main thing in my personal life that I had been trying to do for so many years, and anything that happens from this point on is gravy.

The sense of accomplishment is pleasant, in its way, but the situation kind of leaves me at loose ends.  So much of my life over the past few years has been structured around trying to find a girlfriend and having a relationship that I really don’t know what to do with myself at this point.  So far I’ve basically just thrown all my attention into my work, and I expect that I’ll probably do something similar with school when that starts.  That’s all well and good, as far as it goes, but it still leaves me not knowing what to do about my social life.  Now that I’m no longer looking for a girlfriend, I’ve lost the main thing that kept me interested in having a social life at all for all those years, and right now I’d be happy enough to just avoid other people entirely as much as possible, which is actually what I prefer.  In almost any given social situation, I’d rather be alone.

This all works well enough for me, I guess, but it feels wrong somehow.  I’m not sure if there’s really a problem here that needs fixing or not.  I often feel like I should be more social, but I don’t really want to be; I mostly just want everybody to leave me alone.  I’m a pretty private person in general, and right now I feel like I should just embrace that.

I haven’t mentioned sex at all yet, but it obviously plays a role in all this.  Regular sex was one of the best things about the relationship (and, um, the post-relationship), but I’m not sure what sort of role it played in my thinking or my decisions.  For all the years when I was trying so hard to find a girlfriend and a relationship I basically just thought of sex as a part of that, and the idea of sex outside of a serious relationship didn’t really appeal to me.  It was very important to me that my first time be with someone very special to me, and that there be many more times with that person after the first.  And, indeed, that’s exactly how it turned out, and it was great.  But now that’s all over, and while another relationship doesn’t sound very enticing, more sex certainly does.  I’ve never really come to terms with how I feel about sex outside of a relationship; I’m for it in the abstract, but in practice I’m not so sure how I would feel.  It’s the only kind of sex I’m likely to get anytime soon, though, so I guess I need to figure this out.

Despite all these issues in my life that remain unresolved, I’m happier right now than I’ve been in a very long time.  Things are looking good for me academically and professionally, and while I will need to deal with some stuff in my personal life, I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

This has been a difficult post to write, and I’m not sure it really hangs together or makes sense to read, but I think it’s something I needed to get out.  I’m not really asking for advice from my few remaining readers, but I’m open to any thoughts anyone has on the various subjects I’ve been rambling about here.


April 5, 2009

The Benefits Of Being Late To The Bandwagon

Filed under: Culture,Transportation — by teofilo @ 4:08 pm

Yglesias notes that small airports like Jacksonville and Albuquerque are more likely than airports in large cities to have free wireless. This is something I’ve noticed as well. The wireless at the Albuquerque airport is very nice and easy to use, while at airports like O’Hare it’s all for a fee. It seems to be airports in large cities rather than large airports, too: on my way from Albuquerque to Philadelphia a few days ago my layover was at Love Field in Dallas, which is a very small airport in a rather large metropolitan area, and sure enough, when I opened up my browser there it prompted me to buy access.

Yglesias seems genuinely puzzled by this, but I think the reason is pretty straightforward.  I haven’t checked this out, so it may not turn out to be true, but anecdotally it seems to me that the airports in big cities were the earliest to install any sort of wireless service, and they did so at a time when free wireless was not yet a very widespread phenomenon.  This gave certain wireless providers an opportunity to grab a very profitable opportunity to serve a huge captive audience, and they went ahead and did so as soon as they could.

Small-city airports, being less attractive to the major providers and generally less on-the-ball about implementing the latest services, were generally passed over in this first round of wireless.  When they finally did get around to deciding to put in wireless, things had changed and free wireless was common, so they went ahead and installed their own free systems, without involving the major providers, and marketed them as complimentary amenities for travelers.  Thus, the pattern we see today.

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