Repetition vs. Variety?
I read a quote yesterday that said: “If you want endless repetition, see a lot of different people. If you want infinite variety, stay with one.”
I guess I have been a long favorite of endless repetition...
I don’t really like this about myself, my inability to stay, but here I am at 52 and that is the one thing that has remained constant over my life: I move on, I leave, I seem to enjoy endless repetition.
But I think that is changing. I say I think because no one surprises me more than me. Often, I find the things I do and say to be a complete shock to who I think I am and who I believe myself to be. It is a weird life living with someone whom you can always count on to throw a monkey wrench into things.
This used to mean that my life was pretty unstable. Not so since having kids. While I still surprise myself a great deal, I do not go with the new brilliant idea nearly as much as I used to...having kids and a mortgage will take the wind out of your sails pretty quickly...and for me, that has been a good thing. I need a home and kids to ground me. To keep me from flitting off to here or there. I am not sorry for the financial commitment or the kid one. I am grateful for both and the stability each has provided in my life. These are my infinite variety areas...thus far anyway.
But my dating behavior has persisted to be the endless repetition versus the varietal kind. At least for the first 50 years of my life. I liked the new, the chase, the fun and I wasn’t really all that into the long term. It bored me. I felt trapped. I longed for something new again.
I can see now that great comfort is obtained through knowing someone well, over years and decades. I am not sure that will ever be for me (I am trying) but I can see that it provides safety and intimacy that is not really possible when you are always craving something new with someone new.
I have long felt that the long term, loving connection was THE way to go. That I was somehow deficient in my inability to sustain long term, lasting intimacy. And I still think that is where my work is, however, I will say that the older I get the more I realize that I am pretty ok just taking things as they come. I really don’t have a way anymore. And I am not sure where the fuck my lifelong way went...
I have never been laid back or easy going. I am intense, driven and hard driving. That is just who I am. But in the last couple of years, I have come to a place where I am very content with my own company. Dating and relationshiping is something that has become way less important. And I find myself in a place in life where I love the life that I have - no significant other or less significant other required.
Currently I am dating someone and it is the first time in my life that I am not trying to make it into something. He is great. We have a lovely time. I have no idea where it goes or real concern of making it go in any direction, instead content to just be present and see what happens. I have never been this person before, let me tell you that!
This guy doesn’t feel like endless repetition. He feels more like infinite variety...but perhaps it is too early to tell. We shall see. I will report back when I know.
What has become apparent to me in this dating life is that I have been wholly absent from the process far too often. I mean I have never spent anytime at all thinking about myself in the whole endless repetition. I mean who am I to do that, at what cost? What drives that behavior? Where does this land in my body for me? I have no answers because I have never asked myself the above questions...
I am also at a loss as to any questions related to infinite variety, mostly because I have only a couple of relationships that could even pass for longer term. One marriage of eleven years and then an engagement that was I think four. That is really it for anything long term. (I was not joking about the endless repetition thing...).
So I am learning that I can find myself surprising myself yet again in my examination of who I am today and why I choose the things I do and do the things I do. I am constantly evolving, changing and learning more about the most important relationship I will ever have: the one with myself. Learning why I do the things I do and then figuring out where the urge came from and then being able to decide if that is ok for me. Endless repetition or infinite variety...I am gonna have to let you know. Which is just another way of saying that I will be as surprised as you!