Thursday, September 28, 2006

City Meet Girl, Girl Meet City

DC and I have been together for more than a year now. Longer than any relationship I've ever had, but not even close to the average amount of time that I've known almost all of my friends. I still feel like we're slowly getting used to each other, still getting to know each other in many ways. And we're not yet in love.

Today, I looked at the people around me and started thinking about DC. What is DC? What is its personality? And the way to answer those questions is to examine the people. Standing next to me in Starbucks today, there was a girl about my age carrying a book on contract law. Walking through the streets, I'm struck by how diverse the people are. I stood on the corner with two men of Middle-Eastern decent wearing suits and speaking in their native language. Men in the traditional DC blue suit are everywhere, with occasional women in power suits as well.

At lunch, I walked past a large patio outside a very expensive posh steak restaurant and saw many people sharing bottles of wine and having intense conversations. At the takeout sushi restaurant where I got my lunch (lobster rolls and spicy scallop rolls), I heard two men about my age wearing suits and talking work. One was contemplating 'leaving to go to the prosecution side' while the other was hoping for an invitation to work for 6 months in Brussels.

Not to mention all those dressed in business casual, the hippies - some of whom are named thus for wearing political statements on their shirts and myself, dressed in one of the work outfits I have that could be sold with Professional Barbie.

DC is a city where people pass out business cards at bars. And in your first conversation with someone, you hear about their job (which they passionately love) and their political affiliation. DC is a city with a strong work ethic, fervor and intensity for instigating change. And all of that is invigorating and contagious. DC makes you a better person in a lot of ways - more focused, more confident, more serious.

In thinking about DC, I can't help but think about Atlanta - the city I left a year ago. Atlanta is a city of country comes to town, as the old saying goes. It's full of small town people who came to the big city to make it big. A lot of ambition in that town, and a lot of ego and self-importance oozing from those small towners who succeeded. There's not much diversity, not enough for my taste, or much sophistication. Or political activism or artistic awareness. It still just doesn't suit me quite right, despite the people, memories and places I love.

So DC and I may still be getting to know one another, deciding what kind of relationship this is, but I think I can safely say if DC were a person, he'd be gettin' lucky soon.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

I like the Rolling Stones. I saw them in concert with my mother almost exactly a year ago. She dressed up. You know, just in case Mick Jagger saw her. I want to be kooky like her one day. Some might say I'm well on my way. Those who know me well.

Family is funny like that. There's family that is perfect for you that you didn't pick out, like my crazy momma. There's family that is perfect for you that you did pick out like my good friend Liz who I heard a lot about and kept thinking, 'That girl sounds cool. I want to meet her. I want to be her friend.' And then there are friends that you don't pick, but are still perfect for you. Like my sweet friend Kate who got married a few days ago. Kate and I met on the street in Athens, Georgia. I always tell her it's my favorite chance encounter.

So what about that other family? The family member that I haven't met yet. He's a pretty important guy. Not just because he gets to be with me, but because he will be the person I start a family with. Gotta pick out a good guy so my kids are good kids and are raised in a good environment. Maybe it'll be a chance encounter. But even so, there will be a lot of thinking involved in picking him.

Back to the Rolling Stones. 'You can't always get what you want. But if you try, sometimes you just might find, you get what you need.' A lot of thought goes into picking the right mate, the right partner. And I have put plenty of thought into what I want. There's a blurry line, though, between what you want and what you need. There's a silly list, longer than the one I've previously included here, and that's a good place to start.

But what do I need? That is a daily process. And some things overlap. A lesson I learned not too long ago is that I need to really want my man. It's a lesson that I can see surfacing up in the past several years, but not one I noticed until recently. I've always known that I need a man who is patient because I am not patient. I need a man not easily angered and one not quick to yell because I don't deal with anger very well and get very upset by it.

I need someone supportive, kind, appreciative, affectionate and someone who makes me laugh. I need someone who reads me when I'm holding back or holding in because what's in wants out. I need a man who is a good communicator and who is expressive and open with his thoughts and feelings. But there are so many other things I want and need that I don't even know about. It's a learning process. And always is, I'd say, even when you've found that someone because nothing in life is ever perfect.

Which brings me back to needs and wants. Wanting to be what I want and what I need is something I want and need but it isn't enough. Wanting to be with someone who isn't what I need is just as ineffectual as being with someone who is everything I need but still don't want.

You can't always get what you want. But if you try, sometimes you just might find, you get what you need. I think the point in there is the trying and the not knowing. I don't know, but I'm gonna try. And maybe, while I'm trying to figure it all out, another chance encounter will give me something wonderful and unexpected. Because, as the Stones say, 'I am waiting, waiting for someone to come out of somewhere.'

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Growing Pains. Ouch.

I've said many times that I think this is a tough time period in life. I'm not sure when it ends. It seems like you get spit out of college into the real world and face so many new problems and are forced to make so many decisions. Maybe when I hit 30, I'll have it all figured out? I don't know.

As I've gone through my own individual changes - trying to figure out where I want to live, what I want to do, should I go back to school, what kind of guy should I date, etc. - I've also noticed my close friends' lives changing. Almost all of them are in serious relationships either planning their wedding or planning to wed one day. And that has altered some of the way that we interact. We obviously can't talk as often because when you're in a serious commited relationship, you have someone that you need to spend a lot of quality time with. And that's okay. Perfectly reasonable and understandable. One of my close friends had a baby, and for awhile, we hardly talked because she had this incredible new person who needed her time and attention. And what a gift that has been in her life, and also in mine by watching my friend grow and change in this way.

What I never expected, though, was in all these life changes that all of us are experiencing, we would grow apart. I feel like I've lost a few friends this year. It's hard. I don't know if I've done something wrong, and sometimes I worry that I have. But in the end, I think that we're all changing so much, it's hard to change with someone and not change in different ways that separate you from one another. How do you find friends (especially a spouse) who you can change with instead of change away from?

I really don't like the 20's. Growing pains are just that - pains, painful. I am grateful, though, for the good, close friends I do have that I have grown with through the years. And I look forward to the new friends that I will acquire as I move into new parts of life. Maybe there's a BFF just waiting for me out there, but we won't meet til we're neighbors in the same nursing home! I hope so. But I also hope I'm sharing that room with a good friend who's a part of my life now. Old friends, in my opinion, are still best as long as they're close.

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