single mindedness: blessing or curse?

It occurred to me recently that I am extremely single minded. (Note that it took until I had absolutely nothing else going on in my head or my life to take note of said trait.) I have spent the entire weekend feeling ill and being lazy. I have hated every minute of it, but for some reason, I couldn’t wrap my mind or attention around anything else. I just didn’t have anything that needed to be done. It’s one of the reasons I wish I worked 7 days a week. Not in the flexible deadlines world of STN but something where I have a COB due date or someplace to go sit at a desk. When I don’t have that, I float back to the days of yesteryear, when I slept until noon every day I could and whiled away the hours as if they meant nothing. Terrifying.

But this really isn’t the issue at hand, just what brought about the revelation that I can be good at only one thing at a time. And that one thing can’t be very broad. To say that I can be a good employee but nothing else doesn’t mean that I’m good at everything about my job, work overtime, am at every higher-up’s beck-and-call, etc. It means that I am doing one or two of those things really well, to the detriment and exclusion of everything else. When I am a good employee, I am a bad friend, girlfriend, daughter, sister, blogger, health nut. When I really get into working out, I ignore phone calls, worry at the office about what I’m eating or not eating, put the gym ahead of doing other things. When I focus on a guy (be he crush, boyfriend or otherwise), I “forget” to call home, go to the gym, focus on my work, go grocery shopping, etc.

That last one is the most extreme example of my single mindedness in action. What I wonder is, why do I let my feelings for men – and my hopes for returned affections – get the better of me? Have I had a single successful relationship to speak of? Not really. At least not in the sense that I thought it was a forever/destined/kismet thing. The best moments were with people I knew would fade from my life eventually, no matter how much I wished they wouldn’t. So if I have been ever-aware of the fleeting voices and faces of romantic love, why do I let them consume me? I have whittled away my feelings quite a bit now, to the point where I no longer pay any attention to the hurt from my past. It’s still there somewhere, and I know it will come back to bite me eventually, but I can ignore it for now. But there are these other people – these present and future people – that still take over my brain.

Am I still a boy-crazy teenage girl on some level? Or is it the fact that I’ve yet to hold a really fulfilling long-term relationship? Am I still obsessively searching for someone to love because all the other “loves” have fallen short? And if I keep the lamp held high, clambering through the shadowy fields that hold tiny flickerings of potential love like fleeting lightning bugs on a late August night, will I ever find what I’m after? Or will I fill my already cracked and dingy Mason jar with a thousand bugs, only to watch all their lights fizzle and die before I can cherish a single one?

Now, I can’t see myself ever bagging a jarful of men. The very idea makes me laugh out loud. But if I gave myself 20 years, I could probably go through another handful or two. However, if I continue on this same course – this obsessive bullet train that always ends up taking me on a round trip to Lonelyville – will I come out on the other side a 44-year-old version of my current self? Of my 18-year-old self? I’ve been this way too long already.

How is it that we get so wrapped up in the opposite (or same) sex? Is it really society’s urgings that we must Find a maaaaaate… settle dooooowwwwwwnnnn…? Is it envy of our peers who have found love and started a new voyage we are not privileged to go on ourselves? Is it a nagging feeling of emptiness because humans really are meant to have a counterpart? And how is it that every other single person doesn’t keep ending up in the many potholes of doomed relationships like I do, so desperate to find the other half or the missing piece or some sort of complement that shortcomings and bad omens are ignored from day one? Is it low self-esteem that makes me not want to be alone? There are so many single people out there who are fine with their status. Why am I not one of them? Some possible explanations:

  1. I have very few friends. I have almost nothing to take my mind off my lack of love.
  2. I am clinging to some potentially misplaced hope that I will find someone who will help make up for the unsuccessful relationships of my past. Someone who will actually have something in common with me and be my complement to a greater degree.
  3. My brain is stuck in girly movies that revolve around ridiculous notions that love is grand and beautiful and will eventually find you if you lead a decent life.
  4. I am not self actualized. Nor self aware. Nor any of the things that one needs to be in order to function as a truly normal, mature, sane adult. If I could get to a point where I was confident and comfortable enough in my own skin that it didn’t cross my mind that I was alone, or if it did it didn’t matter, I’d be able to move past all this garbage.

Someone wise said to me recently that he fell victim to love because he wasn’t diversified. And while that makes people sound a bit like portfolios, it’s true. The more single minded you are, the less other stuff you have going on in your life, the harder it’s going to hit you when love burns out. It’s easy enough to find yourself feeling alone and dead inside when you’ve a hundred other things on your plate. But if that one person was your breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snack…

On a semi-related note… I have said a hundred times (including several lately) that I want to be pursued, to be able to give up the upper hand and feel wanted. I am revising that statement. Because even though my dinner with Gym Guy at Chili’s last night was not a date, it had all the makings of one, and the whole encounter leading up to it made me so uncomfortable and anxious that I decided I would like to reclaim 85-90% of the upper hand. I would still like to be liked, admired, sought after, whatever. But I want to be the creepy one who remembers personal details from conversations past and sends pointless missives to remind the other person that I exist. Or maybe it’s just that I’m not really in the mood right now to deal with all that. Maybe I think I want a relationship when I really don’t. Maybe one part of my brain is crying out for affection when another is crying out for more me time, more focus on career and self discovery.

It’s been a lazy weekend. And with all that laziness comes the biggest scoop of overanalysis you will ever find on top of an ice cream cone. It’s just too bad it’s almost always flavored with black licorice, not cookies ‘n’ cream. =

P.S. That whole “blessing” part of the subject of this post refers to the fact that when I focus on being a good employee, I am a damn good employee. So occasionally being a nutcase is a good thing. Hooray?



Filed under dating, thoughts

2 responses to “single mindedness: blessing or curse?

  1. This1thing

    Yes, being a nutcase isn’t as bad a thing as other might make it out to be. I can’t imagine being a “cookie-cutter” person, just like everyone else.
    Also, finding myself single once again, I too wonder what the future will bring. Will I find love again? Doubt it. Do I even want to find another someone? Good question…
    Luckily I’ve been scatterbrained a lot lately, so I haven’t exactly been thinking on it as much.

  2. e. autumne

    I’m sorry to hear you’re single again too. I hadn’t been responding to your comments in an effort to avoid a repeat performance of what happened the last time I tried to communicate with you, but I guess that’s not as much of a concern now. I hope you’re doing OK.

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