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My best friend lives in Massachusetts, and though he’s not around on a daily basis, his influence is tremendous.
Even from a distance, he’s quite the enabler and has been trafficking baseball loot to me for years.
He likes to send packages stuffed with baseball cards, and I squeal with delight when I open the mailbox to find an otherwise nondescript yellow envelope with his hand-drawn version of the MLB logo on the outside of the package.
Recently, one of those envelopes contained a disc filled with photos that chronicle the past three seasons of baseball, which I scrolled in great delight as I saw images of Varitek blocking home plate, Josh Spence in a Yoda backpack, and that kid from Philadelphia who got tased.
We’ve sent each other Starting Lineup figures, talked about statistics, and enjoyed ice cream in baseball helmets at Fenway and US Cellular on our yearly vacation to see each other (it’s his turn to visit, don’t think I’ve forgotten).
The ultimate gift that my BBFF (baseball best friend forever) has sent was a hand-made T-shirt with the New Bedford Bay Sox logo on it. This ringer tee features a whale (which we’ve nicknamed Fudgy) swinging a bat, which is arguably the cutest thing I have ever seen.
After Fudgy arrived in the mail, I started to pay more attention to my BBFF’s escapades in minor league and independent league baseball in Massachusetts, which seemed to be frequent and involved teams I had never heard of.
I’d get picture-texts with captions that did not make a ton of sense because I was not aware there were so many baseball options in one state.
“Headed to a Paw Sox game!”
“Enjoying a beer with the Bay Sox!”
“Beautiful night for a Brockton Rox game!”
“Cape Cod League game tonight!”
After half a dozen of these text messages, I innocently made the comment that it seemed that Massachusetts had a LOT of baseballs.
I mean, Chicago has a lot of baseballs… after all, we have two major league teams and some other teams in the distant suburbs (which admittedly I have never attended because the suburbs are ‘far away’ as I like to describe them).
But as the texts increased, I started to think he was messing with me.
The Brewster Whitecaps? Bourne Braves? Yeah, sure. Those are real teams.
North Adams Steeple Cats? What the hell is a Steeple Cat*?
And when I thought he was finished, he just kept going, raising my suspicion that either these teams were made up or that or that every square inch of Massachusetts was actually covered by baseball fields.
Perhaps the thing I love most about my BBFF is his attention to detail. If you ask him a question, he’s going to make sure that your question has been thoroughly answered through a detailed explanation, perhaps a link to supplemental reading, and in this case… a carefully crafted infographic.
I love infographics. Every picture tells a story, but especially when you include words. Since I was doubting that this much baseball actually existed in Massachusetts, the BBFF made this incredibly helpful infographic that resulted in just one conclusion: there is, in fact, an (expletive deleted)-ton** of baseball in Massachusetts.
This infographic captures the precise location of all of the baseball teams in the state, including their league affiliation, their founding date, and most importantly: their logo/mascot. The pennants at the bottom also indicate their accolades as league champions, which surely makes Massachusetts the winningest state in terms of baseball championships.
I’ve taken this infographic as a bit of a challenge: I’d like to attend a game of every team in Massachusetts, including the ones that I am still not sure to exist (Falmouth Commodores? Does Lionel Richie play there?).
This trip would not be just for posterity, but I’m sure it’d be a great adventure for me and the BBFF.
Consider it officially a part of the baseball bucket list, Nick.
* I googled this, and apparently a Steeple Cat is a cartoon cat that looks like an elder statesman holding a baseball bat. Seriously, I still have no idea what a Steeple Cat is, and I’m not sure if it’s one word or two words. I also don’t know if Cat is capitalized or not.
** This is an inexact measurement, containing a four-letter word starting with ‘S’ that is often used when one wants to express the fact that there is indeed a lot of something. i.e. “there are an (expletive deleted)-ton of asterisked words in this article…perhaps you should write for Grantland.”
My cousin Mandi had never been to Boston before, and it’s likely that she’d never chosen to vacation there.
She grew up in Richmond, Virginia, married her high school sweetheart, and was very content there raising her two children. Traveling the world (or even the eastern seaboard) was never a priority for her and she felt comfortable at her home in the country.
So, when I got the call to meet them in Boston two years ago, I was rather surprised. Without hesitation, I rearranged my schedule (with just two days notice) to meet them in Boston for the week.
I wish I could say the trip was a spur of the moment decision for leisure, but it was a trip of last resort. With her cancer progressing, the doctors in Richmond told her there was little they could do for her anymore, but as a mother (1-year-old daughter, 4-year-old son) that answer wasn’t acceptable to her.
Mandi was a fighter long before she found out she had cancer, and she viewed her illness as just another roadblock she’d have to get around to live the life she’d always dreamed of. As a woman with faith in God, she knew that she and her children would be taken care of regardless of the outcome, and continued to battle.
When it was suggested that Mandi goes to Boston to meet with specialists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, she scheduled the appointment and took the Amtrak from Richmond to Boston with her husband and young children, since she was not allowed to fly.
I had a great time at the New England Aquarium, chasing the penguins with her daughter, Cameron. We went on a duck boat tour, and I kept blowing my duck caller to make her son Eddie laugh, much to the chagrin of others on the boat. I took them on their first cab ride to see Fenway Park, and I’m pretty sure the lobster rolls we ate were their first.
Later in the week, Mandi went to meet with doctors at Dana-Farber.
I wish I had better news about the outcome of the meeting at Dana-Farber, but after a couple of days of testing, the doctors told her there was nothing they could do. The news was defeating, but the experience and care from the doctors and nurses at Dana-Farber was exceptional. They realize the sensitivity of the news they were delivering and treated her with respect and care. For that, I’m grateful.
After more treatment in Richmond and treatments in Philadelphia, my cousin returned home and continued to pray and she continued to live her life the best way she knew how—raising her two young children, teaching them all of the lessons they’d need in the future in a short time.
When she died on March 1st of this year, I was shocked. She had been doing better in the weeks preceding her death, but I was relieved that her struggle was finally over. I was fortunate this week to make the trip to Richmond to see her husband and children, who are now 3 and 6.
These children are pieces of their mother. They are just as innocent, with the same blue eyes, blonde hair, and giant smiles. They are faithful and polite, and full of life and energy, just as I remember their mother. While they are adjusting to life without her, it’s a shame when any child has to grow up without a parent.
The moral of the story? Cancer sucks.
I’ve lost my grandfather, my aunt, and my cousin to cancer in the last six years. Both of my parents are cancer survivors. I’ve watched friends, family, and coworkers struggle with the illness and it never gets easier…but we can’t give up hope on making a difference in the lives of those who are affected by this illness.
The Jimmy Fund, since its founding in 1948, has supported the fight against cancer in children and adults at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, helping to raise the chances of survival for cancer patients around the world.
The Red Sox partnered with the Jimmy Fund ten years ago and have done a telethon each year to raise money for Dana-Farber, and the stories of the children and adults who have undergone treatment there are extraordinary—and many are thriving because of donations from ordinary people who want to make a difference.
Today’s the last day of the telethon, so if you can find a bit to spare, I would personally appreciate you considering a donation. If you can’t donate now, they accept donations any time. I’ll continue to make a donation every year in honor of my cousin…because even though it was too late for her to receive treatments, I know the dollars that I donate could change the lives of others, and there’s no memorial in Mandi’s honor better than that.
I gave up dating for the summer.
This was a self-imposed “No-Dating” rule, and as someone who spent the better part of three years as a serial dater, this decision was more difficult than it sounds.
I never considered my dating life as busy, but I realized that every time I went out with girlfriends they would ask about how the dating life was going, and I’d have a handful of stories to recount—most of them terrible.
Somehow I had developed the idea that dating, and dating often, was just what single people did. Single people that did not go out and have drinks with members of the opposite sex at least once a week just seemed odd to me.
What were they doing with all of their free time?
But after looking back on the past three years of dating, short-relationships, and heartbreak, I felt it important to go back to square one: no dating for the summer.
And when I said no dating, I meant it.
There wasn’t to be any interaction that could be confused for dating. No getting drinks with a kind gentleman from Twitter that I had a crush on. No meeting men at my favorite bar. No getting coffee with the classmate I’d been interested in throughout my whole graduate program. And absolutely no surfing Match.com.
And surprisingly, I only broke the “No-Dating” rule once. And honestly? I didn’t miss it.
By shifting the attention from other people back to myself, the results were tremendous. When I embarked on this dating-free journey my friend Sarah gave me a piece of advice that became the mantra for the summer: If there’s no one there to spoil you, spoil yourself.
…and spoil myself I did.
The summer’s mission was to see how much happiness I could create for myself (and those around me) and I would consider that mission accomplished. Since I spent most of the summer hesitant to write, here are the highlights from the Date-Free summer.
The City: I started this summer realizing that it could very well be the last summer that I ever spent in Chicago. With the completion of school and the desire to relocate, the prospect of never living within walking distance of all of the places and sites I love struck a sense of urgency in me to do and see everything.
School: I completed the last two classes of my graduate school program. Since I had a bit more free time than usual (see: no dating) I really dove into my final semester and enjoyed it to the fullest. I completed the most in-depth research project of my educational career, something I’d spent three semesters working to complete. Having a beer with my classmates overlooking the Art Institute the night we handed in our final projects is easily the proudest moment of the summer.
Traveling: It’s a bit difficult to travel on a shoestring graduate student budget, so this became the summer of road trips.
While some of those trips involved other people, some of them did not. There’s something to be said for vacationing alone, and I think embracing being alone is something that most of us are not capable of doing.
But this time, something was different for me.
The countless hours in the car with my own playlists were perfect. No one to tell me to turn it down or stop singing, I put the accelerator to the floor and sang like Mick Jagger for hours on end. And the prospect of walking the streets of Boston agenda less (and alone) brought a genuine smile to my face, as I ambled along Newbury Street. It was in the moment that I sat on the cobblestone patio of a small coffee shop sipping a café au lait that I realized what it meant to truly embrace happiness in solitude.
Baseball: Easily the best part of the summer free of dating was the baseball. And there was a lot of it.
It’s amazing for someone who writes as much as I do, that I’ve never developed much of a memory for things. I put my journaling skills to good use this summer in an attempt to remember more baseball. Along with the scorebook I use at every game, I kept another notebook in which I logged all of the games I attended. This notebook has a pocket, so I kept all of my ticket stubs and random baseball cards I’d collected along the way in there.
29 games at 11 different ballparks*
And having the opportunity to see so many games this year has really helped evolve my love of the game. Going alone allowed me to focus on keeping score, studying pitchers, and getting back to the fundamentals. Being there gives you the time and the angles to study the shift and the fundamentals of the game that you can’t always see on TV.
When I watch a game at home, my tendency is to focus on things like sabermetrics and the pitch(fx), but at the game, the focus becomes simpler– like did the right fielder remember to back up the throw to first?
While I’m not sure I will ever have the opportunity to see this much baseball again in the future, I will embrace this summer of baseball as one of my greatest memories of this stage of my life.
I’ve been hesitant to do any writing lately, but when I woke up this morning to 61 degrees and the beginnings of that fall smell, I knew it was probably time to reflect on the summer and look forward to all of the changes that come with this fall for me.
In two weeks my time in Chicago will be over. Just in time for fall, I’m relocating to a place where I can appreciate the leaves changing, cider mills, and eat those delicious apple cider donuts.
I am trading the city noises of trains and sirens blaring for a quiet porch that backs up to a completely silent field (I plan to listen to the playoffs on the radio from this spot).
And I’ll spend the fall trying to figure out what changes I need to accomplish by the following summer…because it seems like my life will be dramatically different by then.
*This number does not include spring training games.
I came in second place in a basketball skills challenge in fourth grade. While I don’t remember a lot of the specifics, I still have the plaque that was presented to me by the administrator of the Nike basketball camp in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It’s my first recollection of ever coming in second place at anything sports related that was based on individual skills. I prided myself on being an accurate and precise Center, practicing hundreds of shots a day, including left-handed layups. My dad always told me that if I wanted to be the best basketball player in the leagues, I hard to learn to shoot left-handed. And for hours at a time, I’d plant my feet firmly on our concrete driveway, and practice with my right hand tucked into my pocket so I couldn’t cheat.
And yet, I came in second.
I had every intention of taking the day off of work on July 23rd, 2009. I requested the day off in the usual way–put it on the shared calendar, emailed my boss to let them know I would be gone that day. And I spent the morning catching up on projects, sipping coffee on my back porch while I stole wifi from my neighbor who always kept the network unprotected. The guy I was dating showed up with lunch, roses, and tickets to that afternoon’s White Sox game (which for future reference, is the fastest way to most girls’ hearts). And just as we approached the train to go to the game, my boss called to say there was a major issue with a client that I needed to return to the office and address. I regrettably sent the boy to the baseball game by himself.
On July 23rd, 2009, Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game…and I missed it.
I am sure everyone has these stories of being a day late and a dollar short, and that mine aren’t unique. I am also sure everyone has stories where things worked out exactly as they should have, or were aided by the mysterious karma of the universe–somehow making things better. But for me, it seems that I have continued to live my life as a series of miscues where I never seem to get the timing right.
I have only told one person I was in love with them in the last three years. It turns out that he loved me as well, but he just loved his fiancee (I didn’t know about her) a little bit more. And had it not been for the fact that she was pregnant with his child, he would have considered leaving her for me (his words, not mine) as though it was some sort of consolation for being wonderful, but just late and infertile to the party.
When I told my boss in Louisville that I was leaving my ex-boyfriend, and subsequently leaving the area, she laughed. Not because the situation was funny, but because that day she has finally been given the approval to give me a long-anticipated (and much-deserved) promotion. And while I suppose I could have stayed, the truck was already booked, the boxes were packed, and the memories of a city that were the first place that felt like home (partly for a love of the city, and partly for the person I’d lived there with) made it just too unbearable to stay.
Three years later, deciding to leave Chicago never seemed like a mistake. In fact, it was well-calculated, detailed, and things did fall into place with relative ease. The first person that responded to my craigslist ad about my apartment is the person who ultimately rented it. When I asked my parents if I could move in with them while I searched for a new job, I did not even finish my sentence before they both said ‘yes.’
And my going away party happened much like my Chicago experience began–intoxicated, surrounded by friends, and hopeful that the one person I wanted to notice me since I had arrived three years earlier would finally seize the opportunity to feel the same way I did.
But as smooth as the transition out of Chicago was, my duration in Michigan was the complete opposite.
When we unloaded the moving truck, everything was put into the garage. Pillows, furniture, baseball cards: all stacked in boxes, all in the garage. Lola sat in her favorite chair in the garage in near-silent protest as everything was unloaded and haphazardly placed on those wire plastic shelves, growling when anyone would walk closer to her. And while I just took the essentials inside, not knowing how long I would be there, I got that answer very quickly.
The night after I arrived, I went out for drinks with a man who is easily the most interesting and engaging had dated (or met) in a long time, possibly ever. As singles girls are wont to do, I have a long list of things I’d ideally like in a man because when it is all in the fantasy stages, we have every right, an obligation even, to shoot for the moon. This man had all of them, down to the fact that he handed me the remote and told me that he wanted *me* to have it, so I could flip back and forth to both playoffs games. And when he woke me up hours after I had fallen asleep with my head on his shoulder, instead of telling me he was tired and I should leave, he kissed my forehead and said, “Leave? You just got here. Stay awhile. Stay forever, if you’d like.”
And the moment he uttered those words, I knew I would get the job.
The job was exactly what I was looking for in a post-graduate position. It was presented as a job that could use my abilities in analysis and programmatic design on a program that really makes a difference in people’s lives. From the first time I read the job posting, it seemed like an amazing opportunity, one that someone with my experience and education would be lucky to land–and yet, they were contacting me, of all their applicants, for interviews. And while I had been nervous on all of the phone interviews, after the night of bourbon, baseball, and bearded company, I knew there was no reason to be nervous–because the timing has a way of offering us glimpses at things we could have, if only the situation were different.
When I told my best friend I had met a boy AND had a job interview, he remarked, “Oh, not only will the company offer you a job, they will make you Vice President.”
In less than a week, I had three phone interviews, a trip to DC to meet with the decision-makers, and an offer letter in hands less than 24 hours later. Sometimes, life is funny.
Even though I accepted the position, I still had a desire to see the guy again. When I texted him to tell him I accepted the offer, he was genuinely happy for me, though expressed his disappointment that I would be leaving so soon (24 days, to be exact) after we had met. Instead of sulking, we made the best of the situation. And though our busy schedules only allowed us to have four (amazing) dates, we cursed the time we could not spend together because of other obligations but embraced each moment we could spend together. We had dinner. We stayed up until sunrise talking. I saw his band play at this incredibly tacky college bar, where he embarrassed me in front of everyone by telling them all he thought I was beautiful over the PA system between songs.
And while all of my belongings remain in my parents’ garage, with Lola nearby to guard them until I find a place to live here, I am now living 547 miles away on a leather-sectional in my sister’s living room. There is a real urgency to get settled in Washington, DC, not just because I am living out of Rubbermaid containers and sleeping on a sofa in a mid-rise that has fire-alarm issues and too much train noise, but because no matter how difficult timing, missed opportunities, and what-could-have-been weigh on my mind, embracing the present seems like the only option.
I left earlier in the morning on Saturday to start my drive to DC much earlier than I had originally anticipated, so when he texted to tell me goodbye and travel safely, I was already in the mountains of Pennsylvania, trapped in a heavy snow and ice storm. Talk about timing.
There is something I realized months ago, but it never seemed worth mentioning until today.
I bet you can guess what I’m going to say, can’t you? If you can’t guess, I’ll tell you anyway, but I just need you to guess.
(Probably that I always end up back where I started and it’s my fault, I guessed.)
That’s not what you write about, I wouldn’t say something so vindictive.
You write about beginnings. You write about the feelings of adoration you get from people and things that come into your life and make you feel good… by knowing how they find you special. Conspicuous by its absence is much discussion of how you want to do for them.
Write a blog for long enough and display it publicly, and people will start to offer you free psychoanalysis. It’s one of those days that unsolicited advice waited around every corner.
A friend emailed this morning to tell me that she hoped I’d find a boyfriend by October since her wedding is soon and she didn’t want me to feel the pressure of attending alone. She also was hinting that I hadn’t sent my RSVP yet.
While signing up for a gym membership tonight, feeling awkward and insecure while I answered a litany of questions about my assumed sedentary lifestyle, the salesperson insisted I smile more. When I refused, he insisted he could tell that I just wasn’t, “the smiling type.” Anyone who can smile as they sit in an uncomfortable chair discussing their insecurities with a complete stranger is not only the smiling type but also likely pumped full of lithium.
And tonight, on a 35-minute-and-five-second conversation on my commute home, I said goodbye yet again to someone who has meant quite a lot to me this year, citing irreconcilable emotional differences—he’s in love with me and I just want to be friends.
No goodbye has ever final between us because he still has hope that we’ll be together. Of course, in true Cee-form, I have no idea if we’ll ever be together, but I like to keep him close as a friend, regardless of the emotional duress that causes for him.
Apparently, feelings do not operate on a binary switch for most, which comes as a great surprise to me, though it shouldn’t.
His parting words tonight haven’t been about judgment. I certainly don’t feel harshly judged reading the things that he’s said, holding a mirror in front of my face while he reminds me of themes that occur not only in my writing but also in my life.
Knowing you the way I do, I always wonder, why you’re this way.
Get in line. As the third person that’s given me emotional advice today, I can say it’s easy to wonder these things. Hell, I wonder these things often, and I still don’t have an acceptable answer.
But let’s not over-react, it’s not as though I’ve got serious problems. After all, I finished my education, as planned. I’m successful in my career. I pay my bills on time, I floss every day, and I always take the trash out. The closest I’ve got to addiction is a bourbon cocktail every now and again. My desk is organized, my projects are finished on time, and I’m working out more often.
Still, it’s fair to say I live on my toes, crouching to pounce on new opportunities. I’ve spent years focused on instant gratification, on generating happiness in the short-run, while throwing long-term happiness on the bottom of the pile.
And I’ve done it all alone. Sure, there have been men. And friends. And family. There have been dates, there have been beginnings, and there have been moments where I’ve felt that I’ve finally found the things that complete all of the social norm equations. But then it fizzles; my feelings disappear, and I continue on the path of building my life alone, always with short-term goals in mind.
Perhaps the greater question: Am I afraid to commit to people, to things, to jobs, to houseplants because I’m insatiable, or simply because I’ve not found anything worth dedicating myself to?
I assure myself I’m a good person. I care deeply for my family; I’ve had the same best friends for years. Lola gets regular walks and her favorite peanut butter bones every night after dinner. I’ve certainly committed to baseball, to reading, to writing, to favorite beverages, and I’ve even finally chosen favorite toothpaste.
I’m able to commit, I swear.
Was it moving all the time?
Sure, that probably has something to do with everything. Survival mechanisms kick in when life is reinvented, sometimes by choice and others by happenstance, and all of your belongings are shoved into boxes and totes and shuffled from state to state. There is inherent longing in frequent changes. It’s easy to want the things you no longer have, but in the same breath, it’s even easier to miss the things you’ve never had. If I resign myself to a city, to a man, to a mortgage, to a ritual, what happens when something better presents itself?
When opportunity knocks, I don’t want to say, “Sorry—already committed.” I want to pack my bags for a plane, I want to have a first kiss, and I want as many opportunities to see no-hitters as possible.
Is that wrong?
Who made you feel ugly and unattractive?
Myself, mostly. Well, strangers too. Bullies in high school. A stranger who once called me fat while I was walking the dog late at night. Glances where I can’t tell if someone’s judging my appearance, leering at spinach in my teeth, or just thinking they really love my sweater.
Hard to say, but easy to assume the negative.
Who or what made you feel so self-protective that you could need love, but not want people?
I lost myself in my longest relationship, and he knows that. He’s well aware of the years I spent in a small town, feeling suffocated by staunch conservative rhetoric and judgment while placating the wishes of someone who barely loved me. I abandoned my hobbies, my desires, even my family. I gambled on love, threw myself hopelessly to him, sticking around and loving blindly in a manner that is so ridiculous that when I recount our relationship to others they can’t imagine that was ever me. Countless days of loving a partner that was too oblivious, too busy, too critical to love me back. There is such a thing as conditional love: He loved me when I was blonde when I was thinner, and when I cooked his favorite meals. Wishing and hoping finally disappeared, and I started fighting with him to love me.
When he didn’t, I moved on. As you’re reading this, you’re offering your free psychoanalysis of the day: You’re thinking, “Well, now we’ve figured it all out. She’s scorned on love and terrified of relationships! She’s full of beginnings and no endings because she’s had one terrible ending and is afraid to feel hurt again! Why doesn’t she see what’s so obvious?”
Except, it’s not true. I’m not afraid to fall in love. I fall in love all the time, with people and things and places and moments. I’m not averse to feeling pain if it means that I can experience temporary joy. I’ve embarked on numerous relationships that I knew had no feasible end game. It’s never been about the pain of losing or loving or giving too much.
You always write about beginnings.
Now you’re not being fair. I don’t write about beginnings, I often write about the ENDING of beginnings: Big difference. It’s easy to write about how things go from fantastic to miserable in short-spans of time. Producers and writers have gotten rich off lesser stories, because that’s just how human nature works—the ending of the beginning is the story, in life, in love, but especially in dating.
Dating follows a script so perfectly and becomes the most exploitable, most obvious way to convey and control emotions—it’s the story everyone knows, and as readers, as writers, and even as curious humans living out the events, we want to know how it ends.
Boy meets girl. Boy likes a girl; he tells her so. Boy does everything in his power, and sometimes things beyond his power, to let the girl how he feels about her. Girl, if the boy is lucky, reciprocates. Then, there’s a decision.
Boy and girl continue to put in the effort. They preserve the precious gift they’ve cultivated. They buy houses, have babies. They see concerts, go to ballgames, travel the world. They buy Christmas presents and bigger cars with their dual incomes. They live together until one dies, or someone falls out of love—either of which could happen at a moment’s notice, reminding us that all relationships are volatile.
Or, that stage is skipped. Boy and girl continue to put in the effort until one decides that they no longer care to put in the effort. Just because someone loves you, doesn’t mean they are made for you. Boy or girl, or maybe both, realize that sometimes it’s easier to re-heat a dinner for one than it is to worry about peanut allergies. Boy or girl, or maybe both, see the value in spending Christmas alone on Michigan Avenue, locking eyes with a curious stranger, looking at the lights while everyone else is with their families.
Boy or girl, in this case, girl, want love, just not from those people—and choose to be alone.
But fear and wanderlust are not the only paralytics here: So is compatibility. I have never experienced enough happiness with anyone or anything that making sacrifices didn’t feel like settling. It’s not about the anticipation of what could be, but the reality that things could be better from the beginning–why embark on journeys that seem doomed from the start? Why are we expected to make sacrifices and negotiate to create fulfillment, rather than just trying to cultivating it on our own?
Endings are always bitter. Endings are the terminus. Endings are just awkward moments between beginnings when good feelings start again. The events in the middle, those are just life. The problem is that plans are flawed. My plans are flawed, and your plans are flawed. And you over there? Your plans are flawed, too. You can’t beat the system–you’re going to fail. You get married, and you’re miserable, so you get divorced. You find the love of your life and they die unexpectedly. You stay single and that’s judged, too. It’s melodramatic to say that we all end up alone, but there’s pretty sharp evidence to suggest that’s true–it’s just a matter of where you fall off the continuum. Eventually, momentum is lost somewhere between good, bad, and numb.
There’s a baseball analogy about how you live your life. You don’t have any middle-relievers. You never GO to your middle relievers. Not to mention your closer, I haven’t even gotten to your closer yet, but you’re living everything in the first few innings, on repeat.
Why can’t you trust the middle relievers?
He’s probably not wrong. I’ve never felt the need to use the middle relievers because my starters usually give up ten walks in the first three innings and I’ve gone straight to bringing in Nick Green to throw a few innings. I have good intentions; I have an arsenal of arms ready to throw should there be a leverage situation, but life is full of underperformance and rain delays. The question I can’t answer to anyone is if that’s such a bad thing. Does life have to follow convention, or is it acceptable to build as you go, living life on-demand, and hoping that eventually the cards remain standing on a rather fragile house of cards that rests on a tight rope above a shark tank? It will always remain acceptable for strangers, for lovers, for gym salespeople to give their two-cents on how the lives of others are structured. It’s about gaining the strength and conviction to realize the flaws in our own plans and adjust accordingly: Sometimes the judgment can eye-opening.