One sentence is enough to explain any truth worth remembering.
It is with great regret that I’ve come to the realization that being with most people makes me lonely. Loneliness, as I see it, involves the lack of feeling of belonging and understanding. The vast majority of people I encounter, save for a few friends and my wife, leave me feeling a void of understanding and connectedness. I do not understand them. They do not understand me. The act of being in their presence makes me feel more lonely than simply being alone.
It seems I am not alone (pun intended) in this feeling:
My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced freedom from the need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I gang my own gait and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties I have never lost an obstinate sense of detachment, of the need for solitude—a feeling which increases with the years. One is sharply conscious, yet without regret, of the limits to the possibility of mutual understanding and sympathy with one’s fellow-creatures.
–Albert Einstein, “The World As I See It”
Our friend Thoreau also mentions this loneliness in “Walden”:
I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will. Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows.
–Henry David Thoreau, “Walden”
May you never be alone among friends.
What did I learn today?
That entropy is a measure of the number of possible states that a system can have.
What am I grateful for today?
What did I do to express my values today?
I was helpful and dependable to my friends and to my wife.
What did I learn today?
What a Transcendental Number is.
What am I grateful for today?
The transference of knowledge.
What did I do to express my values today?
Spent lots of time reading about some of the big ideas that have shaped science (entropy, relativity, conservation of energy and philosophy (existentialism, epicureanism, stoicism).
Remember the end of Wheel of Fortune? Choose 5 consonants and a vowel? For years everyone would choose the most common letters as their selection (RSTLN E). If you chose something different you were really rogue. Several years ago the producers finally decided to just give the contestants those letters and let them pick 6 more.
I have been single now for several months after 17 years of marriage. During that time I have reacquainted myself with online dating. After the first couple of weeks of checking out profiles some startling patterns started emerging. A month in I discovered I could write almost every woman’s profile in a couple of paragraphs. It occurred to me that these things are the RSTLN E of online dating. Ladies, this is my public service announcement that you should spend your valuable profile space on things that make you unique, not things that are common to almost everyone. If the following profile sounds like you then, well, make some changes. You’re not differentiating yourself.
I love to travel, especially to the beach or to different locations in Europe. I love getting dolled up for a night on the town or being casual with jeans and flips flops and grilling out at home. I love all types of music and enjoy attending music festivals. I like to try hole in the wall places and new restaurants. I love anything outdoors and enjoy hiking. I love a good glass of wine. I have a rewarding career and love what I do. I am financially independent. I have (?) kids and they are my first loves. I have great friends and love spending time with my family. My friends would say I’m funny (witty and sarcastic), loyal, and giving. I’m very happy and I am at a wonderful point in my life. I am just looking for a wonderful man to share it with.
I am looking for a partner in crime. He should be confident but not arrogant, loyal, honest, and thoughtful. He must be sincere and genuine and be a family man. You must not take yourself too seriously and be able to make me laugh. You also have to be passionate and intelligent. Chemistry is very important to me. Anything can be fun with the right person! Bonus points if you’re sensitive and manly and chivalrous.
I think everyone on the planet says they love to travel. I suppose going places and seeing new things is exciting but “I love to travel” seems like an unnecessarily vague descriptor so I will be more precise with my feelings about travel.
I like to travel and I hate to travel. I like to travel when someone else is doing the organizing, arranging, and executing and we are going to some distant place full of natural beauty, far off the beaten path, with very few other people. I take my “duties” seriously and when I am in charge of planning that creates lots of anxiety for me to get it right, so that whomever I am with will enjoy themselves to the fullest. Removing that burden makes it easier for me to relax and enjoy myself.
If we go somewhere extremely crowded, or we go to something man-made (enter large city here) then I will most likely not be relaxing and enjoying myself for long. I hate traffic and lines and feeling like a tourist. Any traveling that allows me to avoid those situations is great with me. Throw me in the middle of that and well, ugh.
No, seriously. I absolutely love it when you cancel on me! I don’t care whether you are canceling lunch, a meeting, a golf game, or anything else. I don’t get bathed in the giddy/happy endorphins like dopamine very often but when you free up my time by telling me “you can’t make it” I get a huge adrenaline rush. There is really no better feeling than a guiltless way of getting part of my life back.
I don’t care if you are someone I love or a friend or a business associate. My future self always hates my past self for making plans with you. I made a commitment at some point and it sounded like a good idea because I wouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of that decision until some time in the future. Now that the future is here I don’t want to do whatever it is. Most of the time I don’t want to do it even if it’s something I enjoy – because well – everything is such a damn hassle. I’d much rather sit home reading a book.
Want to make me happy? Call and tell me somethings come up. I really won’t care. I don’t need an excuse or an apology. In fact, you can bet your ass I am silently celebrating and getting ready to let out a raucous “Hell Yeah!” as soon as we get off the phone. So don’t feel bad. If you’re a good friend you’ll make plans with me and then cancel them just to make me happy. So the next time your lack of thoughtfulness and planning requires that you cancel our plans just know I love you for it.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone starts a question with, “Don’t you think…”
To me, that is almost always a lazy ass, passive aggressive way of throwing one of your preconceived notions in my face. You veil it as a question to me because you are not yet prepared to defend your position and/or you are simply trying to make yourself look smart.
Know that any question to me that begins with “don’t you think” is going to get a response from me that is “I don’t know, what do you think?”
When you’ve answered I am going to walk away. You will have said the same thing twice and I don’t like redundancy.
If you genuinely want my opinion on something or are seeking to understand me then by all means ask away. Just don’t start with “don’t you think” implying 1) you know what I think or 2) that what comes after “don’t you think” is what my answer should be according to you.
Don’t you think that was an excellent blog post?
I will uphold my values of freedom and independence and strive to create an environment where I have complete autonomy. I will keep things organized. I will make things simple. I will laugh and endeavor to make others laugh with me. I will act with integrity in all my actions, being honest and fair and always trying to do the right thing. I will at all times attempt to use good judgment, common sense, and wisdom. I will remain a life long learner and always seek to broaden my body of knowledge. I will help when I can, however I can. I will be dependable to those who rely on me. I will be authentic and take responsibility for the direction of my own life. I will create my own meaning and purpose. I will seek only internal justification. I will participate and engage with life. I will remind myself that I will die. I will express gratitude for those things that move me. I will never stop asking the big questions. I will let go of the idea that the world needs to be rational. I will be prepared. I will think less and do more. I will do what makes me proud.
As I get older I see the pain and sadness on the faces of female family and friends as their bodies deteriorate. Taut skin starts to sag. Once smooth faces begin to wrinkle. Hair becomes gray and coarse. Posture suffers. Aches and pains cause a decline in activity.
For better or worse humans are obsessed with outward physical appearance as the only measuring stick of beauty and sexiness. We are conditioned to tie much of our self worth to our outer shell. Females endure this hardship far worse than men because of the historical vestiges of a patriarchal society.
I think there are many men, mostly shallow and insecure in their own right, who will continue to judge all women against an untenable perfection, against the goddess they have in their dreams. One whose only role is to fulfill sexual fantasy.
But that man is not every man.
That view is one of a single dimension. What about those of us who view sexiness in multiple dimensions? The physical and the mental and the personal. Intelligence, humor, courage, independence, self-sufficiency, clarity, curiosity, inner strength, and kindness are some of the important components for me. There are many others. It’s not a checklist. There are any number of combinations that work. But sexy, for me, comes with many of these options – not just one.
Sexiness in my world is not simply about lust in the physical realm. It’s about the respect and admiration of another, secure in her person, and resolute in her spirit. It’s not about what you wear, it’s about how you wear it. An “overweight” woman who walks with her head held high, smiling, with radiant confidence and self-assuredness, on her way to the philosophy section of a book store is far sexier to me than a ditsy 36-24-36 with all the latest medical improvements and runway fashions.
To be clear. I don’t abhor physical beauty (or plastic surgery for that matter). I just think far too much emphasis is placed on it. It is destructive to the psyches of millions. I don’t want a painting on a flat surface. I want a gem with many facets.
Ladies, as you age please know that not all men will be judging you on your body alone. There are those of us who choose to look at many other things. In fact, I believe that as I age, the importance of non-physical traits over physical ones will only grow for me. I am not alone.
Take care of your health, but know that includes all of you, not just the parts we can see. Sexiness emanates from your core, not from your skin.
Update: some people have misunderstood this to mean that physical chemistry is unimportant to me. This would be false. The physical aspect of things is important. It’s just the combination that is most important. I wouldn’t fall in love with the most beautiful woman in the world just because of her looks and I wouldn’t fall in love with another woman who satisfied all the other qualities but that I had no physical attraction to.