I was talking with a friend about striving for bigger and better and how I sometimes don’t feel content. This was in relation to dating and my question was if there was someone better for me than Staci, whom I’m dating now. This is not to say that Staci isn’t awesome, she is. That’s a fact. But could I do better?

I related to my friend that I thought part of my problem is that I spend so much time I work trying to figure out bigger and better ways to do things, that maybe I had a hard time not thinking that way with relationships. Or maybe it’s because I’ve never had a girlfriend longer than Staci and we’re crossed a point where much of how we interact is a new experience for me (in the sense that people who have only been dating for two weeks interact very differently than people who have been dating for two months).

My friend asked if I thought I was missing out by not dating someone else. I really hadn’t separated those ideas: I thought I could be missing out on someone bigger and better. In fact, I didn’t really see a difference.

As we were leaving, my friend turned to me and said, “One is opportunity, the other is fear.”

I have a fear on missing out.

I used to always go to events and parties because I didn’t want to miss out on something fun, even though most of the time I didn’t have fun…there could be that one time when we do the most funnest thing ever! Maybe.

I fear missing important news, so I incessantly scan Twitter and Facebook, always seeing what the latest news is before it scrolls off the screen. Who’s dating whom, what hilarious antics are my friends in Colorado up to now, what new vacation pictures did the Joneses post. Just in case.

I do the same think with email too, although I am getting better.

Skinner was right with his variable ratio scheduling.

All of this plays quite well to the simple fact that humans are notorious for loss aversion and “strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. Some studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_aversion, although it’s not clear what studies are being cited))

My “loss aversion” is that I don’t want to lose the chance to be with someone else, someone who I think might be better. I don’t know if there is someone better, it’s just a chance. What’s frustrating about this feeling — this feeling of fear and of potentially being trapped — is that I know it, I can label it, but I can’t do a whole lot about it except talk about it and let it run its course.

Apparently, I’m not the only one that has this fear. Which is good, it means I’m still sane:
From thoughtcatalog.com:

But after some time – perhaps six months, perhaps a year, perhaps, even, two years, the presence of a partner can feel much less exciting than it used to, and the thought of spending time with another person or some fantasy being might become a very compelling one. But being in a long-term monogamous relationship requires a sort of sacrifice and that sacrifice is one of romantic contact with anyone other than your partner. And when your partner feels less exciting, and the thought of one outside the relationship becomes more exciting, what’s left is a feeling of being trapped, indefinitely (as the goal of long-term monogamous relationships is to stay together forever, not some limited time span), in a less than ideal situation that will never be as exciting as you might perceive an encounter with someone else.

I think that it’s easy for me to unsatisfied with and even scared of the parts of dating that are hard. Dating life, much like not-dating life, isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. However, I have only dated, cumulatively, for less than 180 days. Meanwhile, I’ve been struggling with and figuring out this thing called life for almost 9,125 days. So perhaps it’s only natural that I have this fear; I haven’t been in dating life long enough to be able to recognize what it means be in a good relationship and that it will be okay.

Where Am I?

I feel like I haven’t written here in ages. Don’t worry, I’m still alive. Lots of things have been going on recently, some of which I hope to write about in the near future.

However, that brings me to something I’ve been pondering for a while (like, months). What is the purpose of this blog? Why do I write here? Over the last ten years or so, this little space I’ve carved out has morphed significantly. It was first a place to share things I loved in a very static form: LEGO’s, Star Trek, James Bond, etc. I made some pages, and I tweaked them as I saw fit. It wasn’t very dynamic.

Around 2002, I started keeping a log of the changes I made to the site. And although it was mostly technical and administrative in nature, it could be considered the start of my web log. During my senior year of high school, I started to do what many people would consider blogging.

I think a lot of why I started blogging at that point was in preparation for going to college. At that point, I knew I would be going to school out of state (I hadn’t applied to any schools in Washington) and I wanted to remain connected to people back home in Seattle, primary family and friends. Still, it was mostly talking about school.

Blogging for me formally started when I switched to WordPress, I think this was in the fall of my Freshman year of college. I blogged about everything. One of my New Year resolutions in 2005 was to blog every day…and I did it.

At some point however, this has become less of a blog and more of a journal — a journal for me1 but which I share with the world. I don’t do this out of vanity, but because I believe in truth and honesty2.

Of course, journals come with all sorts of rawness. Life isn’t a perfect venture all the time, and journals usually reflect that. It helped that most of what I was focusing on in school was relatively low risk, and hence this blog was pretty easy to write; I just had to get through classes, which while hard, was something that was feasible.

Life after school is something entirely new, it’s a beast. And in many ways, something I wasn’t quite prepared for. I’ve written more private journal entries this year than I have in any other year, even though I’ve been posting less overall.

At points I’ve thought about taking this journal and making it entirely private, or completely passphrase protected. I even thought about shuttering site completely, for real.

But dating someone and then breaking up have made me realize some very important: This is not a me question. This is not a problem I’m facing because of something I did (or didn’t do). The feelings I have, the issues I’m dealing with, the questions I’m asking are things that I believe many people my age are asking — maybe not out loud, but they’re asking.

I believe that many people are wondering who they are, what they’re doing, and where they should go. I believe that many people are wondering why they haven’t found that one person, or that one vocation, or whatever they need in order to feel complete in life. This is not a problem unique to me because I am an engineer or because I am a Christian, although that certainly plays into it.

I also believe that one of the best ways to work on these issues is to talk about them. And for me, that conversation starts here, with my journal. It’s a conversation I have with myself, that I share — or not (not everything is fit for sharing with everyone…which is another thing I’m learning).

Consider this your fair warning: Blogs can be about many things, this one is going to be my journal of sorts3.

And that’s where I am.

  1. It’s an important tool for me to reflect on later 

  2. Even if it doesn’t look good 

  3. This is not to say that there won’t be other things discussed here, just that most of what I write will be journal-ish 

You Need a Commitment Strategy Not an Exit Strategy

I’m reading Rework by Jason Fried and David Hansson of 37signals. It’s very much a book about business, management, and entrepreneurship. But I came across this section and couldn’t help but see how it was applicable to my life in dating:

Would you go into a relationship planning the breakup? Would you write the prenup on a first date? Would you meet with a divorce lawyer the morning of your wedding? That would be ridiculous, right?

You need a commitment strategy, not an exit strategy. You should be thinking about how to make your project grow and succeed, not how you’re going to jump ship. If your whole strategy is based on leaving, chances are you won’t get far in the first place.

Don’t be that guy. If you do manage to get a good thing going, keep it going. Good things don’t come around that often. Don’t let your business be the one that got away.

I also love the illustrations!