Saturday, July 28, 2018

Love Your Neighbor

I haven’t blogged in quite a while. I’ve been doing a lot, and staying in hotels with wifi, so I could be blogging. There are things I could write about, but I just haven’t. Part of it is a fear, post-Everest, that I have a visibility that is going to get me in trouble with my employer. But it pains me not to express myself, and not share my experiences with others, because I know that people learn by reading about my experiences. So here we go.

First, a note on dating at age 32. It’s actually better than when I was younger. Women in their 30s, my peers, seem to be more attracted to me now that I’m established and have some accomplishments to speak of. Before it was just goals and expectations, but now it’s the past and the present. Similarly, women in their 20s seem more interested in me in the same way that women in their 20s are often attracted to men in their 30s. So dating is going okay. I don’t have a mutually exclusive romantic lady partner to speak of, but that’s okay. Everything in it’s time.

Who knows why person A is attracted to person B?! I’ve been trying to quantify, not simply articulate, my own romantic feelings and it’s been interesting. One of the situations I’ve run into is a woman who I find attractive, either isn’t attracted to me or at least not very much, yet likes spending time with me. I’m sure I fall into the “nice guy” category and thus get friend zoned. Which isn't necessarily bad. However, one of the things I have learned is that many women have little to no support, so maybe that’s why I’m kept around.

What I mean is, I can call up my parents, announce I’m going to return to Pakistan for two months to climb a mountain, and they will be supportive. It isn’t their idea of a vacation, but they are still supportive. Some of these women I have gotten to know are up against huge barriers where their parents don’t support their dreams and they have very few friends who understand or are supportive. And they are dealing with all of this very calmly and discretely while making way less money than me (money = options to direct your life). I’ve half joked for years that I would happily date an olympian. In really good shape, great at being dedicated to a goal, lots of travel, and typically women’s sports are not supported as highly as men’s sports, so she might be interested in a little more support than a male olympian would be. Similarly I would be interested in M.Ds and Ph.Ds while I am sure many other men are intimidated. 

Point being, while chances are low that I end up marrying any of the nice ladies I have spent one on one time with this year, I am happy to show them some caring and support (because love is a super strong word I won’t use it in this sentence, but love is the idea). Because I am Christian and have great parents and a family support system, I’ve got support to spare. I don’t believe in good people. I believe we’re all broken sinners. So if I miss out on a little romance, it’s totally fine. 

After the 2016 US presidential election, and then my house being burglarized in 2017, and living far away from family, and being single, I’ve felt a bit of a lack of love in the world. It’s like the world has gone and gotten self-centered. For example, I lived in the same house in Dubuque for five and a half years, and never actually met a couple of my neighbors. I’ll admit my hobbies can be selfish, but between coaching and giving presentations and talking about my adventures with people I do feel a some sense of community from my hobbies. But I don't feel the overall sense of community that I did when I was much younger.

I watched July 4th fireworks with my next door neighbor, who is in his upper 50s and on social security disability. I went home and cried that night after he shared his finances with me. I paid more in taxes last year than he received through social security. I am so blessed. Hopefully, somehow, I can pay it forward to those without all of the support that I have.

This isn’t really about me. I want to encourage you to love your neighbor, who ever that may be. Love is a strong word, so perhaps you just support someone a little more. Get out there and do it! Pay it forward! If we all care for our neighbors more, this world is going to be a little less dark and dreary.