Monday, August 6, 2012

Retro Summer - the Old Posts: Honorable Mention - But then I Wasn't Wrong

OK, so I have just about goofed away the entire summer.  Just one more re-peat to go!  I know these re-posts are kind of like a Denny's Grand Slam Breakfast special - buy one get the next one free.  The first one tasted like *hit so why would you think the next time around it would be any better.   :)

You know what "they" say fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on Ryan.  But as Einstein once said the definition of stupidity is reading Ryan's blog over and over again and expecting a different result.   :)

But anyway it has been fun for me contemplating my favorite posts.  It's also kind of worrisome.  You know you get to thinking you should be getting better at something but then I start reading some of my old posts and I think to myself "some of this stuff ain't that bad."  I wonder how I let myself get so sloppy.

This post below is one of my earlier posts.  I had really wanted to tell the story of this couple I knew.  I had recently gone to their wedding.  The story of their life is very sweet and I actually think it is a good navigational beacon for how we might all try to find this thing we seem to be seeking which is love, sex, or just someone to say "bless you" when we sneeze!

Retro Summer
Originally posted  May 16th, 2011

Maggie and Dalton

Part of my whole schtick about doing the music quotes actually goes back to when I was in marriage counseling.  The doc would ask us our feeling about things or to articulate how conflict would arise and how we would resolve.  Trouble is I am horrible about articulating my feelings particularly verbally, sometimes I can't even remember incidents just that I was mad at something.  The result was that I would always pull out some movie quote or scene that depicted my thoughts our feelings.  It seemed to work for me and kept the Doc entertained although to Shannon it was just another annoyance (of many).

Anyway about a month before this post I did a reflective post on the my Ashley Madison anniversary (see it here).  I thought it was OK although a little overly verbose.  I guess you could say I didn't love it.  What I wanted to talk about was how I thought things were supposed to be in relationships.  I had failed at my marriage, was starting to see how other had struggled in their marriages, and was starting to come to some conclusions about what it is we are all striving for.  But how to articulate.

Of course I could have tried to pull up a music or movie quote but then it hit me, the wedding that I had recently attended and the happy couple.  Of course there was no guarantee they were any more perfect then Shannon and I but there were some things they had done leading up to their vows that to me appeared like the right stuff.

So rather than trying to burp out some bullet points on what makes a great marriage or what should be on your check list before you get married I decided to tell the story of Maggie and Dalton.  And oh btw, I did put some bullet points at the end.  Sorry, I can only keep corporate "bottom line" focused Ryan out for so long.  :)

Retro Summer (Honorable Mention) - But Then I Wasn't Wrong Not Knowing How Our Love Would Grow
Originally posted May 16, 2011

How I think it’s supposed to be.

Writing about Sandra the other day made me remember about the wedding I attended last summer which was right during the first time I met her through AM.  Fairly soon after starting this blog I had given myself a mark on my mental blog list to write about the bride and groom from the wedding, Maggie and Dalton; their wedding, their lives, and what I thought their lives might be like.  In all this blogging about infidelity I thought it would be interesting and refreshing to write about what I think this married life is supposed to be about or at least what we hope it will be about when we enter.

And since this will be such as mushy/goopy blog entry I thought I would add an over the top romantic lyric quote from one of my favorite early 80’s bands, the Baby’s led by John Waite performer of other cheesy 80’s songs like “When I See You Smile (with Bad English),”  “Missing You (solo),” and "Change (from cheesy movie Vision Quest)."  You know the opening line to that title song is “Everytime I think of you, it always turns out good,” isn’t that really what we are all looking for?  So here is a cheesy 21st century blog entry to go with those cheesy 80’s lyrics – Say Cheese!  Take a listen to the song here while you read!

I have known Maggie all of her life.  She is the god-daughter of my mom and daughter of my mom’s best friend Jill.  Maggie is a millennial, graduating high school in 2000 – not particularly pertinent but gives you a time line.  Maggie is a beautiful, vivacious girl – much like her mom.  She was always good in school, good at sports (tennis, horse back riding, etc.), and always had a lot of friends – basically the center of any universe she was in at any given time.  She continued to do well in college.  After college she took a job back home as a paralegal with a lawyer who was a friend of the family (her family was always very well connected).  Her hope was to attend law school.  While in college she met Don.  Everyone liked Don.  He was not exactly a “go getter,” but had a great personality.  Don moved to Maggie’s hometown and they continued their relationship.  He was an aspiring photographer but was currently one of those guys who sell cellular phones at the mall kiosk.   

Finally, Maggie was accepted to a law school one state away.  But Don obviously cared for her as he followed her and things looked great when his company was able to find a job for him nearby.  Everything was lined up.  Maggie would get her degree and they would marry and live happily ever after.

Well, happily ever after intersected with failure when Maggie was not able to keep her first year grades above the minimum.  This law school apparently admitted more 1st year students than they had space for in the 2nd year so they necessarily chased a certain percent away and Maggie was now a part of that percent.  To add insult to injury Don decided he wanted to see other people so they broke up.

So Maggie limped back home now four years out of college with no job, out of law school, and one failed relationship she thought would end in marriage.  She moved back in with the parents and went back to work at her old law firm as a paralegal.  The lawyer btw was a contemporary of mine who had followed a boy out west, got married, had kids, divorced, went back to school, got her J.D. and now was becoming a very successful lawyer back home so sometimes you can go back!

Maggie lingered at home for about another year but then she got the bright idea to move to New York City, like the classic millennial she had friends there so she could live with them and get her start.  Of course, we traditional adults thought her crazy.

But Maggie forged ahead, went to New York and found a job as a receptionist at a law firm.  Through her friends she met Dalton.  And her job responsibilities began to grow.

Dalton is a high born son of a very rich lawyer in a large Southern Metropolis.  Dalton got his degree in Finance and now works for a hedge fund in NYC.  But his passion is actually music and writing.  He is in a band and has had a book published.

From the start everyone said they were meant for each other.  After dating for about 6 months they moved in together (again frowned on by her parents).  They lived together for about a year before they decided to marry and even then set a date about 1 year later.  Over this time however they really grew together, enjoying the company of this circle of friends that grew around them from their home towns and colleges – all millennials who had trekked together to the big city.  They also traveled together.  Dalton made good money and his family is loaded so they were able to afford extended vacations in Europe and South America.

And so when the big day came it was really more a culmination of the relationship that had formed, the logical next step on a journey together.

So, what a great story but what’s the take away (as I’ve said before) or better yet what’s your WITY (what’s it to you).

OK here goes.

1)  I think most of us know we learn more from failure and losing than we do from success.  But unfortunately while we excuse ourselves from ruining a white dress shirt because we washed it with pink underwear (I don’t actually wear pink underwear btw) we do not allow ourselves to celebrate our failures in love.  My biggest regret and why I feel I have failed in my marriage is that I never had that great cataclysmic failure at love in my 20’s.  How can you truly appreciate success and in this case love unless you have failed.

Maggie failed at love.  Maggie failed out of law school.   How tragic!  How wonderful!

By failing with Don, she knew when it was right with Dalton.  By not failing in our early adulthood so often we make the mistake of thinking we are with Mr/Mrs Right and later find out we are with Mr/Mrs Was Great at the Time.

I have to share some credit with fellow bloggers here (Elle from Sex and the Shitty) and Holly (a muse from past entries) who both gave me very thoughtful feedback on this post.  Elle aptly said “heartache is essential to strength and growth… through suffering; we are able to gain much clarity.”  She cited another quote “sorrow is a teacher and a purifier.”  Elle also gave me a very elegant quote from James Allen but it had too many clauses and long fancy words for my limited intellect to decipher J  But thanks Elle and Holly!

2)   Regardless of morality you need to live together before you get married.  You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving, why would you marry without test driving.  You need to make sure daily reality is not going to get in the way of loving and being intimate with your life partner.  If you can’t look past someone leaving their underwear on the floor in your 20’s you definitely won’t be able to when your 40 and likewise if you can’t form the habit of putting your underwear away because it bothers someone special then you are going to be a bear 20 years from now.

3)   Live your life before you settle down.  Get all the traveling, partying, screwing, drinking that you need to do before you attempt to settle down to life with someone you plan to be exclusive with.  No matter how much you love and care for someone if you feel you missed out on something in your youth you will always think the grass might be greener elsewhere.  That’s Shannon’s problem, she got married to me too young and never got to experience being a young single adult who can go as she pleased.  Hence no matter how good things are she always has had wonderlust.  Maggie and Dalton have done plenty of living and now I believe they truly want to do all their living going forward with one another (including traveling, partying, screwing, etc.).

4)   Have shared passions but be able to have a separate since of self.  They say if you have a job doing something you love you will never work a day in your life.  You need to have some shared passions with your partner so that you will always be choosing to go in the same direction because it is something you would choose to do even if they weren’t there.  However, you have to have the confidence to let your partner have separate passions. 

5)  Travel together; discover something for the first time together and you will always share something special.  Don’t you always remember the first time you saw something really big like the Grand Canyon, Disney, Europe….  Traveling together builds bonds and seeing and experiencing something for the first time together really builds a collective bond.  Of course, parenthood is most often that first great journey we experience together with our spouse but we need more.  Because once the kids are out of diapers you quickly need more in common than a tag team partner for bath, homework, and getting kids to soccer practice.

So that’s my little soapbox for the day.  I would love to hear any shared impressions from the peanut gallery.

And any of you 20-something ladies out there; now we really need to get Maggie’s brother Brandon married off.  Trust me, he is quite the catch.  A BS and MS from a world renowned university (yeah, it’s my alma mater), a great job, a wonderful personality, great looks (he’s blond and should be keeping his hair), a swimmer’s body, and a very faithful friend.

But regardless, be careful out there as Cat Stevens wrote “oh, baby, baby it’s a wild world.”

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