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Thursday, June 24, 2004

On being a late bloomer

Fifteen years ago, if someone were to ask me if I was in touch with my emotions, I would have to answer no. Emotionally, I’m a late bloomer. Years of alternately searching and avoiding has led me to some understanding of my heart and soul. And it’s taken even longer to make peace and become friends with that person. But reaching that level of peace within myself is helping me in all my relationships. I’m a work in progress to be sure, but here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Passion drives me—for living, learning and engaging in my life’s work. I have a passion for people and intelligence and all things British, for period films, tomato and mozzarella salad, bringing people together and books! My God how I love my books.

I am in love with love. I want to be cherished and to swoon, to be loved for my head, heart, body and soul, to be told that my intelligence can fire the brain and my soul inspire construction of cathedrals (okay maybe that’s a bit of a stretch).

I’m in love with my boys. They fill me to overflowing and I hope I don’t rely too heavily on their love to sustain me. Though they don’t resemble me in appearance, they do in personality and sense of humor. And there’s nothing like cuddling with them and sharing a laugh, a story or conversation.

My ideal Friday night is to prepare a great meal together and then curl up on the couch and watch a movie or sit by the fire or on the patio and simply talk for hours—about kids, books, writing, music and human nature. My ideal Saturday night is to enjoy great food, red wine and great conversation at a superb restaurant, followed by a walk through the city, absorbing its great energy.

My brain is hyperactive. I’m full of ideas and often get frustrated when I can’t act on them. If I lose interest in something, I’m perhaps too quick to set it aside. But with time being the only nonrenewable resource, I'm learning not to sweat the small stuff.

I have spells when I don’t sleep much, yet remain invigorated. But when my lack of sleep catches up to me, I’m slowly learning to give myself (and my brain!) a rest. I'm a multitasker to the end and find some of my best ideas for writing come while I'm running.

Most healthy people will tell you it doesn’t matter what others think of you, but I value certain people’s opinion of me. I want to be thought of as smart, as a leader, as a fine writer, as the kind of person you want to be around, whose company you find engaging, electric, intoxicating even. And, in turn, to feed off the energy of those who inspire me personally and professionally.

I lack patience for people who are ill equipped to fix their lives or their situation in life. This is one of my biggest character flaws and one which I pray daily to mend. And I have limited tolerance for those unable to see the forest for the trees.

Words drive so much of my passion: I find reading aloud to a loved one to be most romantic. I turn to great writing in hopes of finding answers to life’s big questions: Where do we find happiness? What is love? What is goodness? Why is forgiveness so difficult? What is the hallmark of a successful life?

Wanderlust is not only a mental/emotional desire, but also a physical urge. I often look to a plane in the sky (particularly at night) and wonder where the people are going, what they experience, whether it is pleasant or painful. Sometimes I fight an overwhelming physical urge to just go. I want to see, taste, hear, feel and smell all manner of new places and experiences. And I want to write about it all. I’d get a passport so I can be ready to go on a moment’s notice even though I have no plans to travel abroad.

Fear can paralyze me. I’ve been successful at conquering some fears, but there are always new ones to take its place.

I could lose myself for hours poring through a book of poetry, staring out the window, browsing in a bookstore, talking with good friends or interesting strangers, watching the waves crash on the shore or reading a great book or magazine.

I can be animated, talkative and extroverted, sharing many things with others. But most of my deepest thoughts are kept within. I am prone to quiet periods when I just need to dig in deep and try to get at some larger truth, sometimes successfully, very often not.

I can stand alone in the middle of the woods in winter and feel completely at peace. Likewise I can feel utterly alone while surrounded by family and friends.

Music can move me to tears, particularly anything by the big three composers—Mozart, Bach and Beethoven.

And I devote myself completely, my dear, to he who can tolerate my disjointed, idealistic, romantic, change-the-world, introverted, bookish, at-times-workaholic tendencies—and still love me for them.

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