Friday, June 9, 2006

Quarter life crisis

My quarter-life crisis is finally winding down after reaching a rather spectacular climax last week. For six months day and night, I asked myself the hard questions: Am I ready to get married? If not, when will I be? What about kids? Yes, I definitely want kids, but seriously, when. In two years? In four? I'm 26 and I want kids before I'm 30 or 32. If i'm married for two years before I have kids, and I date two years before I get married, I've got two years or less to date all the women I need to find The One (or one of The Ones as I like to say). What am I looking for in a partner, in a girlfriend, in a wife? Am I too picky? Am I not picky enough? Does experience matter? Am I done playing? Do I want to travel? Do I want religion? All these questions haunted me to the point of mental exhaustion and I'm so glad that they're finally all answered -- for now.

Perhaps the most externally visible manifestation of my crisis is the fact that after 26 years of refusing to "play the game," I've finally started dating. I started with a single's party and speed dating, both of which were fun activities and yielded some dates, which have kept me insanely busy.

Many have asked me why I started all of this; granted the time was ripe and all that good stuff, but what single-handedly reversed my course and made me overcome one of my largest mental blocks ever; what was the catalyst? What other than a woman could cause a man to question his existence?

I've heard a lot of people say that you "just know" when you've found the right one. I wasn't sure if I believed them or not. I'd certainly experienced this in other more mundane areas of life, like car shopping or house shopping, but I wasn't sure it could apply to something so abstract and complex as a human being. Yet, even though it took me a while to realize it and even more time to admit to it to myself, she was it and I just knew. She was what I wanted. She was The One.

When I say she was The One, I don't mean she's the ideal woman of my dreams. That woman doesn't exist. I've checked. What I mean is that I believe there are certain qualities that are most important to me and many women might have them, each with their own twist, additions, and subtractions, resulting in a range of good matches for me. She just happened to be the first one to fall in this range. But what a splash she made!

I was so excited that there were women out there in the world like her, that what I was looking for was real, I had to find one for myself. Thus the dating like crazy thing. At the same time, the hard questions started. If The One could just show up on my doorstep as randomly as she did, I'd need to be ready for when the next One came along. There was no way I was going to miss another opportunity, considering how rare they are.

You might be wondering now, if this girl was so awesome, why didn't I just go for her? Well, that's what last week was all about and it's a story I'll have to tell another time.