THE HELPLESS FEELING OF BEING IN LOVE…PART 1

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Introduction

“The single young man can build a comfortable fortress of indifference from which he can observe relationships as an unbiased spectator”

I have gone through many significant personal changes since I’ve been in Korea. It’s amazing how being a foreigner in another country can teach you a lot about yourself, yet it is even more amazing how you go through personal changes that you couldn’t possibly predict. My dear friend and reader, I would like to invite you, once again, into one of the many fascinating experiences I have recently had here in Korea. Please read my words and consider my thoughts, for I am ever-compelled to share my feelings with you. Let us walk together as I tell you about my dramatically changed perspective on love and relationships.

……….

On the plane ride to South Korea, I truly wondered how I would emotionally adapt to being alone in a strange environment. More specifically, I wondered if I would find a significant other, a beautiful and sensitive young woman to share my experiences with, someone to be with me so that I wouldn’t get lonely. I must confess that during my first month here, I kept hoping that I would meet someone special. I was very uneasy about being alone. Every morning when I woke up I would ask myself, “Will today finally be the day when I meet her?”

But as time went on, my feelings began to change. I slowly began to stop anticipating when I would find someone else, and I found that being alone was not so bad. After learning how to get around the city of Changwon and do things on my own, I began to recognize the value of my freedom to use my spare time to do whatever I felt like doing. In fact, I learned to really cherish it.

While I was in this process of becoming emotionally independent, I began to look at relationships differently. When I lived in the States, being single all the time actually bothered me. Not only was I lonely, but I also felt like such an outsider because it seemed like everyone else I knew had a significant other. Whenever someone would ask me if I had a girlfriend, I would say no and then feel embarrassed. I really thought that I was strange for being single, and I always wondered if I was that one piece of the puzzle that just didn’t fit anywhere. It was almost as if I was an unusual specimen to be observed by other people who were in relationships, like I was an example of “what NOT to be like.”

A couple of months in Korea changed all that. I no longer cared if I was perceived as being strange for not having a girlfriend. (Hell, I’m already strange to everyone here because I’m a foreigner.) And I didn’t feel bad about being single…I loved being single!! I loved making my own plans, going on my own whims, and structuring my free time as I wanted. I felt free as a bird because I could enjoy my own imagination and my solitude. I thought it was so ironic that I learned to enjoy being single in a country that is just as romantic as it is mysterious. And believe me, Korea is a romantic country. (Well…South Korea is anyway) Married couples get along very well, and it is easy to see that they have built relationships based on mutual love, warmth, affection, and strong family ties. Younger couples constantly walk down my street at night holding hands, and it seems like the majority of Korean songs, both traditional and modern, are about passion, love, and romance.

So there I was, in a country full of romance, and I wasn’t making the slightest effort to start a relationship with anyone. Despite the abundance of beautiful and intelligent women, I was content to just sit back and observe other couples. I thought I was such a strong and unique person to be able to observe a happy couple and to take delight in the fact that they had found each other without feeling jealous or lonely.

As I continued to develop this inner-peace within my own solitude, I also reflected on my own personality. I thoughtfully acknowledged the reality that I have certain elements of my personality that would actually make it difficult for a woman to have a relationship with me. I have a very strange imagination, and my mind often wanders off on its own. Because of this, I tend to become withdrawn and absent-minded in social situations, and people can easily perceive me as insincere because I don’t always pay attention. I also tend to forget things that people tell me about themselves due to the fact that I am usually lost in my own little world. This would be very aggravating to a significant other, and I realized that this would fuel the perception that I wasn’t emotionally involved in the relationship. In addition to this, I also acknowledged that many of my personal habits, namely smoking and drinking, do not appeal to young, healthy, intelligent women. And it doesn’t take an active imagination to understand how these two behaviors alone can create multiple inconvenient problems in a relationship.

But personality weaknesses aside, I also had to accept the fact that I was very selfish about my own needs and wants, that I didn’t want to change anything about my personality or behavior to accommodate anyone else, and that I was too wrapped up in my own individuality to share my time or my feelings with someone. In a strange way, and I even chuckle at this, I got the idea that keeping myself single would benefit both me and the opposite sex. I would be free to explore and enjoy my own strange mind without frustrating someone else with my impulsive, absent-minded behavior or letting them down in any other way.

Strangely, I began to perceive relationships as a burden. I suppose it was because I projected my own unique needs and wants onto the couples I was observing. I asked myself, “How can all these people be truly happy when they have to devote so much time, energy, and emotion into another person?” I imagined that these individuals would have very little free time to do what they wanted to do or even to explore their own interests. I also pondered the emotional strain of being in a relationship, and I asked myself, “How can any of them be happy when they have to compromise so much by investing their love in another person who may let them down or disappoint them? How can they find inner-peace when they allow themselves to become so vulnerable by trusting someone else with their feelings and emotions?”

I continued thinking about these things, and I really am sorry to confess this, but I even began to perceive myself as better than they were. I allowed my own foolish pride to take over as I began to think of myself as some kind of “bad ass” because I was so strong, tough, and independent that I didn’t need a special someone in my life. Yes, there I was, in a romantic country full of happy couples, thinking, “I’m Wesley Jansen, master of my own fate. I’m so tough that I don’t need love or personal attention, or any of that emotional garbage.” And I thought, “Hey. The world is too interesting for love anyway. There is too much to see, too much to do, and too much to explore. To Hell with love, I’m going to be Indiana Jones!!” Little did I know that I was about to have yet another change of perspective…

There is a small mountain in Changwon that I often like to climb on weekends. In fact, the city of Changwon is cradled within a valley of beautiful mountains. Mountain climbing is a very popular activity in this city as there are numerous mountains to choose from. Because all of the mountains have hiking trails and rest areas, anybody can climb them for exercise and leisure. It is not uncommon to see elderly people, young people, and even families on any given mountain trail. All of the mountains have small parks. These small parks are actually kind of neat. They have benches to sit on, water fountains, and even exercise equipment such as chin-up bars, bench press stations, monkey bars, incline benches for sit-ups and stretching, and sometimes even hula hoops. All in all, they are very quaint little outdoor recreation areas.

The small mountain I frequently climb also has one of these at its base. The mountain itself only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to climb, which makes it a very convenient area for brief exercise or even just a place to enjoy the outdoors. (without the strenuous physical activity of climbing a bigger mountain)

One Sunday afternoon, I decided to go and climb my favorite little mountain so that I could enjoy my newly found pride and individuality in a beautiful place with lovely weather. I walked from my apartment to the mountain, which took about 25 minutes, and I did a few chin-ups in the small park at the base of the mountain before I began climbing.

The scenery at the top of the mountain was just as fascinating as it always was. I could see the entire city, with all of its tall buildings and houses, from a view that was unobstructed by the numerous trees that decorate the mountain. I remember thinking, “Wow! I can see the entire city, and the view is all mine…the view is all mine, just like the rest of my life…it’s all mine, it belongs to me and me alone.” I was truly pleased with myself for finally obtaining a solid, individualistic perspective that would permit me the power to create my own experiences without worrying about someone else.

With this state of mind, I began my descent….

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2 Responses to “THE HELPLESS FEELING OF BEING IN LOVE…PART 1”

  1. If you dont mind, where do you host your web page? I am looking for a good web host and your weblog appears to be fast and up just about all the time

  2. I pretty much set all of this up on http://www.wordpress.com. It was relatively easy to set up, and it’s been reliable so far.

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