My therapist and I were talking about relationships—romantic and otherwise—and she offhandedly mentioned that an important part of the bedrock of relationships is sharing common interests.
This came as something of a surprise to me, and that fact helped explain why I got flummoxed trying to describe the nature of what I quest to Bumble: it never occurred to me that it might be as simple as revealing what it is I like to do, what makes me happy.
(As a side note: if there were as many beach bonfires on PEI as women who list beach bonfires among their favourite things to do in their online dating profiles, there would be a lot more beach bonfires. I have never been to a beach bonfire.)
This revelation led my therapist to ask me to describe what I would do if presented with an unfettered day.
My answer: I would be in a European capital city; there would be a lot of eating; and wandering about so as to cultivate happenstance; the public library would be visited, perhaps an art gallery or a museum; multiple book, magazine and stationery shops; stops for coffee and reading the newspaper; an open-air cinema to close the day. No bonfires.
This, in turn, reminded me that public libraries exist, something I’d all but forgotten (contact tracing at the library entrance, understandable given COVID, rains on a fundamental conceit of public libraries: free and open anonymous access).
So I decided to unforget the public library, and ordered up a copy of Needing to Know for Sure: A CBT-Based Guide to Overcoming Compulsive Checking and Reassurance Seeking, a book possibly recommended to me by my other therapist (she recommended the authors; I guessed at the book).
I picked up the book this week, my first library loan in many many months. It turned out to be one of those books the details of which didn’t scratch my particular itches, but the broad strokes of which were very helpful. Witness these section titles:
- Living in a World of Maybe and Good Enough
- Living Well Although Bad Things Happen and We All Die
- Without Uncertainty, Creativity is Lost
- Excitement and Anxiety are Related
- Certainty is a Feeling, Not a Fact
- Learning Mindful Acceptance of Discomfort
Writing those out, I’m thinking maybe it was the book recommended to me after all. At the very least, “Learning Mindful Acceptance of Discomfort” is a notion that will feed me for some time.
I returned the book this afternoon and, the library die now being cast, I went hog wild and borrowed four more:
- “You’re in the Wrong Bathroom!”: And 20 Other Myths and Misconceptions About Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming People — to help me understand more about the context into which Olivia emerges.
- A Happy Life in an Open Relationship — I’ve never been able to grok open relationships, and don’t find myself drawn to the notion, so an opportunity to learn, unencumbered by an actual relationship as I am.
- The End of Normal: A Wife’s Anguish, A Widow’s New Life — an autobiographical book written by Bernie Madoff’s widowed daughter-in-law.
- Tools of Titans — although The 4 Hour Workweek was an important and helpful book, the expanded Tim Ferris cinematic universe that has followed has been of little interest; borrowing this hefty tome is my attempt to put that to a conclusive test.
In the meantime, what with all the bonfire-loving Island women seeking bonfire-loving soulmates, I’ve decided to try to get better at simply being single, and to that end, I’ve booked myself dinner and a room for one at the Inn at Bay Fortune for the end of the month. I’ve no idea how a romantic seaside dinner for one actually works. But I’ll find out.