Category: life or something like it

On dating and friendships…

An acquaintance of mine (Jenny) recently wrote this really good post about why she’s stopped dating. She had a bunch of points that I really related to as I’ve navigated dating after my relationship with H ended at the end of the last year. Her first point: “1. I find it very difficult to be attracted/interested in a picture or two and short little blurb. And so many dudes [women in my case] don’t even write a blurb.”

Honestly I just don’t really get online dating that much. The only semi-successful relationship I’ve had that started from an online dating site was H, and that only lasted about a year. My most successful relationships have been ones that started organically with people I’ve already met. I haven’t necessarily been friends with that person before entering a dating relationship, just that the initial introduction has already happened.

Unlike Jenny, I’m not ready to give up on dating yet, I haven’t even completely given up on the online sites. I don’t think my heart is really into online dating though. There are plenty of anxieties that I’m still working through regarding dating after my divorce and then the end of my relationship (and friendship) with H. I’m in a bit of a Catch-22 when it comes to dating. I want to date, but I don’t at the same time, or at my worst I don’t feel like I’m a good potential partner for someone.

Like Jenny, what I really want is to work on both maintaining and finding quality friendships. I have my friend family both near and far, those folks that you can call up after not speaking for a year or two and its like yesterday, but I’d like to have a few more folks locally. It’s not easy making new friendships in your 40s (as I talked about in a previous post). I’ve reached out to folks to do things (overcoming my anxiety about this). I still spend way too much time watching Netflix alone on the weekends, but I am getting better about making sure I do still get out of the house and see another human at least once during the weekend.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2018/on-dating-and-friendships/

On Friends

Over the past couple years, I’ve thought a lot about my friendships and what they mean to me. What is important to me in my friendships? What are my expectations? Are my expectations realistic? Am I being the type of friend I want someone else to be to me?

I think that I can be a bit of a conundrum to friends. I can be both overly open about things and hard to crack as well. If you are someone I think I can trust, I’ll probably tell you more details then you want to know about something. At the same time, I lean towards a more introverted persona and I don’t often outwardly show a lot of emotion. I also don’t often push for more info from someone than is freely shared. I think this sometimes comes across as detached or indifferent. Which is often not the case. I do want to listen to the things that are going on in my friends lives.

If I had one anxiety about friendships, it would be that I sometimes question if my friends actually want to hang out with me. It often feels like if I do something with friends, it is something that I have to instigate/plan. I know from talking to other friends that I’m not the only person that feels this way. My guess is that it is more widespread than not, especially with the busyness of life as we become older adults. I do know that it feels really good to be invited to do something with someone though. I’ve made a point of focus to make sure I acknowledge when it happens as well, whether or not I can actually take the person up on the invite.

But what is a healthy friendship? There is always going to be some ebb and flow in any relationship whether platonic or romantic. For me, it is important that it is a relationship. There has to be some effort to keep up the friendship on both sides of the friendship. I’ve had to pull away from a friendship because it was largely one sided. I had another friendship that went a little dormant for awhile…and still probably isn’t where I’d like it to be…but has shown signs of life lately.

Ending a friendship is painful. With the exception of my divorce, it’s probably one of the more painful things I’ve done. More painful than even the end of a romantic relationship. I don’t like doing it. Especially when you care deeply about that person. These feelings are fresh. This happened in the past few weeks. I can’t say that friendship is over forever, but for now at least it seems to have come to some sort of end. That still hurts…even if it is the right thing for the time being.

Friendships are an amazing thing. I treasure each one in its own way. They have shaped who I am. They have been my family when I’ve been separated by miles from my actual family. Perhaps that is why they are so hard to step back from.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2018/on-friends/

Adult Friendships

I’ve had several conversations recently with different friends and family about how difficult it can be to both maintain and make new friendships as “adults.” I’m talking about maintaining friendships from childhood/college or making new friends in the post college time. People get married, some have kids. Between work and other family obligations, people get busy.

Someone did tweet into my Twitter timeline recently a pretty great piece of advice on one way to help stay connected to your friends in the face of all the everyday busyness of adult life:

I have more to say about this subject, however my thoughts are kinda all over the place at the moment. I’m going to need some more time to make them a little more coherent (I’ve written and deleted 3 or 4 different paragraphs).

In the meantime, anyone who happens to make it this far, I hope all is well with you. If we haven’t talked/texted/tweeted recently, I’d love to touch base and hear what is going on in your life.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2018/adult-friendships/

Movin’ On

New music from Glen Hansard.
Lyrics

Words that ring true recently.

Listen to the rest of the album on this playlist:

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2018/movin-on/

Divorce (Finally)

Friday afternoon we finally reached a settlement agreement. The paperwork still needs to be drawn up and signed, but I’ll finally be able to put this whole chapter behind me sooner than later.

In the end, she’s getting off easier than she probably would have if the case had gone to trial. But the cost of going through with the deposition and trial that her side was pushing for would have canceled out much of the gain. The sad thing is, in the end we ended up only $700 below what I told her the low end would be when she left. So because she was unwilling to communicate at all (except through third parties…first her mom…then the attorneys), and even then unwilling to talk about any sort of settlement until the last week before the scheduled deposition, we both will have ended up spending at least a couple thousand extra dollars and probably 3 or 4 months on something we could have settled on our own.

As painful as this whole process has been, in the end it’ll end up being for the better. From her own words, she apparently had doubts even before we actually got married. The problem was she never said anything to me or anyone else about them. The marriage that I thought was built on strong rock because of the words she was telling me, was actually built on sand. The first storm that hit it damaged it beyond repair (even if it took a year for it to completely fall apart afterwards).

In the last six months I’ve done a lot of self-introspection. I’ve taken this time to really think about what is important to me in relationships. Where I’ve fallen short in the past (not just in the marriage, but prior relationships as well). The places where I gave up more than I should have. I will not distance myself from my family just because my partner feels awkward about being there. That communication is so important. If someone is unwilling to talk about the hard stuff…well then they probably aren’t really mature enough to be making the hard decisions (like getting married). I know I wasn’t perfect in the marriage. I know I acted in ways that contributed to the environment that led to our marriage falling apart. I tried to improve on those things when we went to couples counseling. But I fear, by the time we went to couples counseling it was already too late. Part of her had already made up her mind…she just needed the excuse to run from having difficult conversations herself. Nothing I could have done or said would have changed anything…at most it would have just adjusted the timing. I acknowledge and accept the role my actions played in our marriage ending. I’m not deflecting my personal responsibility on my mom, or her, or any others like she has. In the end, I know that I was faithful to my marriage vows until the end.

Despite how difficult this year has been, I really am in a better place than I was at the end of last year. I have a group of friends that have been a great support over the course of the year. The people I hang out with are a much healthier group of people than some of the people I had surrounded myself at the end of last year. I’ve got great housemates that have a positive outlook on things. Have I mentioned how great my friends have been the last six months? Because they have been…they helped me through my darkest times. They’ve been such a source of strength throughout everything and I’ll be eternally grateful.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/divorce-finally/

its been awhile…

…since I’ve posted anything about what is going on with the divorce. Largely, that is because nothing much had happened on that front. Both A and her attorney seem to have been in no hurry to move the process along. They have both taken their time to respond to my attorney and turn over required information. However, finally things are starting to move forward again. Our initial settlement proposal was sent to her attorney on Friday afternoon. So at least the negotiations can now begin. There is also some sort of hearing date set finally (the end of Oct)…so hopefully we can get things settled before then and avoid needlessly going to court.

As for me personally, things are going ok. I’m embracing the beginning of my 40s and the opportunity for new beginnings and discoveries. I still have the occasional thought while doing things of “A. would love this right now,” which is still a little weird feeling. Divorce is still the most disorienting thing that has happened in my life.  I still wish she would have talked to me more about what she was thinking over the last year or so of our marriage. I wish she could have seen how hard I wanted her to be happy. Our relationship still may not have survived, but at least it could have been more amicable than duelling lawyers.

The biggest thing for me going forward is learning how to trust again. Not only other people, but myself and my instincts. I struggle with doubt about pretty much everything A told me over the last year or so of our marriage. Was she being honest with me (or to herself and then me)? Often much of it feels like a lie (even though logically I know it probably wasn’t at least completely). Like I’ve said before, I knew everything wasn’t perfect…but I didn’t know things were as far gone as they were.

As I begin to date again it’s probably going to take a special woman to get me in another serious relationship. Someone who has some patience as I figure out how to open myself up to them. It’s probably going to be someone who takes some initiative in the beginning. Someone willing to put themselves out there and say…hey I think you are cool and I’d like to get to know you better. I was thinking about this recently and my serious relationships have generally been like this (even A took the initiative for our relationship to be more than just friends). I’m not really sure how to do the dating thing these days. The online apps are weird and awkward to me. I spend a lot of time with folks in the Timbers Army, but so many people have a “no dating in the TA” policy (which I both understand and think is a little ridiculous). I’m in no rush to be in another relationship, but I do look forward to feeling some chemistry with someone again.

So that’s where things are at with the divorce. I’m mainly waiting for things to be negotiated by lawyers to a point where we can both sign off and be done. Where that final piece of closure can happen and our lives will move on in separate directions. I’m still grateful for the time we had together and how both the good and bad of our relationship has helped me grow to be a better man.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/its-been-awhile/

forty

Wow, 40 years old. So crazy.

At the beginning of the year I was looking forward to turning 40. Things weren’t exactly where I wanted them to be, but I had a plan on how to improve things. Then my world fell apart and everything changed. I wasn’t sure how I felt about turning 40 anymore. At the beginning of August, I was kind of dreading the end of the month. I was facing 40 and a probable “antiversary” (where while I’m still technically married…there is no celebration of my marriage day) alone. I fell into a bit of a depression…the events of the year finally catching up to me. If I’m completely honest, that fog of depression is still there…but I’m working on focusing on the good things that happen each day. Inspired by a couple other friends, I have a little running project going on Instagram, where I post a daily (mostly) list of good things. For the most part, each day there are at least a few good things I can identify and remind myself that things aren’t all that bad.

You say it's your birthday... #GoodThings #40thbirthday #FuckDepression

A post shared by Ryan Gillespie (@rhinoblues) on

As the days to my 40th counted down, I decided to let this be a new beginning. 39 was probably the toughest year of my life. Just about everything that could be turned upside down was. This year around the sun will be better than the last. I’m working hard on those goals I had at the beginning of the year. Things are already getting better in many of those areas.

Thanks again to my family and friends that came over to celebrate my birthday with me. It was a huge thing for me to be able to spend an afternoon with all of you and really feel the love you have all given me.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/forty/

On friendship…

In another great post from Brain Pickings, Maria Popova muses about friendship and the commodification of the word friend:

I often puzzle over the nature, structure, and function of friendship in human life — a function I have found to be indispensable to my own spiritual survival and, I suspect, to that of most human beings. But during a recent interview on Think Again, I found myself concerned with the commodification of the word “friend” in our culture. We call “friends” peers we barely know beyond the shallow roots of the professional connection, we mistake mere mutual admiration for friendship, we name-drop as “friends” acquaintances associating with whom we feel reflects favorably on us in the eyes of others, thus rendering true friendship vacant of Emerson’s exacting definition. We have perpetrated a corrosion of meaning by overusing the word and overextending its connotation, compressing into an imperceptible difference the vast existential expanse between mere acquaintanceship and friendship in the proper Aristotelian sense.

Illustration by Maurice Sendak from a vintage ode to friendship by Janice May Udry

Illustration by Maurice Sendak from a vintage ode to friendship by Janice May Udry

In countering this conflation, I was reminded of philosopher Amelie Rorty’s fantastic 1976 taxonomy of the levels of personhood and wondered what a similar taxonomy of interpersonhood might look like. I envisioned a conception of friendship as concentric circles of human connection, intimacy, and emotional truthfulness, each larger circle a necessary but insufficient condition for the smaller circle it embraces.“I live my life in widening circles,” Rilke wrote.

Friendship

Read the whole post here: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/08/16/friendship/

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/on-friendship/

grandpa mike (final part)

My sister, who has been living in Hungary, was able to move up her flight moving back to the states a week and arrived to PDX on Friday night. Since one of my parents had to come up from Eugene to pick her up from the airport, I decided to head down with them and catch a Bolt Bus home on Sunday. Despite getting back to Eugene right around midnight, the whole family went over to sit with Grandpa for a little bit.

Each day we went over for a little bit and basically just watched him sleep.

I went with an old friend on Sunday morning (who knew him well), and then once more by myself right before I had to head down to the bus stop to go home. As I left, I kissed his forehead and told him I loved him one last time.

Overnight, he passed away peacefully in his sleep. His journey on this crazy planet complete.

I’m going to miss you grandpa.

I’m happy he got to meet both of my sisters children before he passed away. Someday I hope to tell my own children stories about him.

This is one of the last pictures of him, from the weekend James was born:

IMG_2387

Four generations.

I love you grandpa.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike-final-part/

Grandpa Mike (part 3)

For most of my college years, I lived in the mother in-law suite at my Grandparents house. During that time, I acquired a dog from a co-worker. Bruno was approx 2 yrs old when I got him (but his age wasn’t really known). My grandparents had huge back yard with plenty of room for him to run (and run and run and run). Inside the house…he was pretty good at following basic instructions, but when he was outside it was like all hearing disappeared. He was a mix of Walker Hound and Black Lab (at least).

Bruno

When I moved up to Portland in 2004, Bruno stayed at my grandparents house. He was happier there than he would have been able to be anywhere I would have been able to live at the time. He truly became my grandparents dog though the time one of them fell (either in the bathroom or outside…my memory is failing me at the moment) and the other was either outside or in the house. Bruno went and found the other of them to get their attention and lead them to the other.

Bruno lived a long time. I got him sometime in 2000 and he finally had to be put down just last year (or maybe late 2014…dates seem to be failing me at the moment). As much of a pain in the ass Bruno could be at times. I’m glad he was able to be a companion to my grandparents for a while. I know he loved being there with him.

Love you Grandpa.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike-part-3/