Friday, March 21, 2014

Does failure make us more determined, or less determined?

Tonight I had a pretty good date. I've also been talking with another woman who is pretty cool, and might be a better fit. In any case I dragged my butt out of the doldrums and actually did something even though I feel it is too early for me to try dating after my fiasco.

I've been reflecting a lot on the last twenty years and how I ended up here. I spent so many years traveling around teaching people about software and machine tools, working with Universities doing research, government organizations doing testing and development and corporations doing manufacturing technology implementation that I feel like my entire world stopped on a dime when I got sick.

I went from going gang busters for years to not being able to walk up a flight of stairs without being winded and getting a horrible headache. From a “road warrior” diet I tried to keep healthy to a seriously heart healthy diet. From when I was at my worse in 2011 when I couldn't walk a hundred yards without getting sick to the spring of 2012 when I had worked up to a 3 mile walk and my ejection fraction was measured at 50% I worked my butt off at getting better physically. My heart still does crazy things, but, I am in a lot better shape than I was in the spring of 2011.  Getting better too.

Then my life got thrown for another loop, I went from a husband with a potentially terminal heart condition to a widower with a poor heart.

Then I went from homeowner to foreclosure and apartment dweller.

Then I tried dating. What a disaster. I thought fighting through the loss of previous 3 years had given me enough strength to handle dating, but, I got played by someone whose idea of fun was causing emotional pain.

So here I am, a recovering emotional and physical wreck trying to share something worthwhile with women I don't know. I was sitting, waiting for this woman tonight, and thinking “what the heck am I doing?” But, I had a good time with a woman who might be smarter than I am. I love talking with people who are smarter. There are a lot of people who think they are smart, and not very many who really are smart. It was pretty cool.

So, maybe I am recovering. Somewhat anyway.

For me, this is pretty unusual. If I fall for someone really hard I generally wait about a year before I start dating again, but, I have never been played like this before. In spite of being a recovering emotional and physical wreck, double the emotional wreck because the first woman I date after recovering from my life implosion was a player. I decided that it would be a good idea to jump back on the horse.

Was it a good idea? I think so. Most women are not going to get a kick out of hurting a guy. More guys are scummy that way than women are. Have I led a woman on this way before? Deliberately hurt her on an emotionally pivotal day?  Not that I know of, but, I have done my share of scummy things.

The difference between breaking up with someone you care about, even a bad break up, and getting played is the difference between climbing off a horse and getting thrown.

You can fall on your ass getting your boot caught in a stirrup and not be frightened by the thought of riding again.

Let that horse throw you though, and the longer you take to climb back up in the saddle the harder that climb becomes.  Or does it?

My great grandfather forced my grandfather to climb back up on a horse after he was thrown, even though he had a broken arm. Then my great grandfather went and got a camera (this is about 1907) to take a picture of my 8 year old grandfather on the horse. I remember seeing the picture and thinking how big the horse looked under the little child. I remember thinking how that little child was my grandfather, and I remember thinking how big a bully my great grandfather had to have been to frighten my grandfather more than being frightened of the horse.

I was glad I didn't know my great grandfather.

Still, I thought a lot about that picture and I swallowed down that feeling that it was too soon and I went out with a woman tonight. And it was pretty good. Not great, but, okay. No bully forcing me, just a determination that the woman who enjoyed hurting me wasn't going to destroy my ability to enjoy the company of women. Just a determination that a horse throwing me wasn't going to stop me from riding. I didn't need to get right back on the horse, it has been over a month.

I think my grandfather had the same kind of balls. I think he could have waited until his arm healed to get back up on the horse, and I would bet he would have.

When I was a kid my father used to beat me for “playing” with his books when I read his old text books. It just made me more determined to read them.

This woman who played me has made me more determined to heal, physically and emotionally. Heal from the grief. Heal from the loss. Adapt. Overcome.

I think my grandfather was a better man than I am, I think he would have acted similarly with the horse. I think my grandfather would have been even more determined to ride that stupid horse after he had spent time healing. My grandfather hated horses after the experience my great grandfather put him through. I love books. I love women. No one forced me to deal with them after my “beating”, the “beating” just made me more determined.

Maybe that is the secret to my success at doing the impossible. Failure, in some ways, just makes me more determined to succeed.  Any which way, I'm back in the saddle again :-)

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