Travel is wonderful because it gives you perspective on things. Not just life, but the lives of those friends you keep up with on social media, how much bigger and more alive some cities feel in comparison to others, and that general loss of comfort. I'm not used to walking these streets. This place is unfamiliar to me. St. Louis is not the world. My life is not the world.
But for every light bulb of inspiration, inevitably the spotlight of self-reflection follows. The curtain rises, the shadows are gone, and suddenly all that remains is yourself onstage, blinded by the harsh glare, surrounded by an audience of your triumphs and weaknesses and fears and successes and everything else that creates your you.
I've realized recently that, despite having a great life filled with great experiences, something is indeed missing from this thing called the human experience. It's like I've done so much self-reflecting and growing and cultivating of a personality and interests and passions that somewhere along the way my life became all about Me. Not that living your life for yourself is a bad thing, but all the knowledge and interests and passions in the world don't mean jack if there's no one there to share them with. Humans like to share things with people. We tell stories. That's why there's show and tell in elementary school. I see it as the first steps towards learning to share the story of ourselves, rather than your life in relation to the object you hold dear. In reality, the Show is just a vessel for us to tell the story of our life experiences. Because that's what we want to do. Share our stories, have other people hear them, understand them, learn from them, then hopefully share some of their own that might be similar or might not.
When that spotlight comes on, and I start sharing openly and honestly to myself, I realize that I'm not happy. It's not a bad not happy. I'm not angry or disillusioned, it's just there's this gnawing sensation, a subtle grinding, and it's that I want someone to share myself with, and someone who will share themselves in return. This means all the good things and bad things, too. The imperfections are who we are, our pains define us as well as our joys, yet I, like many others, seem to perpetuate this notion that there is perfect out there. And there probably is. It's just that perfect combination of both flaws and perfections.
So, dear reader, assuming you've made it this far, know that I'm not perfect, but certainly a far ways from imperfect. You might not like my collection of 80s soundtracks or interest in sneakers or Japanese history. My life might not be your ideal, but that's okay because at the moment it's ideal for me. I will guarantee a few basic things though: I am a good person. Not a "nice guy" in the pejorative sense, but someone who empathizes with others and tries to be as generally kind and polite as he can. I love to learn and spend a lot of time doing so. Your dog will probably like me almost as much as you within five minutes of meeting me, and as someone who loves animals, I get along great with kids, too. My family has been an inspiration these last few years, and I regret taking them for granted growing up. I know who I am, even though I don't necessarily know what I want.
This online dating world is a jungle. Ultimately, I just don't want to be lost wandering here forever.