I got to do things yesterday that I didn’t think I’d get to do for a long time.
I got to experience some firsts again.
I love my friends. I’ve known some of them since elementary school. And because of that, I feel I know pretty well what we’re going to be doing every week. Eat, drink, play some games, watch a movie, chat, call it a night.
I never really looked to them for the excitement and variety in my life. I always looked to my relationships for that. First time to Mexico, that was with a girlfriend. First time hiking, girlfriend. Bouldering, girlfriend. Coney Island, girlfriend. Et cetera. Et cetera. So when my last relationship ended and I decided to take on this experience, I also thought I would be submitting myself to an understanding that my life would be simple, predictable, consistent, for that amount of time as well. I don’t hold that against them. God only knows with my job being the way it is and my emotions always on a day to day basis a little consistency and reliability is certainly appreciated. I have no problem with grabbing a good meal and having some strong drinks either out or at my place with friends. I have no problem with playing card games or board games or watching movies or just talking somewhere with a good ambiance. But that would never really extinguish a desire in me. A thirst for more. I crave new experiences. I am a frenetic ball of energy that needs to vent, to be let loose in some direction. So I was understandably a bit concerned in the long run what I was going to do. I could of course pursue activities on my own. But for even the most solitary of folk, I believe there is a limit to how much of the human experience can really be felt on one’s own. We are social beings, forming communities for survival and prosperity.
I was worried my life would become too simple without my usual outlet (girlfriend) to explore everything I wanted to.
But yesterday proved me wrong. It showed me that my friends, the relationships I already have, can also be a source of new and exciting things. I have discounted my friends too much. I have underestimated their own propensity for adventure. I am humbled and a bit ashamed of myself for that but I see them now for so much more than just the same old same old. I mean, my friends have all had very dynamic lives without me really noticing. Two of them have just recently changed careers and positions. I am so proud of them for chasing after more than what they have and acknowledging their self-worth. Another friend is just now beginning a brand new relationship for the very first time and I can see how much it has changed him for the better. (God I miss that. Hahah.) They have all been equally hungry for life and I was too busy focusing on someone else’s plate rather than theirs.
So we’ve started to do more new things. We’re exploring interests and activities and hobbies. I am allowing myself to let go of plans and pre-conceived notions, I’m learning to be more flexible and share more of what I want to do with them rather than hold it back and prevent myself from really living and enjoying myself during this year of singlehood.
Yesterday we tried something I’ve always been interested in and, I found out, another friend has always been interested in too. A new archery range opened up nearby and they had a Groupon for an hour’s rental and use of the facilities so we decided to give it a try. It was so much fun and there is a certain peace and tranquility in the sport. The guards and equipment make you feel like a superhero and there is a deep and profound satisfaction in the sound of the arrow leaving the bow, even before you concern yourself with whether or not you’ve hit your target. We had some friendly competition and they even tied balloons to our targets once we were more comfortable for us to try and compete with. As I mentioned I discovered that one of my friends had actually always been interested in this as well which was a pleasant surprise and in fact we are seriously considering purchasing our own bows in the future to practice and improve and become more involved in the sport. I think there is great potential in pursuing this interest and I am equally excited for the opportunity to pursue a new hobby with one of my friends and also for the potential it unlocks for future blog posts.
We also went to the Hoboken Pilsnerhaus for the first time. It is a biergarten in north Jersey with a plethora of imported beers on tap and a large menu of German cuisine, including an indoor grill which would have been awesome if a) it wasn’t already 100 degrees outside b) the grill wasn’t also contributing even more heat into the facility and c) the proprietors weren’t so stingy as to not have air-conditioning inside the building. There isn’t enough beer in the world to make you forget about the heat and humidity. It’s an awesome place and again I got a chance to get really serious about a passion of mine (good food and drink) with a friend. Comparing beers, ordering a few different styles, we definitely could have made a session of it if it wasn’t so unbearably hot and crowded. A note for the future, we should go back for Oktobertfest, or Winterfest, or just ‘you won’t need A/C weather’ fest. The beers were excellent and of a wonderful variety of taste and feel and aroma. The food was wonderful. We started with a grilled sauteed mix of calamari and German sausages with rosemary, garlic, and paprika. From the grill I had two very large but wonderfully seasoned currywursts with crispy shoestring fries and a wonderfully peppery and crunchy housemade sauerkraut. This place is such great fun with the large communal wooden tables and the old world warehouse feel (I just wish the warehouse feel didn’t also include feeling like I was in an old hot warehouse). Had I not been with friends, I actually would not have even known of this place. It was my friend’s recommendation to go here after archery.
Even more significant and thoroughly surprising than the biergarten buzz was our Korean karaoke carousal. Yes dear readers after heat exhaustion and heavy drinking, we decided we wanted to spend the rest of our night singing (screaming). I have never been to a Korean karaoke studio before. One of my friends goes semi-regularly with his friends in the city and another used to go in college with his Korean club (go figure). It would be a brand new experience for two of us though. I had always wanted to try one of these. I am a particularly compelling case of tone-deaf but I cannot deny a deep national heritage of wanting to sing karaoke. If you’ve never been, Korean karaoke studios are great because you rent a room per hour regardless of how many are in your party, the room usually has some sofas, strobe lights, a great sound system, and they are all BYOB and BYOF. We stocked up before heading to this particular one with some beer, some sake, some jelly wine (Yes this exists and it is incredible. Imagine a giant lychee pudding cup only alcoholic. And if you don’t know what a lychee pudding cup is, get an Asian friend and head to your nearest Asian market. This was the best after-school sweet and the best part was sucking up the sweet juice before munching on the lychee and the pudding and this wine perfectly captures that with a slightly emulsified jelly like filling.) and plenty of Asian snacks. You know, rice balls, sushi, fried chicken, it was a real party. I learned I love singing badly with friends. I learned that I am not, surprisingly, the worst singer in the group. I also learned who was the best (still not me). I also learned I really need to step up my old school hip hop game because I can’t get by on singing pop songs. I swear to you the next time I go I will have memorized No Diggety by Blackstreet and U Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer. Maybe I’ll even throw some Salt n Pepa in there courtesy Shoop. Confuse the hell out of my friends. Hahah.
I had an incredible time yesterday, and it goes t show me that I do not have to wait to live. Just because I have decided not to pursue any relationships this year does not mean I can’t have fun with the ones I already have. Life does not have to be simple because you are single. It can be argued that it is definitely simpler than being in a relationship, but by no means does that mean it must be. Life is full of adventure and spice no matter who you choose to live it with. It is varied, complex, and dare I say, even complicated.
Boom. Drop the mic.
Man: 27 Loneliness: 16