Almost as soon as I open the email I know. Its another "Dear Aletia..." letter. Something to do with a crazy ex-girlfriend and needing space. At least this time I am granted the right of reply, and am able to wish him all the best before whatever it almost was, isn't any more, and we cease contact. He was a lovely guy, and I'm sad.
Yep, I am starting to think I have a little too much in common with unlucky-in-love Rachel from Friends and George from Seinfeld. As I accrue a collection of "meh" first dates, a few promising second dates gone just a bit wrong, and add a couple of friends turned lover turned stranger scenarios into the mix, I start to realise that at least I have some interesting stories to tell.
I was talking with a colleague the other day about how job searching is kindof like dating, except that for some very practical reasons (ie money) you don't want to be "unattached" for too long. Like dating, though, first you have to get the profile/resume right, then you go for the date/interview, and then, at least in my recent dating experience, one of you attempts the delicate art of gentle rejection and the other tries their hand, with varying levels of success, at graceful acceptance.
With these thoughts in mind, I am marvelling at how pleasant it was to have a different conclusion to my first foray into the job search process. I had completed steps one and two, and knew that I was still interested. So, it was with a little surprise and much delight that I learnt that the feeling was mutual. I was being offered the job! My new boss even confessed later on that she "knew" almost as soon as she read my application. Wow, maybe there is such as thing as a job match at first sight.
So, as I weigh up dating disappointments against employment euphoria, I can't help but feel lucky overall. We spend 8 hours a day at work, and longer if we're travelling, so it is important to feel valued and, as the Quaker advice goes, that you have taken "the path offering the greatest opportunity for the use of your gifts in the service of God and the community". I feel good about the change.
And as for dating, Quakers have some advice on that too. "In close relationships we may risk pain as well as finding joy" the advice reads. "When experiencing great happiness or great hurt we may be more open to the working of the Spirit". I agree. To be fully alive, you have to be willing to risk pain. And there have been some special and joyful moments. Even when experiencing a sad goodbye or the hurt of realising somebody you care about is just not that into you, it is still part of the beautiful and complex experience of being human, for which I am endlessly grateful.