An Ode to the Socratic Method

We walk through the door, taking in the large living room and the awkward way you have to turn yourself to get past the island in the kitchen. It is a huge apartment. The landlord explains his new place in Park Slope, that's why they're leaving, he's bummed because this is a great place. I wander to the window, wondering if this is where Oscar will sit to watch the birds. It isn't. We both feel it and, though we're enthusiastic to the owner, we decide this three blocks away after the tour is over. The search will go on.

The past week has been a swirl of reflection within a sea of stress. Though we'd discussed living together in the future, several recent conversations made it clear that the future might be sooner than we'd thought. And though some might see the mere possibility of taking the next life step as confirmation to do it, I was on less solid ground.

All I will say about this is that I lived with someone a few years ago and it did not go well. It went so not well that it was over within a few months. And though I am someone who loves jumping into new challenges and adventures, I find it much more difficult when it is an adventure that I have already failed.

How do you get to the bottom of what you really want? Such epic life moments have a way of sweeping you up into them. You imagine how happy your mother will be that you've finally found someone. Your friends will come to a housewarming party and bring you candles and guest towels. The outside world never fails in its enthusiasm for societal progress. And what of your inside world?

Sometimes I write things on this blog because I want to share them with you. Most times, actually. But sometimes I find myself writing things here for myself. Your appreciation or lack thereof is merely by-product. Sometimes I want to record history here, register how it was. In future weaker moments, I want to know that this decision was something that I thought through and out and around and about. Because I have. And all of that brings me as deep as today possibly allows me into the wants of my subconscious: I want to live with Chris.

In short, we made a survey and took it separately about where we wanted to live, what kind of neighborhood, the amenities that were important, how long our commute should be. Then, compared. And though it was a promising start with many similarities, my introspection wasn't finished.

I came home on Monday night and put on some Bon Iver, lit a couple of candles, and wrote out some questions. What would I ask myself if I were my own friend? And then, in colored markers, I wrote out the answers. Those answers are full of nerves and excitement, a colored mess of letters on a page filled with as much truth as I can muster. So then I knew.

It's ironic; I carry a notebook with me, I write on this blog, I am perhaps one of the people who wonders and reflects the most on the world around me. And yet the challenge of knowing what you really want seems an impossible task without some solitude and quiet. In the stillness of Monday night, I felt no loyalty to either opinion, but rather to myself, as deep down as I could stretch.

So January 1 it is. We're at the beginning of our search for a place with enough space for independence, as many outlets as an apartment can handle and close proximity to Trader Joe's. This time, maybe because I've made such a point to think it through, it feels much more like taking off, like clipping in our seat belts and putting our chairs in an upright position.

Yes, it feels a little like flying.

1 comment:

Erica said...

whoa, how has nobody commented on this post yet? I guess I'll be the first to throw in my $.02

As someone who's experienced the same phenomenon, I totally get where you're coming from. "Once burned, twice shy" ... of course you're going to be slightly more hesitant before you jump in this time.

But i think that's a good thing, and has no bearing on your relationship with Chris. It means that you've learned from your past experiences, and that you're thinking about it a lot.

And the best part? You feel ready to jump in!

Good luck in your apartment search! Can't wait to come visit both of you in your new apartment !!