(Taking a break starting Feb 15) Dancing, downhill skiing, windsurfing, kite-boarding, catamaran, whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, and cuddling. I'm looking for a frolicking relationship full of laughter, passion, tenderness and productivity, coupled with a willingness to plunge, individually and together, into the fiery furnace of life experiences to then craft ourselves and our relationship under the hammer and anvil of intensely honest conversation and introspection, challenging ourselves and each other to be extraordinary people and an exceptional couple.
I don’t really know what to write. The complex essence of an individual, which is readily apparent when you meet in person, is difficult to convey and perceive through written words alone, but that complex essence is fundamental to gauging the potential of a relationship opportunity. So, I'm going to write a bunch here so you ladies can hopefully get a sense of whether this is a cheeseless tunnel or not.
Before elaborating on my opener, above, I’ll comment on some things that are likely on your checklist, but before that, I’ll share a quote that I came across about 12 years ago, and it still conveys my general perspective, better than anything else I’ve found or conceived.
To have lived well, laughed often and loved much;
To have gained the respect of intelligent people and the love of children;
To have filled a niche and accomplished a task;
To have left the world better -- whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
To have appreciated earth's beauty and not failed to express it;
To have looked for the best in others, and to have given the best of yourself.
That is achievement.
By Robert Louis Stevenson
Modified by Blain Cellars (The word “people” was “men” in the original.)
First question is likely, how come your first marriage didn't last? Followed by, how come you're still available?
Short courtship, (perhaps a conspiracy of improbabilities, Chopra) then proposed to & married a lady that was great in a lot of ways, but had a difficult childhood. Mental health issues like borderline personality disorders were totally off this farm boy's radar. A difficult 7-year marriage where nothing seemed to work, but that I was prepared to endure for the children’s sake, then a nightmare divorce.
The reason I’m still available is that I then focused my time and energy (span style="font-weight:bold;")on being a single dad and starting a not-for-profit agency that helps families going through separation and divorce. (I thought maybe I could do something constructive with the horrible experience, and since I was an electrical engineer, a lot training had to be undertaken, including a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.) My sons are now 19 and 17, and the Canadian Co-Parenting Centres is on the cusp of becoming less totally dependent on me to do everything. (If you can't connect with me through here, I'm okay with you doing it through the other means. I won't think you're a stalker or anything.)
Things that are probably on your checklist:
Romantic, caring, sensitive, intimate, ……”I don’t want a man I can live with. I want a man, that I can’t live without.” (I think I could be that kind of guy for someone, but I don’t know if it’s possible to convey in writing something like that. That challenge is compounded by the conundrum of remaining humble and modest, while adequately promoting oneself.)
Financially responsible – I’m frugal, but not cheap or tight. I keep track of all my expenses, but don’t need to constrain myself to a rigid budget. I’ve never had a car loan or any personal debt other than a mortgage. (One exception, the roughly $180,000 of debt accumulated during my divorce, but that wasn’t by choice.) Prior to getting married in 1993 we bought a small fixer upper house, for $82,000 with only $5,000 down. I paid off the mortgage in 3.5 years, on a $40,000/yr salary, during which time we also got married and started a family. In 1999 we had a nice, 2-story house with no mortgage, we still had the original old house as a rental property, we had a ski condo on the mountain at Fernie, and a 0.9 acre lakefront property on Lake Pond Oreille. We had a net worth of about $400,000. By the time the divorce was over, all of the properties had been sold, and I had a net debt of $180,000. I was $180,000 poorer than the beggars on the street, but I was a dad. My kids were going to be with me half of the time, and that was more valuable than anything. Since then, I’ve managed to pay my parents back, with interest, bought a house and have paid off the mortgage, and I have 2 rental properties. It’s hard to believe that I did it, given that my income was so low during the ordeal, but I was able to cut my living expenses to a ridiculously low level, and I seem to get blessed with opportunities and am able to take advantage of them.
Parenting – This has been the thing I enjoyed more than anything, and I think I was pretty good at it. I was always very involved. My ex would sit on the bench at the playground and talk to a stranger. I was always in the playground, with the kids, fully engaged. Whenever there was an issue to be addressed, I took the long-term view, and I would invest as much time and attention as needed to address the matter fully, knowing that the effort expended now would pay dividends over and over again in the future.
Handyman – I can do pretty much anything. I can weld, fix cars, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, ….
Charitable – I have foregone an engineer’s salary for 12 years, and instead gone back to school for mediation training and a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, and started a not-for-profit agency that helps families going through separation and divorce avoid the nightmare that was imposed on me and my family. I gave up roughly $1.2 million in salary, in exchange for $40,000. My kids still think I’m crazy, but Noah’s kids probably thought he was crazy at first too.
Family – My parents are still married. Their relationship isn’t perfect, but it’s very solid, and my relationship with each of them is very good. I have one sibling, an identical twin brother that lives in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Testimony – I joined the church in April 2011. The missionaries had been working on me for about 4 years, off and on. I’m the only member in my family. My spiritual journey is too long to write here, but I’ll share a quote from Brigham Young that was pivotal in my decision to be baptized. “It is our duty and calling, as ministers of the same salvation and Gospel, to gather every item of truth and reject every error. Whether a truth be found with professed infidels, or with the Universalists, or the Church of Rome, or the Methodists, the Church of England, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Quakers, the Shakers, or any other of the various and numerous different sects and parties, all of whom have more or less truth, it is the business of the Elders of this 6 (Jesus, their Elder Brother, being at their head) to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation, to the Gospel we preach, to mechanism of every kind, to the sciences, and to philosophy, wherever it may be found in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and bring it to Zion.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.248) I don’t know much about string theory, but I find it fascinating and it’s one place I’d like to do more prospecting for “truths”. (I’m not really a fan of the expression “true '/ truths”.)
Health and fitness – I’m in good health and reasonably good fitness. I used to be like an international weight standard, without even trying, and although I’ve never been fat, I have to be somewhat mindful to avoid creeping up 5 or 10 pounds.
Other – I’m fairly right wing in my political thinking, I can cook, I’m a little musical (bass guitar and banjo), I don’t snore, I like to travel (rather stay in an amazing little village than a 5 star hotel), I like science and philosophy, integrity is a character trait that should be maintained at all cost, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits are great, I’m willing to relocate, and the toilet seat will always be down,
Now, I’ll break down my opener with some more detail. Dancing, downhill skiing, windsurfing, kite-boarding, catamaran, white-water kayaking, rock climbing, and cuddling. I’ll elaborate, because just because two people both like to _______, doesn’t mean it’s something that they’ll be able to immediately do together, at a common level.
Dancing – I like country dancing (including polka’s) and jiving. I’m pretty good, relative to the masses. I’m pretty poor, relative to people who have taken a lot of lessons. I took a few ballroom dance lessons about 20 years ago, but about all I can remember is the cha-cha, and only a couple moves. I’d be willing to get better, if that’s what was wanted.
Downhill skiing – I like it steep and deep. Bottomless powder. I’m a little more cautious on my cliff jumping than I used to be. I’ve done some backcountry skiing, and loved it, but I’m not keen on the uphill part. I haven’t gone skiing very often in the last 12 years, but would like to get back to going 10 – 20 times per season. If I could afford it, I’d do cat-skiing or heli-skiing, and will likely get cabin again. (Last one was sold during the divorce.) If you can keep up, or set the pace, that would be fantastic. If we just do a few cruising runs together then do our own thing, that’s fine, and if you prefer to read a book in the lodge or stay home or in the cabin, that could be workable.
Windsurfing – The windier the better. My favourite board is a 6’6” custom fibreglass board. If it’s windy enough for my 4.4m sail, I’m happy. If it’s windy enough for my 3.2m sail, I’m lovin’ it! I can’t do barrel rolls or anything, but I was getting fairly consistent with my jibes. If you can water start and ride a slalom board or better, then I definitely want to meet you. If you’ve never windsurfed before and don’t want to start, that would be fine. It’s a hard thing to learn.
Kite-boarding – I’ve never done this but want to soon. I’m sure I’ll be ditching my slalom board and big sails as soon as I do.
Catamaran – I’ve got a yellow Hobie 16. I bought it used several years ago, when I couldn’t afford it, but I’ve wanted one ever since I tried it, about 25 years ago. I’ve got an older motorboat too, for water-skiing, when there’s no wind.
White-water kayaking – I started this about 3 years ago, when my youngest son became interested in it. I haven’t gone out very often, so I’m not very good yet, but I can usually roll back upright. We have play-boats. I’m still terrible at surfing.
Rock climbing – I never did a lot of this, but I liked it. I tried paragliding once, and that was great. It would sure beat walking back down the mountain.
Cuddling – I think pretty much everyone likes this, and it’s a pretty easy thing to learn and get good at.
I should add that I also like co-ed team sports like slowpitch, soccer, and volleyball. I also like playing hockey, but haven’t for years, other than coaching my sons when they played. While all this might seem like a lot, I don’t let it monopolize my life.
With respect to the second sentence, that’s going to be more difficult to provide insight into, which is unfortunate, because that’s where the good stuff is. If we ever meet, you’ll come to know what I was trying to convey. For now, I’ll start with honesty.
Honesty – For me, this doesn’t simply mean not lying. For example, if someone asks, what’s wrong? The all too typical answer of, nothing, usually isn’t honest. I think honesty is the cornerstone of relationships. It’s the bedrock that supports everything else. Honesty includes expressing your thoughts and feelings, without having to be asked. Be forthcoming and proactive. This includes initiating or partaking in difficult conversations, rather than avoiding them. If this trait is paramount to you, then great. If you think you’ll struggle to live up to this level in all your relationships, then sorry, this is a deal breaker/maker.
Other – I really value thoughtful criticism, and I seek out views that are contrary to my own. My thoughts and perspectives are either strengthened and more refined, or flaws are exposed, leading to refinements or complete changes. You wouldn’t need to do this to the same extent, but you would need to be receptive to feedback and be willing to make changes and improvements at times. While I understand that it’s important to be willing to accept people for who they are, it’s also important for people to not hide behind that as rationale (excuse really) for not making changes and t-weight:bold;")improvements.(br (span="" style="background-color:yellow;")/)
What you might hate about me – I’m able(/SPAN) to get along with just about anyone, and for the most part, I’m confident that I can be a partner that’s easy to get along with, except for one thing. I like to constantly refine and improve myself and my abilities, and I appreciate the value of constantly refining and improving a relationship. At times, the attention to details, and striving for perfection, may become somewhat annoying, or seem overly demanding. I’m not relentless on these things, but I’m sure I press harder than most. While I’m willing to be accommodating, I won’t give this up. Extra effort, attention to details, striving for perfection, and creativity are what create all of the most amazing things around us. Of all the amazing things I want to create, an amazing life-long relationship is at the top of the list. (Kids are second, because with them, there’s only so much that the craftsman can do. The rest is outside of his/her control.)
“….what a wonderful world. Oh, ya.”