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2021-02-18 08:33:43 (UTC)

Birthday 2021

Personal entry follows.

This is a message I wrote to my penpal. Today is my birthday.


Ahoj, [friend]--

It seems like it's been so long since I last wrote to you that I've been preoccupied with wanting to write you for the past few days. I hope you are doing well, and enjoying the extra time with your children while at home. Did things go all right at the dentist? Has schooling been going all right with your kids?

This morning, I was about to leave to travel to the office, and there were sheets of ice coming down. So I will be working from home today. A pot of coffee is on, and I'm eyeing a couple oranges. And yes, it is my birthday today. I don't celebrate it or pretty much any holidays anymore - and a birthday certainly isn't a holiday anyway - though I still find it a useful day for contemplating and thinking about the future. Another friend of mine passed along birthday wishes very early this morning, so they were the first thing I'd seen this morning as I started my routine.

Regarding contemplation, reflection, and thinking on the future... Just yesterday a deck of "conversation cards" arrived in the post, and I figured I could look at one randomly, and share my thoughts with you as a way to kick off my birthday before the work day begins. I hope you don't find it too dreadfully boring. :)

I'm picking out a card at random. The question is: "What is the relationship, if any, between intellectual and/or emotional intimacy on the one hand, and physical intimacy on the other?"

There's a saying that quickly comes to mind: "Well, that escalated quickly, didn't it?" I hope subjects like these don't make you uncomfortable. I'll share anyway, and let the chips fall where they may.

Personally, I find a shift between these two priorities occurring as I grow older. I feel like I've had plenty of sex in my life. Most of it was good, some of it was really great. However, those aren't the things that I find the most memorable, or the most gratifying. It's almost as if physical intimacy is a more-fleeting kind of good, while a heartfelt, intimate conversation with someone who enjoys being around you seems a much more enduring kind of good in life.

Maybe I'm saying this because I'm older and - while far from being disabled - the experience of being hit by a car at age 40 and still feeling chronic pain from that event has rattled me in a physical way that hasn't been cured, and I'm doubtful it ever will be. I imagine I will be living with chronic pains for the rest of my life, and that overshadows all my physical exploits: closeness with others, exercise, and even something as elementary as a good night's sleep (which I think is a lot better than sex most of the time, believe it or not!).

This wasn't really the question, I realize. What they are asking is not which type I feel is more important, but rather what is the relationship between the two. So in this case, I feel as though a first, innocent moment of physical intimacy can open the door to both greater intellectual/emotional intimacy, as well as more intense, more memorable physical intimacy. That first time you and your partner's hands brush together, the first embrace, the first kiss... These physical actions usher in more trust, deeper conversations, more honesty, and moments of more intense/meaningful physical intimacy.

To share even more of my opinion: I think that this relationship between these types of intimacy isn't being cultivated so strongly anymore, or maybe it never really was. Speaking only from my own personal experience, the women I've dated in the past several years had connections with this kind of intimacy quite different from me. I felt like I had been rushed into physical intimacy too quickly than my personal tastes would allow. I didn't feel as though "I was ready" to have sex with the last two women I dated, both in 2020. In one case, the woman accused me of not being physically attracted to her.

Maybe I'm just the one who has a strange relationship with these various intimacies. At the same time, I don't feel bad or ashamed about having what I see as personal boundaries. While I wouldn't judge someone else for not having the same, I don't find it worthwhile to compromise my own boundaries for someone else's gratification. I've found that dealing with situations where my boundaries are being tested or I feel I'm being pressured into physical intimacy when I don't want to go for it just makes me anxious and uncomfortable anyway.

Apparently, this means I'll stay alone and lonely. :)

...I'll stop there, I guess. Maybe this isn't the kind of conversation you're expecting to be in with me, and if that's the case I apologize. Personally, I'm just blaming the cards...! Seriously though, I hope you don't mind. Of course, you are welcome to reply in kind if you'd like. There are nearly 200 questions in this deck of cards, so if this is something you might like to do regularly, let me know and I can share another one for my next message.

In any case, take care [friend]! I hope to hear from you as soon as you have the time and interest in writing.