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I've been in Charleston, SC celebrating my cousin's wedding. After my sister and me, he is the oldest of the cousins.

My sister got married a few years ago. I couldn't be happier for her. My brother-in-law is very much a part of my family, and feels like he has belonged with all of us for much longer than just the last few years. My cousin also appears to have found a good one, although I doubt I'll be seeing that much of him or her considering it's been 13 years since I saw him last.

I still know him as my little cousin, but he's in his late twenties, nearly the same age as the last few people I've dated. That means his friends were also, surprisingly, within my dating range, although I tended to think of them more as his little friends.

For the last few years, there's been this growing desperation to find my person and get on with the family-making part. I am adventurous, and children appear to be the next big adventure. There doesn't appear to be a try-before-you-buy option, but I'm still willing to go all in, provided I have the support of my partner.

... or possibly without it. Part of my motivation to move to the bay area was to be closer to family, so if I decided to solo it, I would have the support network in case I got sick or there was some emergency. Now that I have moved there, I've found a fresh crop of kindred spirits. With a new job, new living situation, new friends, and my ever-demanding hobbies, life feels much more in flux, so it eases some of impatience to start the next phase.

okcupid tells me there are many more people with a > 90% match in the area, which was getting harder to find in Austin. Dating is fresh again, in a sense.

Still, it continues to be frustrating.

My last relationship in Austin was with a shy friend who had opened up to me over the course of a year, still in the context of friendship, never seriously considering anything more. Then we had gotten drunk while dressed up as Santa Claus and discovered our potential with each other. But he is younger than me with far less dating experience, and while we became extremely attached to each other, he wasn't quite ready to jump into the unknown and scary world of parenting soon enough for me, or with enough certainty that it would eventually happen.

I made the difficult decision to call things off, quit my job, sold my house, and moved to California (after getting a new job). At the time I was dating someone who seemed ready to take the plunge with me with very little data, something I was becoming increasingly comfortable with.

"It's like an arranged marriage we arrange for ourselves!" California guy described.

It didn't work out. We were great together on paper (although only mid-70s match on OkCupid -- clearly it knows us better than we do), and we had decent physical chemistry. However, he didn't feel the emotional chemistry. Once we had tried to overcome this for long enough and I had weaned myself away from him, that ended, too.

Still, there was something appealing about jumping into things the way we did. We both had the long term goals and enough data behind us that we felt comfortable at least taking the risk. We joked about eloping even before we dated. From my end, I didn't buy into it right away, but came around whole-heartedly. He was open-minded about relationships! He wanted a family! He was smart, and funny, and ... adorable!

On his end, he was enamored of me right away. Perhaps his initial, lofty expectations set us up for failure. He put tremendous pressure on himself to feel a certain way when reality started catching up to us, and it probably sabotaged our chances.

Regardless, he was a catalyst that broke me out of complacency. I miss my Austin person, but I think the bay area is where I need to be, living less than fifteen minutes from my aging grandparents, who raised me when I was little.

I'm 33 now. I remember being 23 and can't imagine where the last decade went. I didn't learn a whole lot, and my stance of relationships hasn't changed so significantly, except for being more jaded perhaps.

Like all the years before, I still place all my hopes into the nearest promising relationship, only to be crushed by the next failure. After my major heartbreak four years ago, I'm not nearly as resilient anymore. Each loss feels a lot more personal, more evidence that I have no business seeking this out for myself.

My sister recommended I read "Marrying Anita", a story about an Indian girl exactly my age who grew up in the US and traveled back to India to find a husband after being jaded by her chances here. I sympathized a lot with her and it wound up being a bleak, discouraging read.

I was chatting with the cabbie on the way back from the wedding after-party. Listening to her story and contemplating how I had dropped the polyamory requirement altogether to look for something fairly normal, I lamented that ordinary things that were seemingly so easy for other people could be so hard sometimes.

She asked why I wasn't married. I paused to mull this over.

"I haven't met the right guy yet who also thought I was the right girl."

Here's to hoping that changes soon.
quixotic, don quixote

Epic Moment

My friend got diagnosed with breast cancer recently and she's relatively young (early 30s). She decided to have a "Kancer-oke" party last night, renting a suite with quite a few friends, as a way to stay upbeat.

When I walked in, she and a guy were singing "My Humps". There is a point in the song towards the end where he sings, "What are you going to do with all that breast, all that breast, all that breast?"

She stops and yells into the mic: "I'm going to cut it all off, jackass!"

The room erupted into laughter.
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