12 Months/52 Weeks/365 Days/8765 Hours/525948 Minutes/31556926 Seconds

First let me establish the baseline: self induced. There is nothing following this sentence that is forced upon me.

A year ago (or darn tooting close) I decided to break things off with my ex-girlfriend. The sinking feeling in my heart, the uneasy deja vu of past relationships, etc. What followed from that point forward was a sabbatical from all that was dating related. Let me define being single, single is not having a person to call to see what “we” are doing this weekend. Sure there have been a few lunches and dinners, but never did I allow myself to put forth the pretence of seriousness. And why?

For the first time in years I decided to cool it off. I threw myself (even more so) into work and explored who Nick was. After all this time I learned a few things. I am a geek so hold tight for the list:

1. Celibacy

Yes I wrote it. What I learned was that Priests have it figured out. Without the clout of such things, the world is clear. With some training and discipline it is possible to turn portions of your brain off. Moving beyond the “oooh shiny!” world of dating allows you to truly connect with someone before the dive into more than that.

2. Friday Nights

I will admit it, there are Fridays that suck. Then again there are Mondays that suck. What I decided to do was move from selling myself to improving myself. You would be surprised what a years worth of Friday night workouts can do for your abs and mile times. I consider this my time of restoration, like an old Chevy lost in the field I am rebuilding the engine. We devout so much of ourselves in a relationship that it is important to change the oil. I changed my oil.

3. Caves

Wandering in the desert sure did Moses right. The monks of the Early Church put themselves in places where only God could speak to them. In a way I did also. My friends will vouch that I have been a blackhole for calls and emails. The reason is that I needed to cut it off, everything. Fixing what is broke means focusing on just that, the broke.

Great, a list of 3 things I did right! Time to segway into what I did wrong.

1. Satisfaction

There is only so much gleaned satisfaction from working hard. I kick ass at what I do and am proud of what God’s blessings have allowed me to do. There is a diminishing return though on time vs. work. You reach a point where the hours simply do not provide for the same satisfaction. I regularly push that boundary (148 hours last 2 weeks)

2. Connections

Here is where I know I can never be a Priest or monk, I yearn for human contact. Not just the touch of a hand or a smile…personal connections where true emotions are shared. This comes in many forms, but the simple act of sharing life feeds my soul. A lack of connection with people forces me to become docile. Wits and smarts aside, my attacks and plans are dulled by no sharpness. Man sharpens Man and I truly believe that. Without someone there to challenge you in anyway you fail to progress. Running against yourself keeps you consistent, but running with a friend makes you excel.

3. Focus

I loose my focus. There, I said it and will admit to being less focused as a hermit. In my past I have gazed upon married men with such pity as I knew they had little time to advance their skills and knowledge. Wife and kids take time away from what was once filled with hacking on code. What has happened over the past year is I have lost focus. Lost focus on much more than simply computers, but  life in general. Confessions, adoration, Mass, family, friends, etc. When a photographer takes pictures he doesn’t start with the closest shot. Rather, he first starts from afar and bore-sights the thing he truly needs to capture. This ability to see beyond the shot means options are open.

What is next? There is the million dollar question. After a years worth of single I have to admit I am indifferent to it. Recognizing that being single is just as much work as being someone’s better half has helped me realize that I am okay either way. The past year has been filled with ups and downs, joy and sorrow, and a lot of learning. At the end of the day I no longer need someone there. That is the biggest change in my life. What was once a requirement is now a nice to have. Rather than looking for a mate like one searches for water in the desert, I now search for a mate like a coffee junkie at Starbucks. The possibilities are endless and Lord knows I enjoy a good cup of java. So that is next, the next cup, the next drop, the next perfect steamy cup of java. Frankly I have made it this long and I am willing to wait for perfection.