The List

Credit: xkcd

My friend and teammate says to me, “do you make a habit of spending your birthdays on planes… after breakups?

It’s only the second time.

It’s really how the dates worked out. With the timezone change, it means my birthday is going to last for 40 hours… I can celebrate on two continents! In two hemispheres.

It is also a way of completely ignoring it, should I decide to go that route. Sadly the dates didn’t work out for me to just skip that day, pretend it never happened, and have a do-over of being 26 (related: I won’t be experiencing April 12th this year, let me know if anything good happens).

Then, another friend and I were talking about “The List”. The list of requirements for your next partner, that you make after a breakup. Specifically it tends to include characteristics about your ex that you think were key to why you broke up, and if that one thing had been different, maybe it would have all worked out and everything would be hunky dory.

Over the course of my dating life I have put on the list: physicists, computer scientists (this one soon got removed, given the circles I move in it’s pretty much signing up for celibacy), men whose mothers don’t have careers, men whose parents are extremely religious, men who are religious themselves, grad students…

As our conversation progresses, I realize that the list is complete bollocks.

It’s trying to distill what failed and what we learned into a couple of characteristic, like if we could just find the intersection of all our desirable characteristics and exclude all the undesirable ones, there would be our perfect match.

Even if this strategy led us to someone, I can’t help but think we’d probably find ourselves in the pool of people they had eliminated.

Anyway, I’m chucking out my list. I’m just going to be Cate. Go places that I like to go, do things that I like to do, and keep adventuring. I’m sure love will follow – possibly with a religious physicist (although it seems unlikely that I would meet one), but maybe just with life and the world. Which sounds a bit soppy for me, but let me off. I will be spending my birthday on a plane, afterall.



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