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Sam Dobson Writes: November 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Relationship 411: Time, Love, and Taboo

     Time is one of the more frustrating aspects of life, something we cannot control. We cannot pause our life when we need a break. There is no rewinding back to happier times, nor are we able to fast forward through the tough parts. Time can be fleeting, leaving you grasping for one more precious moment. Time can be abundantly annoying, causing boredom and restlessness. Time brings amazing moments and heart-wrenching grief. The only thing consistent about our time as humans is that it ends. This is a known fact. So why is it, that so much time is wasted? Everyone is guilty of it, whether it be a few wasted moments here and there, or a lifetime of waste. Even the tiniest fractions of time hold infinite amounts of potential. Every moment is an opportunity for passion, kindness, adventure, excitement, heartache, sorrow, thrill, danger, and love. 
     The common cliché, “live in the moment” is often spoken but rarely practiced. Humans, especially Americans, live a life constrained by rules regarding time. We have deadlines and appointments. So much time is spent doing the strenuous and mundane. Many would argue that a great deal of our time is spent on love and passion. This may be true, but how freely can we love and share passion when there are so many rules involving time. Social views play a strict role in the way we share ourselves with each other. There is a whole industry dedicated to telling us how to manage our relationships. Millions of dollars are spent on books, movies, talk shows, counseling, and seminars, all claiming to possess the answers to relationship problems, offering advice, and issuing guidelines.

Relationships and Time Advice

      While the rules regarding time and relationships fill our heads, conflict usually sets up camp in our hearts. These relationship taboos change our behavior and keep us constantly on our toes. We might turn away on the first date, when really we want to go in for that first kiss. We wait three days to call while fighting to not pick up the phone. We dwell on what is the appropriate number of dates before we give “it” up. Any one who has been in love, or at least infatuation, can tell you that all this fretting is very exhausting. The plus side to this nonstop analyzing: these rules regarding love and time help to keep us grounded. The taboos keep us from jumping too quickly, putting out too early, and getting too vulnerable too early in the relationship.
      So how do we find the right balance between restraint and freedom? When is it too early to get engaged and when has it been so long that we are dragging our feet? Those are the questions that everyone seems to have an opinion about. However, I would argue that all of these taboos and rules are personal. What I would consider too fast would be just the right pace for many others. What some might consider promiscuous, others would argue its just a little fun. Some relationships are monogamous and some are polygamous. Who is to say what is the right way or the right pace?

       I guess when it comes down to it, we each have to do what feels right for us. If you want to kiss on the first date, you shouldn’t have to dwell on it or explain yourself. The trick is to adjust society’s rules and taboos regarding relationships and time to fit your own life. In the end, you have to find happiness with the decisions you make. Sometimes, letting yourself fall head over heals can be the beginning of the rest of your life. Sometimes, cautiousness pays off. Those are the gambles we take in the game of love. We should stop worrying so much about what others perceive of our relationships. Life is short, time forever fleeting. Take the chances you are willing to take and always remember that life (and love) is what you make it.
Until next time,


Friday, November 18, 2011

For the Love of Reading

I love being involved in a book club. It might sound nerdy or even unappealing to some. Being an English major, all I did was read for four years of college. Since I’ve graduated, there has been no driving force to keep me reading. You might think that if I truly loved to read that I wouldn’t need a driving force. After graduation, it was nice to have a little break from reading and writing papers. Then life crept in and I sort of forgot about my favorite escape: reading. My girlfriends had organized a book club during my first semester of my last year of college. My required reading load was far too heavy and simply wouldn’t allow room to read other material. No longer being consumed by literature such as Elizabethan poetry, I was free to start participating in our book club.

The book club is a great discipline for people like me who love to read but sometimes forget to make time for it during a busy schedule. When I make time for my favorite pastime, I find myself pleasantly surprised at how much I love to read. It is the best escape, allowing you to remove yourself from your own reality for a bit. A book club gives you that extra motivation to just turn off the television and curl up with your book. Not only does a book club offer you that little bit of discipline, but it can also open your mind to new material.

We take turns picking the book that we are all to read and then discuss. Although we are best friends, we do all have a varied taste in literature. Jena prefers the gut-wrenching memoirs of anorexic girls and drug attics. Devin often finds herself reading the “critically acclaimed” novels. Emily seems to like a bit of everything, which is how I would describe my own selection of books. While the classics will always be just that, I can also let myself get completely involved in somewhat embarrassing teenage love novels about vampires. At the other end of the spectrum, I love a good drama and just about any memoir will hold my attention. That is the beauty of literature…there are so many roads to take. There are countless stories to dive into.

Some would argue that television and movies offer the same sort of escape. While I would agree that movies and cheap reality dramas do offer a bit of an escape from reality for viewers, I would also argue that it is a much different experience than the kind of escape reading offers. Reading takes effort and concentration. A good book can last you days, weeks, even months, depending on what kind of reader you are. With reading, you are forced to take yourself out of your comfort zones and really picture the words coming off the pages. You also have a bit of freedom with reading. There isn’t a beautiful model on the page as there is on television; there are descriptions that you can piece together yourself. There is a method and a reason as to why almost any woman reading a Twilight or Sookie Stackhouse novel can picture herself as the heroine. Reading allows for a more real-feeling escape. Our minds create what we read.

Having argued my opinions about reading to the point of babbling, I find it fitting to end with this Dr. Seuss quote:
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”