Not so very long ago, I merrily skipped off to work in the morning (okay. I drove. After all, it's forty miles away.). At the end of a full and productive day, I'd tear myself away and head home, my head full of all the great things that were possible all the way home.
Well that's over. For reasons I won't go into hear (suffice it to say that it has nothing to do with either the staff, clients, volunteers, mission, direction, or work of the Place of Employ), it's become pretty nightmarish. When I've filled a few colleagues in on the particulars, they were floored by what I had to tell them. So now, every morning, I get out of bed and manage to put one foot in front of the other and just not think too hard about what the day will bring to get myself down to the Place of Employ.
(When I heard on the radio this morning that Chase Utley has signed a seven year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, citing as reason that although he grew up in California, he really loves Philadelphia and considers himself to be a Philadelphian and this is where he wants to stay, I thought, "Chase, next season they're going to grind you to powder." This is a town, afterall, that loves to hate a loser. And if you come all fresh-faced and full of enthusiasm and hopes and dreams, they'll do their best to wipe that silly grin off your face soon enough. I think it has something to do with the fact that Philadelphians, deep in their hearts, feel that they've gotten the short shrift in some cosmic way.)
And there's the other thing, too. My New Year's Resolution. No romance in 2007.
I am amazed at how that has really taken off. That constant drumbeat... That Greek chorus of "seek-him-seek-him-seek-him" that I've pretty much heard unabated since I was a teenager has departed. Now, I'm open to the possibility, but I can't say I'm looking for it.
On my drive home tonight, mulling these two things over, I think I hit upon a Great Truth: It's not all about the dopamine.
Well, think about it. Dopamine, of course, is the neurochemical that, when it floods your brain, gives you feelings of pleasure and well-being. When you meet with some great success in your professional life, part of your reward is a shot of dopamine. And, along with oxytocin and serotonin, your cerebral cortex gets a nice dopamine bath when you fall in love.
But let's think about that.
It's just a molecule.
And, if it's really that important to you, you should know that you don't have to rely on the viscisitudes of happenstance to get a dose of it. Another molecule is available that just the exact same thing. It's called an opiate. And you can find it in heroin, morphine, and in the Percaset my doctor kindly provided me with when I was having my mouth problems a few weeks ago.
It's just a molecule.
And you can't organize your life around a molecule.
I had a nice time this past weekend up in NYC at the annual motorcycle show, hanging with the BMW guy I had a few dates with last year this time. It was sooooo cold. But at times, just relaxing into the cold, it felt bracing and envigorating. Unlike the cold I seem to have caught. (Yet again. What is this? The fourteenth cold of the season?) But, happily, my cold isn't making me feel bad particularly. I'm just breathing a different way. And then there's church. My Wednesday night Eucharist followed by "Adult Christian Formation" (Last week I lead the discussion on "The Early Church," and this week I'm leading the discussion on "The Church in the Middle Ages.). And lemme tell ya, I am having such a great time writing my gay werewolf romance. Since it's pretty clear that the guy that my hero, Gary, is infatuated with is, in fact, a werewolf--although that's not clear to Gary, blinded as he is with desire--the suspense comes from wondering just what the guy's intentions are. What's this going to do to Vic? Get it? Just like any budding relationship. The process of writing in this case is just like the process of reading: I can't wait to see what happens next! And, I am more aware than I have been in most of my adult life of those relationships that I have that I truly value. All the support and kindness and words of wisdom and sympathy that have been offered to me by some men I'm honored to call my friends. It's new for me to be the relier upon rather than the relied upon, but it brings me deep peace to know that I'm not in this alone. People who care about me are keeping me in their prayers.
Peace. Contentment. Delight.
Without that molecule, I'm doing alright.
It's not all about the molecule.