21.1.04

Yesterday... well, ok, technically two days ago, on monday, I had a conversation with a friend of mine. She asked me about Chapter, what I like about her, and what initially attracted me to her; questions of the sort that I love to answer, but almost never get asked. I had, and usually have, much to say about Chapter. Somehow it doesn't get out on here, or in lots of places, because I usually leave it until when I am asked. I am like with most of the things I think about, I don't just come out and talk about them. The few things that I do are usually only half serious, or else they are so serious that they weigh on me until I speak them. I am incredibly lucky to have found someone such as Chapter, someone who I can become the best partner I can for, and who is willing to become the best partner for me. I don't honestly beleive you ever stumble onto someone who just happens to fit so well; I mean it happens to some degree, and then you "fall in love" and that gets the whole thing started, but after all that, you have to be willing to learn and grow. And as I brought this stuff out, speaking with my friend I realized that I had looked for some indications of this stuff, and other things, in a person, and that I had found them in Chapter. But I had reason for looking for these things, and it was not my great experience with relationships... in fact, Chapter was my first real relationship (there was one instance previous, kind of wierd, not a relationship thats for sure).

I lived in residence for a year before I met Chapter, 1.5 years before we started dating, and the two biggest things in a residence (besides just having fun, whatever that means for each individual) were dating and school. I saw so much crap in my first year in residence in the area of relationships, that even though I had never been in one myself, I knew a few things which I definitely wanted to avoid. To this day I consider those lessons that I am lucky to have learned second hand. And it is the subject of learning lessons second hand which this lengthy introduction was leading up to. Thats how I got to thinking about this anyway.

I think that I, and I don't say this in any kind of arrogant way (or I hope I don't), have picked up very well on learning things second hand. Certainly not everything, and there are many mistakes which I stubbornly insist on making for myself, but enough. I remember talking to one of my prof's about politics in institutions and organizations, and how change works and such. It was actually at the end of an oral exam, he brought up some specific situations and asked me what I would do. After I answered he looked at me and asked me how in the world I knew that, and had learned that at my age. To be honest, I learned it from reading fiction and thinking about stuff that happens in stories. Nothing profound or complex; and the answers I gave still ring true today. However in the last year and half, I have actually had to personally deal with this stuff (man, I am being so vague about so much of this that I wonder if its possible for you to follow?). I have found it very frustrating, I have made mistakes and had mistaken expectations, and while they are rightfully attributed to lack of experience and maturity, they also highlight some of the limits of second hand learning.

Where does this leave me? It leaves me at 2 in the morning thinking about this instead of sleeping, and writing about it to. Many people have commented on my maturity for my age; but I am not mature. If anything, I am second hand mature. That is, I have learned much from others, which is good and a wise thing to do, but I still lack most of the experiences that lead to deep and true maturity.

I had other stuff I was thinking about. Ideas about how we know ourselves, about how we treat ourselves, and about friends and relationships. I think I started by thinking about those, and was planning on writing something along those lines. oh well, another day. In 20 years you can ask me if I have grown up, and then I may tell you that I am merely immature.

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