A Few weeks ago I flew to the US of A to surprise my sister and witness her girls
walk down graduation aisle to receive a piece of paper they’ve diligently worked
towards since pre-school. With two hours in my time bank, my first stop at the Atlanta
International Airport was the bookstore/souvenir shop. My attention was immediately
arrested by the bright green packaging of some wonderfully, synthetically yummy
new Starburst sour liquid filled gummies. But then, I thought of my mom who always
had almonds with some sweet accompaniment (dark chocolate or cranberry/cherry bits)
in her purse, just in case she didn’t have time between appointments to eat properly.
I looked at the trail mix, nixed it for its look-a-like m&ms and then the smoked
almonds, which I inherited as a first choice. But then I spotted, on its own hook,
a packet of dark chocolate roasted almonds. I had to have them. I checked them out,
along with a Newsweek (Oprah on the cover) and The Art of War.
I kept walking. I could afford to engage the menu at “Seattle’s Best” at my leisure.
I don’t live in America. In Israel, the most sophisticated blended coffee drinks
consist of vanilla bean, chocolate, and a Chai latte on occasion. So it took several
long breaths to begin internalizing the huge menu on the wall. I caught sight of
“Raspberry Mocha Kiss”. My first thought was: “who thinks up these coffee concoctions
that, at first glance, don’t even seem to make much sense?” But at that moment I
stopped any further reflective effort and simply decided: this is what has caught
my eye, this is what I’m going to try. These constituted my initial interactions,
stepping on home tile, right after which my chest felt like a momentary waterbed,
when the immigration officer looked at my customs form and said, “Welcome home”.
In Tel Aviv coffee houses, coffee still tastes like coffee. What is the source of
these domestic background flavors? Are we so flooded with choice that it has impeded
our capacity to choose? Or do we want it all, deny the need to choose just one,
and feel relieved an alternative exists packing all sorts of flavors together? Is
the nut the new wine? Has coffee become a virtual meal or an orchard of aroma?
I come into contact with people who have cultivated careers of all types, women
and men who are excellent at their jobs and, sometimes because of that, can’t understand
why they aren’t meeting the person of their dreams. Is it possible that balsamic
vinegar potato-chips, Vitamin infused Coca Cola and mint flavored cashews lead us
to believe that any combination is possible? And while I don’t deny that it does
wonders for ad campaigns, and even reeducates our palettes, do we want to live reading
emails during lunch and updating our calendars during sex? How far are we taking
the concept of blending and multi-tasking, and are we possibly confusing that with
flexibility? Also, what influence does this socially condoned behavior have on our
subconscious expectations of human relations?
I am an undiscriminating fan of progress. I also believe that there are times to
laugh and times to cry and, while I harbor a trivial appreciation for Comical Defensive
Driving and aerobic stripping I marvel at the myriad of combinations available,
and enjoy wondering which works for whom. I’m not here to defend an Asian fusion
meal over one at a Country steakhouse, rather, to prod us to that place where we
break things down, take a good look at what we want, and examine the actions we
take to get ourselves there. If you want a loving relationship, what difference
does it make that you’re a Wall Street guru? What are the traits you possess that
contribute to and create a caring dynamic?
A lot of us, including myself, forget that bullet point inundated résumés count
for something far beyond those typed lines of achievement. Tenacity and commitment
are desirable qualities, but the question all of us résumé holders must ask is,
committed to what? Certainly one may possess ambition, perseverance and strength
that may even be evident across a wide spectrum of résumé entries and constitute
fruits of the undocumented resulting circumstances. Even the things that are handed
to us, like brains, innate attributes, social skills – without their cultivation
we won’t achieve a fraction of what we are capable of achieving. What I want to
say is that just because you are competent in one area doesn’t mean you don’t have
to invest in others. If you want a relationship and don’t have it, it is essential
to ask yourself why. No one else can answer this question, only you, with your own
molecular construction of strengths and weaknesses that make you YOU.
I have spoken to a fair amount of people who would like to be in a relationship
and are not currently in one, and the level of desperation appears proportional
to their own lack of personal responsibility. It’s either “there are no normal ones
left” or, alternately, “who would want to date her?” I heard this response from
a 40+ year old man, who was vying for this particular woman’s phone number, and
once he heard the age of the 39-year-old who politely refused to exchange phone
numbers, his choking grip on the specter of age allowed him to verbalize that no
one would wish to date a gorgeous exotic-accented 5’8” blond, because of it.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that while combinations reside on the agendas
of probably any product or service that can be complexly marketed to make our lives
easier and more conveniently integrated, why not exercise personal discretion in
our own emotional lives to determine what is feasible and what is not? Everything
we wish to achieve takes an amount of dedication. And most of us can attest that
often the more satisfying achievements are those we have invested in.
I had an interesting realization recently. I decided that the kind of matchmaker
I wish to be is one who understands, enables openness, authenticity and honesty,
while creating an easy-going and flowing environment. But this collided with my
auto-pilot aversion to anyone who sounds off their personal grocery list comprised
of purely external demands. I used to think to myself, “Why is it that this decent
but not so gorgeous looking guy, expects to attract runway model material (except
that she has to be petite, because he’s rather small in stature) and refuses to
meet a slew of girls for even an hour?” I had to shine a heavy light on my blind
spot before I could take one more step as a professional who cares about the best
interests of my clients unconditionally. And I have. I recently had the pleasure
of answering an email from someone (else) expecting physical perfection (along with
cooking and baking skills). I found myself leaving my own judgments and hang-ups
aside, and looking forward to a time we would meet for an interview and try to reach
what lies at the root of his attraction. Attraction is an extremely important component
of a relationship. I’d go so far to say the backbone of a good beginning. Why not
value this person’s commitment to attraction rather than instinctively deride it?
Only in my own transformation may I be the vehicle or channel I envision. I often
ask myself why people look for reasons to break deals rather than foster a sense
of community. Why not look for reasons to get to know someone rather than concentrating
on why you shouldn’t? I also sometimes wonder whether people want what they say
they want – or whether they really want the result of what they perceive others
to have. I am not new to this phenomenon. I know my share of people who are frustrated
because they want the kinds of relationships - be it parent-child, romantic or work
- which they perceive another enjoys. And the key word here is perceive because,
generally, such specimens have no clue of the work and unrelenting commitment it
took to sow, nurture, tend and protect that relationship before the fruits could
be reaped. And, even then, those who see the result not only desire it, but expect
to match it.
When I sense that immediate gratification outweighs effort one is willing to expend,
I humbly whisper: “almonds do not grow on trees already chocolate-coated.” Not even
About Tobye Adar:
Tobye Adar is a resident of Tel Aviv and has made aliya to Israel from the United
States 15 years ago. She served in the Israeli Air Force, acquired an LL.B, MBA
and MA in Creative Writing. She is the founder and operator of TobyeAdar.com. She
is inspired by the clients she meets and developing opportunities for people to
meet and fall in love is for her a great source of contentment.
But the clock is ticking
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