love

Life Lessons in your 40s

Curated by CLAI

I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought. They can’t see the distant shore anymore, and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their spouses, and they go looking for an easier story.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller

Mt. Rainier, Washington

Mt. Rainier (Photo: Christine Lai, 2014)

LIFE LESSONS IN YOURS 40S: By your 40s, you don’t want to be with the cool people; you want to be with your people.

  • There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.
  • There are no soul mates. In fact, “soul mate” isn’t a pre-existing condition. It’s an earned title. They’re made over time. In my 20s someone told me that each person has not one but 30 soul mates walking the earth. (“Yes,” said a colleague, when I informed him of this, “and I’m trying to sleep with all of them.”)
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How to Fall in Love + Sideburns and Mustaches

Curated by CLAI

HOW TO FALL IN LOVE IN AN EXPERIMENT: Given a few commonalities, you could fall in love with anyone by creating interpersonal closeness. Saying things like, “I like your voice, your taste in beer, the way all your friends seem to admire you,” makes certain positive qualities belonging to one person explicitly valuable to the other.

Love is an action. It assumes that what matters to my partner matters to me because we have at least three things in common, because we have close relationships with our mothers, and because he let me look at him. Love doesn’t happen to us. We’re in love because we each make the choice to be.

Chart: The decline of sideburns and the spectacular rise of clean-shave men

The decline of sideburns and the spectacular rise of clean-shave men (American Journal of Sociology)

DECLINE OF SIDEBURNS, BEARDS, & MUSTACHES: To analyze changing modes in men’s facial barbering” from 1842 to 1972, the pictorial news magazine “The Illustrated London News” that featured mostly prominent British gentlemen was used. The men in the photos featured beards, moustaches, sideburns, any combination of those, or were clean-shaven.

Is Love Destiny or a Journey? Does Your Life Have Purpose?

Curated by CLAI

LOVE DESTINY OR JOURNEY? Do you see love as a union of two people who are destined to be together? Or is it more of a journey they undertake, facing obstacles and working together to overcome them? According to new research, how you answer these questions may affect how you handle relationship troubles.

  • Those who believe in ‘destiny’ put less effort into working through relationship conflict. If they are soul mates, then nothing will go wrong in the relationship, and it will be easy. A conflict makes a destiny-believer question whether the current partner is actually their soul mate, and then they give up on working it out.
  • There are two mind-sets — a fixed mind-set, which occurs when someone believes that personal qualities like intelligence are immutable, and a growth mind-set, which occurs when someone believes that skills and characteristics can be cultivated through effort.

 

Love lock

Love lock (NYTIMES)

LIFE PURPOSE & LONGEVITY: People with a sense of purpose had a 15% lower risk of death, compared with those who said they were more or less aimless. And it didn’t seem to matter when people found their direction. It could be in their 20s, 50s or 70s.

  • It could be as simple as making sure one’s family is happy. It could be bigger, like contributing to social change. It could be more self-focused, like doing well on the job. Or it could be about creativity: produce something that is appreciated in written or artistic form, whether it’s music, dance or visual arts.
  • A sense of purpose may protect people against stress with all of its harmful effects, including greater risk of heart disease. And that may explain why people with a sense of purpose live longer.

Single in Washington, DC? At Least DC Men & Women Are Equal (on TV)

Curated by CLAI

GREAT DC LOVE DEBATE: 71% of D.C. residents are single, and that’s certainly not all by choice. “There seems to be a lot of great men and a lot of great women and they seem to not want to be single. And yet for some reason, there seem to be more of them than ever.”

  • Why are people single? Are women crazy gold-diggers and men commitment-phobic players?
  • Life coaches talk of how to change your at-ti-tude, live in the moment and stop treating dates as “spouse-hunting safaris.”
  • The D.C. dating scene is more focused on relationship status than substance: “I think people have way too many agendas and don’t know how to live life. They just want the title — married, engaged, in a relationship, somebody loves me.

 

Powerful DC Women

From left: Keri Russell, devious K.G.B. spy on “The Americans”; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, beltway egotist on “Veep”; Kerry Washington, home wrecker on “Scandal”; and Robin Wright, icy schemer on “House of Cards.” Credit Craig Blankenhorn/FX; Lacey Terrell/HBO; Danny Feld/ABC; Nathaniel Bell for Netflix (NYTIMES)

GENDER EQUALITY IN DC? There is gender equality of a kind in Washington. On television, it’s the one place where it’s safe to say that women are as bad as the men.

Divorcing Faith, Women, and Relationships

Curated by CLAI

LOVE & WOMEN: Love consists of overestimating the difference between one woman and another. – George Bernard Shaw

RELATIONSHIPS AS JOBS: Relationships are hard. It’s like a full-time job, and we should treat it like one. If your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to leave you, they should give you two weeks’ notice. There should be severance pay and before they leave you, they should have to find you a temp. – Bob Ettinger

Jewish Divorce

Jewish Divorce (Patrick Leger, NYTIMES)

JEWISH DIVORCE: I stayed inside. I followed the rules. I got engaged at the age of 22, after a blind date and a dozen weeks of dating. I was a senior in college, he in law school. We were of the same world, and fell quickly, easily in love. Nowhere was there room to say, I don’t yet know myself, let alone you.

Years later, the people who had shouted “mazel tov” at our wedding asked “What happened?” They wanted to hear the black and white explanation, not about the myriad shades of experience that move people apart. To get divorced was to shatter the wishful belief that to be Orthodox was to shield yourself from the discontent and disappointment that invaded marriages in the outside world.

“It’s a new beginning,” the rabbi told me, kindly. “Don’t look back. Go forth, become the person you need to be.”