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Chasing the Dream

by David Levinson
December 14, 2005
Chasing the Dream
Nothing is more daunting than planning for New Year's Eve, right? You spend days and weeks preparing for the inevitable - when midnight arrives and you lean in and kiss the one you're with, or turn to the handsome stranger beside you and plant a big one right on his lips. ‘Tis the season, after all. There's a certain spontaneity that comes with the evening and if you're open and ready for it, the night might unfold in magical, unexpected ways. We bound from one party to the next, drinking and merry-making, whooping it up, resolving to be a better person this coming year as we dance under the disco ball. If we're out of shape, we'll join a gym. If we're single, we'll have a super time on our next date. If we're unhappily partnered, we'll think up ways either to get what we want or get out. But because we give this night of all nights such weight and significance, aren't we bound to be a little disappointed when the sun rises the next day and the next and nothing much has changed?

It takes a ton of dedication and effort to change those things about us we don't like, that stop us from getting what we want. Change, however, often comes at a price and shakes us to the core. Though our heart's still aching from your last breakup, we're thrown together with someone who might just be the next great love of our life. What do we do? How do we proceed? Is it more important to mourn the previous loss than press on into these uncharted, dangerous waters with somebody new? Can we do both?

To be sure, getting involved again is a risky business, but it's the only way out and through past hurt. The heart is more resilient than you might think and even though she's just put you through the ringer, ending it on New Year's Eve night, you have choices. Yes, sex with her might've been the best sex you've ever had, but think about why? Was she always emotionally distant? Were you? If you both kept each other at bay, then of course your sex life was great - you were virtual strangers coming together again and again, perhaps not fuck buddies but certainly very close to it.

Engaging someone else beyond the surface of sex takes guts and practice and something that terrifies many, if not all, of us. If we've been hurt or have hurt in the past, we want to take things slowly, which is only fair. "You can't hurry love," sang Cap'n & Teneil, but isn't that what we always do? We rush into bed with strangers, expecting them to manage our feelings as if they cared about us, as if they've known us for ages. Don't get me wrong. Sex with strangers can be hot and exciting, but usually it's very impractical, especially when the heart's concerned. Let me put it like this: If you fuck someone you don't know, at least be smart enough to realize that you've just given away a tiny bit of yourself for free. Certainly, you wouldn't give your car keys to a stranger, so why hand over your heart? Learn about who you're with, whether you think it's going to go somewhere or not. Loneliness is just as terrible an aphrodisiac as any other. I'm not claiming that every casual sex experience ends up disastrously, but you need to choose them wisely. A date on New Year's Eve is far different from hooking up with the bartender at 4:00 a.m. Chasing a dream is still chasing dream, no matter the context, no matter the party or bar. Know what you're chasing and why. Know that you deserve more than a quick fling (unless that's all you want and then so be it!). Know that you should never make someone a priority if he only makes you an option. Be wise. Be healthy. Be safe - with your heart and with others'.

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"David Levinson is a young writer who has mastered all the elements that make up a classically structured short story: drama, suspense, humor, empathy. There are no fancy pyrotechnics or meta-fictional devices here. He's a neo-traditionalist so the stories are direct, emotional and compulsively readable, plus there's enough mystery and action in them to propel at least a dozen novels."<br>Bret Easton Ellis