“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.”– Plato, The Symposium
Yesterday was February 27th, 2023 and on that day 2 years ago, I left my apartment in Houston and became 100% mobile. It was the start of truly being Nomadic and living out of my 1.5 suitcases and backpack as I float around the country, a wanderer.
There are so many questions that I ask myself when I sit here in these coffeeshops in these small towns or in my office over a cold night shift writing away for this blog – the answer to why I don’t sleep during night shifts maybe… Mainly, I ask who reads it, and wonder if it’s made a difference for anyone other than myself and my need to find a place for my own memories and thoughts… But of course, I ask the regular introspective questions that everyone asks when they’re left with too much time on their hands, too many thoughts in their mind, and too many slow instrumental mashups playing through the rain: Where are my going with my life? What are my doing? What is the purpose of life? The usual existential questions that push us along each day, I’m sure. For me, a lot of meaning is derived from my job. It is of course endlessly fascinating meeting new humans and focusing on the beginning of life – maybe the purpose of life is to have it? But, this isn’t that kind of metaphysical philosophical post.
Many people ask me about my love life as I wander around, and I wanted to candidly remark on it publicly. My recruiters, agencies, friends, coworkers and random acquaintances frequently ask me most commonly one of the biggest questions which I feel is a reflection of humanity and our primitive needs as conscientious beings: Don’t you get lonely? Yes, of course I do. And thus, the biggest cornerstone for why I believe humans continue to go on with their lives: Because partnerships, families and communities are their reason to.
Over the years, I have flittered in and out of social and romantic partnerships as has anyone, but have spent more time entirely alone than not. I’ve become more introverted throughout time, which often surprises people, especially since my level of extroversion is the main reason I have been successful as a locum tenens physician. Yet, realistically, a majority of my time is spent on my own; and, with too much of that, I end up alone too. I’m not even sure how to appropriately eat dinner with someone else at this point sometimes, but I’m sure well versed in sitting at a bar on my own and having a conversation with a stranger I know I won’t see again. It is certainly hard to float in and out of new places, and even harder to keep or maintain relationships on any level at those locales.
One of the reasons I packed up my bags over 700 days ago to wander was that I had felt some sort of emptiness in Texas. In a prior life, I subscribed to the Hallmark cliche romantic idea that eventually I’d meet a lifelong soulmate and partner, and by 30, when I didn’t, i figured maybe that that person was either nonexistent or just not in Texas. I have continued to meet new people here and then and haven’t held myself back intentionally from seeking these partnerships. But, ironically, as I indulge my wanderlust, wondering If i’ll come across a partner of multidimensional compatibility, I seemingly am in a Catch 22 – I travel too much to keep the attention of anyone that isn’t themselves a flight risk. Thus, maybe, the bain of an exclusive locum tenens provider. One of the few cons that I am open to admit and willing to condemn.
In general, with the new age of technology, young and old often now meet through technological interfaces (eg: websites or dating apps). Meeting people through friends or in person at the local watering hole have changed, and for a busy wanderer as myself, even if I personally allow myself to be open to all opportunities on my few days off, it’s definitely not the easiest realm to come across new potential these days, especially with geographically rotating “friend” groups. I certainly have standards for where and with whom I direct my free time and last shreds of energy, but as each day passes, I find myself curiously not willing to settle, even if I am possibly open to the idea of settling down. It is true that i will be planting some roots in Missouri this upcoming summer for the next few years as I return to fellowship training, but time will only tell how much those roots will float.
In a former life I was of the old-fashioned volition of matrimony and “settling down”, but as I have grown to see the world, my perception of the horizon has broadened and become more foggy. A part of me, like many other humans, is fond of Plato’s quote above – my favorite quote I have ever come across to begin to explain a possibly somewhat outdated, but still optimistic, concept of a Soulmate. That being said, to get real, even as I do personally believe in monamory I actually do NOT believe in the concept of a 1:1 designation in finding a person, and more feel there are multiple humans throughout the world that can have that level of connection – maybe a more eclectic 21st century open-minded concept. I call it a “pool of Soulmates”. Still, on a planet with 8 billion humans, your odds of coming across one is likely phenomenally low, especially if you never stay put. But, that being said, I do still really like Plato’s concept, even if more likely appropriate for a time when you would have died by my age without modern lifestyles and medicine.
I have watched my friends and colleagues pair off traditionally, or less traditionally, and grown families that give their own lives amplified meaning, and have always been a spectator. I started this blog to show my travels and experiences, to show my views on medicine from a societal and non-medical standpoint, and to expose a beautiful world to those that seek it. Yet, I also started this all to show my humanness. We are all human and all seek companionship and completion; with time, I realize that this is likely the purpose of life.
But, I have never been a fan of mediocre or a believer in status quo, so, I keep wandering, even if only existentially, seeking the Power that makes me want to stop.
(Basically though, I’m single, tell your friends)
Image Credit: https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/the-hook-up/is-it-healthy-to-believe-in-the-idea-of-a-soulmate/11310670