The NYT 36 Questions that Lead to Love (Adjusted to Loving Thyself)

Being single and alone in my home during COVID has me fiercely working out and reading a ton, many of them self help books. I’d say those two things are the keys to a successful pandemic, am I right?

Well, I was reading “You’re Not Listening,” by Kate Murphy and one of the many insights she talked about was about this article, about these questions regarding intimacy and how to fall in love with anyone.

Alone, but intrigued, I thought I’d answer some of these questions to get to know myself a bit better.

Onward we go…

First off, let me say I’m definitely not bought that you can fall in love with anyone. But, I do think by letting our walls down we can like anyone. Friend or foe, if we ask the right questions and truly listen, I believe you can connect with anyone despite our judgments and biases barking at us.

Maybe a teeny part of me is hopeful some lucky man will read this and think – my god – what have I been waiting for? I was lost, and now Im found! And he sweeps me off my feet via some nonexistent WordPress dating site…. Ok, so I don’t really want or believe that will happen, but the world is a strange place.

So ixnay a partner and here is me answering questions to get to know myself better.

Questions Round I:

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? Dax Shepard. Anyone who knows me knows that. I would love to hear more of his personal stories, triumphs, greatest and most painful moments. I’m also curious what has been the most impactful stories he feels others have told him. Most of his life is already in the media – so I wonder, whats behind the curtain? I adore his honesty on Armchair Expert and the fact that he isn’t ego driven. I am also slightly obsessed with his introspection and I’d love to take tips on how he got to where he is. Dax, I want your best practices on life, love, and the rest of it. Call me? Pretty please?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way? My first thought was to be a famous athlete. Id love to be known for having the determination, drive, self-discipline needed to train. Plus I bet I be in great shape. But, I’d also want to be famous for having a natural closeness to get to know people well enough that they are comfortable revealing their stories to me. I want to be known for an ability to connect. I want the ability to listen, learn and share. I believe we can learn from anywhere and everyone and I’d like to be a part of the connection.

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why? Yes. Not so much anymore because I’m better on the spot. But it use to be to make sure I don’t fumble my words. Now I refrain to be more natural.

Sunset in Florida for New Years

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you? Naturally waking up before the sun, getting out of bed to sit on a porch overlooking the ocean or mountains as the sun’s coming up with a cuppa. Writing to start the day, reflecting on how grateful we are to be alive, going back to bed for some passionate lovemaking before hopping in the shower together. Getting some exercise in, a long hike, kayaking, a run on the beach. Then having a dinner party with a delicious meal and 4-6 friends. Fill our time around the table conversing about deep & meaningfuls, sharing ideas, thoughts, brainstorming business ideas, revelations, thoughts, and ultimately how to take over the world. Oh, and with tons of laughter. Finishing the day tuckering in with my person, snuggling up near a warm crackling fire, full of appreciation for each other and the day.

Hiking in Washington State, a big foggy from the forest fires this Sept 2020

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else? Sitting at my work desk two days ago. Last sang to someone else… probably in a car a while ago.

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want? The mind.

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die? I have an eerie feeling it’ll be sudden, unexpected, but quick. Not hacked to death by someone, not told I have cancer, but maybe a car crash, a big woosh and then the bang. Hopefully I’d have lived a long life before this point, filled with honesty, love, and accomplishment. I don’t want to be finished off without telling those I care about them, so I’ll aim to always be honest in the moments I have.

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common. Well, as a singleton, the partner I want would share a sense of humor, adventure, and a lifestyle focused on growth.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful? I am grateful for the opportunity to accept failure and grow. To make mistakes and not let ego get in the way. I am grateful for honest friends who keep me in check and believe in me.

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be? I wish my family had more emotional intimacy, I wish we really could talk to each other and that I didn’t feel so isolated around them. I wish there was more communication, listening and acceptance.

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible. The story would be how I lost my job in Florence, Italy, how I found myself sous chef in Lago d’Orta, and bought a one-way ticket to Australia with $211 in my bank account.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be? I wish I was a listener, then a better storyteller and public speaker. Maybe wishing I was more intuitive, or just a mind reader…

Questions Round II

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know? I’d want to know if I lived my life honestly. Was there anything I should have done that I didn’t? Did I fall in love and deeply? Ok so there are a few sappy questions from the singleton stuck in her freezing Somerville apartment

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it? I want to build my own short bus into an RV. I haven’t done it because I never had somewhere to build it and always felt I didn’t have enough money or support. 2021 ends that excuse wheel. I’m looking seriously and contemplating flying to a state that doesn’t have snow and driving it up/

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? It may sound cliche, but I truly think the amount of traveling I have done has been my greatest accomplishment. Truly, truly, I’ve gained so much insight into myself, about the world, met friends, my confidence and independence grew – and I have much more happiness because of it. If I didn’t leave the country, I wouldn’t have had as failure or life skills as I do now. I imagine I would be a completely different person and mostly likely closed-off without these opportunities I’ve had.

16. What do you value most in a friendship? laughter, honesty and listening.

17. What is your most treasured memory? Hands down, it’s definitely snorkeling with whale sharks in Donsol, The Philippines. Oh my god, they’re so majestic, so huge and they swim so effortlessly in the water. I was so close! I’ll try to find the video…

Snorkeling and scuba diving with whale sharks and manta rays in Donsol, The Philippines
Snorkeling and scuba diving with whale sharks and manta rays in Donsol, The Philippines

18. What is your most terrible memory? The heartbreak I felt in my last breakup and the flash backs I have still going back to that moment. He was an alcoholic and we were out with his friends, I told him if he continued to drink and didn’t choose me – I would leave and it was over. In his drunken state, he chose the booze which tipped the iceberg. I walked out of the bar crying, hoping, thinking, assuming, he would walk after me. But he didn’t. Going straight to a friends house I cried for hours until I passed out and woke up at 2am. Then I walked to where we were living and walked in on him in our bed with someone he picked up that night only a few hours after we broke up. I thought he was my life partner. I am still crushed and it still brings me to tears. But, I also know that without that experience I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am grateful for the growth that’s happened since.

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why? Yes, I wouldn’t worry about money as much I am and just do the everything I want to do. I’d buy a van and remodel it – I’d fly to Argentina and hike the Andes, I’d go to Italy and eat more gelato. I would write more. More importantly, I’d spend more time with my loved ones and tell those who don’t know that I care about them as much as I do. I’d be more present, trying to give unconditionally.

20. What does friendship mean to you? Friendship means honesty, giving time as equally as time is given to you. Being supportive and listening, asking questions, getting to know each other.

Snowmobiling with my high school friends in NH – the need for speed kicks in!

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life? Right now, both affection and love from someone else are non existent. The amount of self-love I give myself is consistent. I am working to praise myself more, be less critical, work out, eat better every day – caring for my mind through meditation and body through wellness. I also reflect, weekly, and at the beginning and end of every month setting my intention and creating my progress.

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner (or yourself). Share a total of five items. No partner. Hmm, I think my drive to work hard is a positive. Having the ability to see the positive in everything, including and especially in failures or mistakes. I value that I can accept fault and accept that I have grown so much and still have so much more growing to do in my life. I never want to stay the same. I think I’m a good lover, emotionally always wanting to be more available and in the sack (ha!). So, I like my motivation.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s? I was very fortunate growing up, my parents set a good example working hard and giving us plenty of opportunity in sports, education, and travel. We had lots of fun and I feel extremely lucky. I was definitely happy. Looking back, we all wish something was different, for me it’s wishing we had a stronger emotional and conversational connection.

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother? I don’t like it. Therapy is helping me understand how I can be better, but I have a lot of anger towards my mom. She’s had a hard life and we all make mistakes, but she’s really hard to be around and I hate the person I become when I am around her.

Questions Round III

25. Make three true “we” (or I) statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling …” I am feeling a bit like I should workout. I need to email my professor back today. I need to get rid of the clutter in this house.

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share …” my adventures with.

Hiking in NH

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know. That I make mistakes, tons of them, but if we maintain honest and loving communication we can tackle anything.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met. Fine holding off on this one … too many couple questions.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life. TBC… also all of it.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself? Last cried in front of another person must have been within the past few months.. but not recently. Last time I cried by myself, silently this morning watching this YouTube video thinking about how that dad felt. I’m such a sap.

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already. TBC..

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about? Sadly, I have a very high tolerance for joking and as long as it’s without malice, I think anything can be taken as a lighthearted.

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet? I currently have no regrets, I’ve been pretty straight forward with people I love, even if it’s something they don’t agree with.

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why? My laptop/journals. Because these are my thoughts, my memories, my growth on paper.

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why? I don’t even want to think about this let alone write it for superstitious reasons.

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen. I’d ask for their advice on how to better my relationship with my mother and brother.

Acadia NP, Maine

Well, that’s all I have for today folks. If reading empirical articles is your thing find Dr. Aron’s article here and let me know if you played the question game with a partner.

My adventures and ramblings through Europe, Australia, and now back the United States. I generally write from daily inspirations or from random thoughts.

Hey! If you enjoyed this post please tell me why or if you want more, let me know what to expand on!

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