My attempt to stay away from sexual politics has been extraordinarily successful. I’ve managed to avoid all but minor controversy. While my physical agility slowly deteriorates, emotionally I’ve kept myself spider-like*. Keeping my (some would say nonexistent) love life away from my friends and family has been a marvelous solution; not for happiness and bliss but for evading the pain that comes from having to eventually extract somebody from your life. Not only have I avoided relationships but I have avoided talking about them, mine or otherwise.Such success leads to a certain pomposity and perhaps recklessness. Today, I’ve learned not to regret, but it is a lesson hard earned with many sleepless nights. Success also leads to fear of change and soon, the inability to change… almost.This year brought death and losses of another kind. A couple of months spent in sorrow and regret turned me inside out. Even when I felt most like I needed a shoulder to cry on, I forced myself to be stoic. Scared, I didn’t start some friendships I needed and refused to end some relationships I should have. As the reasons to cry piled on, I felt tested and I fought back. Nobody, especially somebody with only a brittle stage sword, can fight forever.On the other side of that deep valley you’d have found me. A tired, sexless man who simply didn’t care for charades much. He chose his friends and eventually his family. And while he didn’t (and perhaps he still doesn’t) know what he wanted, he has a good idea. It wasn’t a drastic change. He still had the same goofy laugh and the wayward but relaxed demeanor. But maybe you noticed (he sure tried to make sure you did), he cared a little bit more. About what? You, and him, and her, and the little time he realizes you’ll have.So what do I do with that instinct to separate life and love? Realize they are the same thing. Admit to myself feelings I’ve always had and stop lying to myself about those I never did. Stop regretting those things I did and go do those things I should.And with those carefully crafted lines I always kept ready for the slightest opportunity? Well, it’s time to mean them. I’m finding out how easy that is.Thanks for reading. I hope it wasn’t too heavy. That was a long time coming.Perhaps later,Nick* I’d put my money on a giant spider versus a cat any day. “Hey kitty, you like playing with string?”