Sunday, June 13, 2010

Compartments

In the TV show, Alias, Sydney Bristow (played by Jennifer Garner) provides an excellent case study on compartmentalization. Many of the episodes in the first 2-3 seasons are thematically related as Sydney learns how to allow the different compartments of her life to overlap and strive to establish balance. She feels scared at the vulnerability associated with breaking down the walls she has carefully cemented around her, but she experiences joy and love as she establishes more balance in her life.

I have been reflecting on the compartments of my life and have realized that marriage requires the dynamiting of one's walls around compartments, but a healthier balance results. While there will always be natural boundaries established by distances between social groups, which are particularly large due to the broad nature of my interests, I feel less polarized than I ever have before. My compartments do not seem as distinctly defined. The post-collegiate lacrosse league that I play in allows me to compete and interact with people that my co-workers from my most recent clinical placement at Spaulding Hospital Cambridge will never meet (unless I were to facilitate it, and that would be kind of weird). I love learning about, discussing and debating health and fitness topics, but I also enjoy being well-read on current events and minimizing my ignorance about politics, economics, and government. I enjoy being pampered, getting pedicures, and wearing perfume, but I love the mountains and could care less about being clean when I am hiking or camping.

Despite my currently diverse set of interests, there is one force that helps me to create a better balance between them all; Dan is genuinely interested in all of the compartments that make me tick. Prior to marriage, my family provided support for each of my compartments, but their influence was limited by distance and decreased interaction. Now, Dan is at every lacrosse game (that I have enough time or energy to go to), debates every topic with me, gets to know as many of the other participants in my compartments as he can, insists that I get massages, pedicures, and perfume, and mountaineers with me (including allowing me to get a mountain board!). As a result, my interest in lacrosse doesn't seem as far removed from my desire to be well-read in current events because I can share all of it with Dan and he can help me to establish balance.

I have realized that this is one of the most distinct benefits of marriage. Ironically, this is the one that scares a lot of people from long-term commitment to one person. Some perceive the destruction of compartmental walls as bad, but I have come to know that it is very much superior to designing our lives like a filing cabinet.

Here are some pictures from some of the compartments of OUR lives these days:

Collective Soul Concert in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. Followed by camping in New Hampshire and playing in the White Mountains. An amazing weekend!

You can't fully see it, but the waterfall here had carved a natural waterslide that was very tempting to try and ride. However, Dan and I had a competition to see how long we could keep our feet in the water (it was probably less than 40 degrees! So cold!), and neither of us could keep our feet in for more than 30 seconds at a time. This area of the White Mountains is called Franconia Notch, and has some of the most majestic waterfalls I have ever seen!

This tree was growing on top of a HUGE boulder.


After climbing Cannon Mountain. It was really windy on the summit.



video


In front of A. Bronson Alcott's Concord School of Philosophy, meetingplace for many of the early Transcendentalists.


I am going to miss going to school in the Charlestown Navy Yard. I eat lunch every day with this view.


And here is a picture from our wedding day! No, the backdrop is not fake... A classmate asked me if it was!