Falling in Love at Glendalough Valley

A few weeks ago I wrote about my world tour and the hike through Glendalough Valley with the homies. It was definitely a challenging hike for a novice like me but definitely worth it for the view. I think that the great thing about traveling with friends is that you may end up doing things that you would never have planned initially. It was definitely not my idea to rent a car and drive out to hike but I’m super glad that we had that experience now and took all those pictures. Going out to hike is not really something that I do and I’m lucky that I dressed somewhat decent for the occasion, considering how I didn’t expect us to be walking up and down mountains for around 5 hours. Regardless, this article is not about the hike but how I felt about the hike. We’re talking about a dopamine release, we’re talking about falling in love.

I don’t often write about this feeling. Well I do, but not how it feels personally or past intimate experiences. I feel like if you read my blog, you know that I write about romance every now and then but I write more objectively than I write about it anecdotally. I don’t mind getting vulnerable but sometimes writing about this subject gives me pause. Writing about love is always weird for me as well, as I don’t find that I could possibly add anything to this discourse that hasn’t already been said a million times. I’m also not an expert on the topic, so my validity on the subject should always be put into question. Anyways, it’s not like I’ll be getting too deep into it. Also, writing about love is like cheating because it’s easy to write and people want to read it. I want to challenge myself and have no one read my blog, by writing an article about the greatest Short Kings of all time. OK sorry, back to the subject matter.

Dopamine is known as the reward chemical in your brain. It’s a chemical that tells you that you want more. You will typically get it when eating food, having sex, or doing drugs – I participate in 1 of those 3, you’ll have to guess which one (hint: can’t be hungry if you’re always doing drugs). But dopamine also releases when you’re feeling love or affection and as well when you’re finished exercising. When I was in the car, headed back to Dublin with the homies, I felt such a surge of dopamine rush through me. I had my head out the car like in a music video with the white girls and I just felt so warm and comfortable, I even teared up a bit. I think it was the combination of exercise, being on vacay, and being with the homies – it just felt good. I remember thinking about how strange it was at the time, which leads me to believe that I can’t ever live in the moment of anything because I am too neurotic.

I was trying to think about when the last time I felt this surge of dopamine was and it was the last time I felt strongly about a woman. I remember, waking up to study back in my school days one morning at about 9 am and seeing that this person sent me a lovely message. I remember lying back in my office chair, staring at the ceiling and thinking “Damn, so this is what it feels like.” I remember that thought because just like in the car, I got neurotic and made a mental note to remember the feeling because I knew that it wasn’t a feeling that was going to last. Meeting a woman I’m into and having her be into me as well – c’mon, for me that’s nearly impossible.

And I think that after that hike, it just made me realize that I long for that feeling. That I legitimately would like to be in love with someone and be in a relationship but am unsure if I will ever be in the right mindset or space in life to do it. I’m neurotic, I’m a bit of a free spirit, but I can also be a bit intense. I’m also very hard on myself at times which has made friends worry about my wellbeing. I have an incredibly hard time imagining someone finding me attractive in that capacity. I think for a lot of people this is a bit weird to read because I’m so optimistic by default – but I get down on myself too. I know everyone has flaws that make falling in love with them challenging, but after 27 years of life, it just feels like I’m destined to hike up that mountain alone.

Regardless of the challenge that it might bring, like walking across Glendalough Valley – finding someone physically attractive, having them find you physically attractive, getting along with each other, having traits and values in common, both of you being single, both of you being emotionally available, both of you being logistically available, both of you having a level of self awareness where you keep each other in your peripherals, and also not carry baggage – that’s pretty hard too. Or maybe that’s just my neuroticism speaking. Hiking across Glendalough is actually so much easier than finding a romantic partner.

I think that for someone like me, it’s important to remember that the rush of dopamine I got from the hike had nothing to do with being in love and that I can still achieve that level of emotional resonance without a significant other. But that rush that I only felt on my own, it would probably mean a lot more if that was a feeling that was shared with someone else in the same capacity. We’ll just keep hiking up that mountain I guess.

By the way, if any of you reading this reach out and act all weird about me being vulnerable in this article, I will no longer write articles like this ever again, you have been warned. Now here are some pics to distract you from my softness.

The homie – Roddy, for his Hinge profile
L to R: Bott, Cal, Rod, Mr. Worldwide Handsome. I should’ve stood in the middle, the three of them were standing on a rock

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