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36 questions to fall in love with anyone... even yourself

It's been two months since my last post and the world has drastically changed in such a short period. We have all watched in horror as news reports and death rates spiked across the globe, then to our own local channels - seeing the virus creep towards our own country and then our regions. It has now been just over a month that I have been self-isolating and laid off due to COVID-19. Some days I feel like I am frozen and others I don't know where the time has gone.

During the ordeal I have focused my energy on updating our home and watching too many TikTok's. After lazing around with my husband on a dreary Sunday, we came upon Jubilee's YouTube Channel, specifically the "Can 2 strangers fall in love in 36 questions" video. These videos bring two people together for a blind date, where they ask each other 36 questions from Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,”. In this essay she focuses on the study by the psychologist Arthur Aron(and others) that explores whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. The 36 questions in the study are broken up into three sets, with each set intended to be more probing than the previous one - NY TIMES. It made me think "maybe this would be an interesting blog post". I don't necessarily want you to fall in love with me, but just maybe see the world through my eyes, if only for a moment. Who knows maybe I'll even love myself more at the end of this.

Grab a snack, maybe even a (large) glass of wine and let's get to know each other.

Set I 1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

Oprah. This may seem slightly stereotypical but she is my idol. I think she is the hardest working woman, she is successful after facing defeat, she would having amazing stories to tell about herself and the people she has interviewed and we both love dogs so that's an easy bonding moment. I also grew up watching Oprah every day after school and learned so much from her. She feels like a mother figure that I have never met and I would likely sob if/when I meet her one day. Also if her chef was cooking the food would likely be AMAZING.

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

I wouldn't use the work fame or famous, but I would like to be known for doing something great for this world by helping others.

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

Sometimes, it really depends on the person or situation. I used to do this all of the time before I would speak to my mother (in-person or over the phone). When I was a kid i thought I was psychic for predicting how good or bad the outcome would be of our conversations. I now know that if you rehearse a conversation and it goes the way you thought it's likely because you made sure that outcome would happen in some way. So now I prefer to limit with who and how often I do this.

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

My perfect day would be that I wake up well rested, in a log cabin on a lake. I would start the day off with a scrumptious breakfast of hot smoked salmon eggs benedict, perfectly seasoned hash browns and a fruit bowl. After savoring my first meal I would read for an hour on the deck, with no interruptions and finish the last novel to a series. The afternoon sun would just be hot enough that a swim in the lake is needed. I could probably spend the rest of the afternoon sunning on the dock and swimming with friends and family. Tossing my niece and nephew in with their water wings. After a glorious hot shower I would make Ina Garten's roast chicken with baby potatoes, asparagus (topped with lemon and dill sauce) and a fluffy cheesecake for dessert. At dinner we would drink too much wine and laugh as we play cards until 3 AM. Then we would all crash just a the birds start to sing their morning song.

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

I definitely hummed in the shower, sadly it was one of those common TikTok songs that you hear too often. I sing to my cat and dog every day, sometimes it's an actual song but mostly it's me telling them how cute and sweet they are.

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? I honestly really don't like this type of question. Living with muscular dystrophy (FSHD) makes this more complicated as I don't have much control over what my body will be like. Of course I am able to take supplements and exercise and eat healthy just like anyone else, but the reality is my muscles will deteriorate and waste much more and faster than an average person. Having daily pain and body aches is something I would gladly wish away, it can also be debilitating to your mind if you are in constant pain. All the said, one of my biggest fears is loosing a part of my mind and memories. Since I've had to come to terms about my body, I think I would likely choose to retain my mind.

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

I have dreams of being in a car crash and being severely injured but I know I am also a decent driver so I think those dreams are just about losing control. Because of my family history I will likely die of a stroke, heart failure or something of that magnitude.

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

If you are still reading this than we likely share these three commonalities

1. You are curious, you like to learn about other's feelings and thoughts

2. You are conscious, you like to be aware of how others think of you and how you are perceived.

3. You enjoy reading

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I feel most grateful for the opportunities I have been given. I am in a country where as a woman I can vote, I can own property, I can work, I can drive and make my own decisions, I can buy what I want and need, I have access to clean water and safe shelter, I can choose and marry the person I love. I have access to medical care.That sense of freedom is something that I try to be grateful for and also not take for granted.

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

My mom suffered with mental illness and it was very difficult at times growing up in a household that was in a constant flux. I wish that I would have been honest with my dad and counselors about what it was like with her at time, so she could have hopefully gotten help.

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

My first memories are of my mom's parents, eating rhubarb in the garden and playing Lego but I grew up mostly in the same town. I always enjoyed singing so church felt like a refuge for me. It was an hour a day of song and peace after my parents divorced. I actually spent a lot of time at my friends home's during high school because living with my mom was growing more and more difficult. I am the youngest and my siblings tried to keep me in their circle but I often felt left behind. I have worked many jobs mainly because I had to, my mom believed that I needed to financially support myself at a young age (16) so I tried and worked when and where I could. After some failed attempts with relationships I finally met my husband who often feels like my knight. We have had our lows but he continues to pick me up daily. (I set a 4 minute timer to write this and this is what came out of it)

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

I would have the ability to snap my fingers and shut off any anxiety that I feel.

Set 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?

Crystal ball please tell me how many countries will I get to travel to in my lifetime and how many different places will I get to call home.

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

I have dreamed of owning our own land and cabin on a lake that we have custom built. Why we haven't done it is that it will be a "forever place" so we need to be sure on where it is located and also $$$.

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

I am only 30 so I feel like this will adapt as life goes on but for now I feel very accomplished by having a happy, healthy and successful marriage. Outside of a relationship with myself, this is the singular most important one in my life. One that relies on trust, communication and empathy and I know it has already taught me so much about myself and will continue to for our future years together.

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

Honesty and trust. I think they go hand-in-hand as you cannot trust someone if they aren't honest about who they are and what they want and need from a relationship. Outside of Josh, my best friend Brit is the most honest and trustworthy person I have had the privileged of knowing.

17. What is your most treasured memory?

Because I have lost people who I have loved dearly I have many of them but I think I have 3 that really stand out and cannot compete with each other so I will list each of them below.

1. On my birth day, since I can remember, my mom would snuggle me and tell me about the day I was born. Now every birthday I have I try to remember every word and the way she would tell me.

2. My niece and nephew being born. Holding them against my chest in the hospital room were two moments where I could feel my heart grow and instantly I felt a total unconditional love.

3. Josh proposing to me. It was so truly special as it was just the two of us out on a lake and I felt the most honest vulnerability come from him.

18. What is your most terrible memory?

Finding out my mom died. It was a phone call from my sister and it shattered my heart.

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

I would sell my home and see as many places that I could for 6 months with Josh, then we would rent a cottage on a lake for the remaining 6 and stay there with visits from family and friends. I would likely also hire a professional chef so we could have amazing global cuisine and not have to ever do dishes again.

20. What does friendship mean to you? Being fully honest, I've had ups and downs with "friends". I've let people in and not asked for much in return and I'm trying to learn to be better about that. Since I have gone through all of that I feel like friendship means something different to me. It's a bond, something that should feel easy but it is also like having the world's best cheerleader in your court. Someone who is your hype girl and ready to take on the world with you.

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

A fairly big part. Number one is my husband. When COVID-19 hit Newfoundland I was laid off and Josh was still working with the public and with several co-workers daily and I was scared. I am immuno-compromised because of MD so we have to be careful with contact when he gets home from work. I was so used to kissing him as soon as he walked in the door and now I wait until he gets a shower . I know if he catches it kissing, whether he's showered first or not, will not matter but our new routine gives me a (false) sense of security. I really miss being able to just hold his hand or kiss whenever I want to without fear.

I also make sure to give the dog and cat smooches and cuddles as much as possible and my family has always been huggers so I am as well.

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

I will refer back to question 8 as I think what we could possibly have in common are also positive characteristics.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s? I think we are very close even though I decided to move so far away. Growing up my brother, sister and I were very tight-knit. We did everything together. As we grew older I would say we have had moments of separation and frustration but overall we all love each other and would help each other in a heartbeat. I am also very close with my dad and my grandma (his mom). My grandma has been like a second mother to me and the relationship I have with her is very special.

For my childhood I have very definitive memories of happy times but overall I would say it was likely not more happy than other's. My family struggled financially and emotionally and we had a lot of very difficult moments.

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

That is likely the most loaded question yet. I've mentioned above about my mom's mental health and how it negatively impacted myself and my family. She died in 2017 due to suicide so my feelings have changed in some ways. After continued counselling I am able to see the two sides of her and separate them for the most part. The simplest way to put how I feel about my relationship with her is that it is so complicated.

Set III 25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... “

1. We both are thinking about when COVID-19 will end.

2. We are both likely wearing some form of sweatpants/PJ's right now.

3. We both are likely obsession over something that we truly have no control over and should just let it go.

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... “

I wish I had someone with whom I could share music with and sing with on a stage together. I have a fear of singing on my own and also I don't know how to play a musical instrument so I wish I had someone who would help me be more confident on stage and to sing with.

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.

You should know that there will be times that I don't reach out to you and it's not because I don't want to. I just have difficulty telling people I need them because I am so scared of losing another person and I worry that I have too much crap to handle.

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. Next time we meet in person ask me this question and I promise to be honest.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

When I was 9 years old I got lice from a friend's sleepover and had it all summer. I didn't know what it was and because we we're up at the cottage I thought there were just bugs around so I ended up giving lice to my whole family and a family friend. When finally it came out it was so bad that I had to get my hair cut into a mushroom cut to finally get rid of all of it. To this day thinking about it makes my head itch and just drives me crazy that I was so naive.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

Last time I cried was watching Good Will Hunting with my husband last week. I love Robin Williams and that movie is one of my all time favourites even though it makes me cry every damn time. We also had a discussion about mental health and life after. The last time I cried by myself was a couple of weeks ago, I was just really stressed about COVID and my family who are nurses dealing with it.

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

I am impressed that you have continued to read this.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?


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 tell everyone whom I love that I love them every chance I get so I don't really have anything that comes to mind.

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?

I would save the photo albums I have that contain our childhood photos and old photos of our grandparents.

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

Losing my mother was very complicated and still is. Her death was also the most disturbing turn of events I hope to ever experience. That said I know if I lost my husband it would be the hardest thing to endure.

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 have a lot of personal angst about what I will professionally do for the rest of my life. I know it will likely change as time goes on but I am scared to take the leap of going back to school for a career and that could possibly be an epic waste of time and money if I may not be happy doing that profession (teacher or psychologist) .

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