Highs and lows in Austria | 3

Day 3: Of variables and constants

Today I paid a man to touch me for the first time. It felt a little weird – undressing and lying down all the while knowing that I am actually paying the man to spend a whole hour with me or rather: with my body. But soon my thoughts drifted of and I enjoyed the pleasant massage Gustav gave me (I almost got you there, right?). This first-time-massage was really necessary since we decided to defy the endless rain and hike anyway – we walked sixteen kilometers up to Hochmaisalm, passing Lettenalm and Reichlalm and finally reached Jausestation Grünegg, where I ordered a giant Schmalzbrot and unfroze my hands. It was nice, but I really could use a rain-free day with a little bit of sun. I don’t need thirty degrees – but having to wear a winter jacket and not being able to feel ones fingers anymore is not what I expected at the end of July.

The bright side: I got to know two very nice couples with whom I spent a very nice afternoon with coffee and cake and interesting discussions. Both couples have been married for plenty of time, couple number one for thirty-one years and couple number two for staggering fifty years. It amazed me how happy they still were – they teased each other all the while treating their partner very respectfully. You could sense that they were proud to be together this long – and I agree with them completely.

Having a look at the number of divorces and all the people leading unhappy relationships it seems like a miracle to me if two people survive half a century together without wearing each other out.

But is this kind of life-long relationship really realistic in today’s fast-paced world? We change our job every few years, we move to different cities, we try out various ways of living – we have come to terms with multiple variables in our life and this is something that can only be good, in my opinion. The ideal would be, of course, a partner that moves and bends and grows with us as we change. Somebody who respects our need to change and has a desire to change as well. But I accept that a relationship like this is hard to find – in a society where self-realization is the most important goal most people are not willing to take compromises, although relationships always require comprises. Sometimes small ones, sometimes bigger ones – and that is okay. Good things in life rarely come for free.

Lesson learnt today: Change is good – and even better if you have constants that walk the way with you. 

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