A couple of months ago, a friend from Valencia, Duane, invited me to brew beer together. I never did this before, although I witnessed other ways to make alcohol, like distillation (which is quite popular in the country I was born, Romania, where basically every family has – or has access – to a device that can make alcohol from fermented plumes). I didn’t do this brewing beer session for the alcohol, though, but mainly for fun, to socialize and to learn stuff.
The entire experience took about 4 hours, and I ended up with about 3 liters of beer, which I slowly savored after it correctly fermented, which was in about a month. But, in a rather strange way, it was not the beer that made this experience really unforgettable, but the weird parallels I drew between this process and actual, real life relationships.
A few days after we finished this, and after the entire experience settled in, I quickly jotted some notes about these parallels in my app, ZenTasktic, and let them there. To make the parallel even more obvious, I think I let those notes there to ferment for a couple of months.
Well, today I felt it’s time to let out whatever I learned in those 4 hours.
1. You Get What You Put In
The Beer: Every beer has a recipe. There are many types, like lager, or IPA, and each type requires very specific quantities and measurements. Even more, these quantities are “channeling” the beer in a certain direction (read: “taste” and “flavor”) and that is determined at a very early stage of the process. Once things have been put in motion, is really difficult to amend the taste, or the type. You can make very small adjustments, but the main parameters are set from the beginning. And remember, this is for a process that will last at least 3-4 weeks, including fermentation.
Relationships: You always get what you put in. You can never expect to get a lager, if you put the ingredients for IPA. In other words, every relationship has a certain type, a certain flavor, and, almost always, these types and flavors are set up very early in the process. If you enter as a friend, then you will get friendship. You can make some adjustments in the future, but that will require, most of the type, a complete rewrite of all the ingredients and processes. I put this here especially for those men complaining about being “friendzoned”. You were never “friendzoned”, you presented yourself as a friend from the very beginning. If you want something different, then put in different ingredients and processes.
2. From A Certain Point On, You Should Be Mental About Hygiene
The Beer: As we were already two hours in, after the first batch of boiled water was poured into another big recipient where we were also mixing hops with the initial composition, my friend told me that from a certain point on, he is getting “mental” about the hygiene. And by that he meant that all the tools had to be disinfected, reducing the potential addition of unnecessary bacteria to zero. If he wouldn’t do that, then the entire batch would have been compromised.
Relationships: From a certain point on, you should also be mental about hygiene, and by that I mean all those “red flags”. Don’t wait to make a scarf from all those red flags, act early on and don’t let them grow, especially if you’re starting to get emotionally involved. Too often we’re starting to compromise, either because we’re wishing so much for the thing “to work out”, or simply because we got too attached, too involved. Well, if there’s no hygiene to what you’re letting in, the entire relationship will soon be compromised too.
3. It Takes Time. Like, Really
The Beer: At the end of the 4 hours, we learned that this was just the beginning. From now on, the beer, poured into dark colored bottles, should spend the following 3-4 weeks in a fermentation process. Meaning that all that mixture had to go through a certain process, at the end of which the mixture itself would have been completely transformed. And yet, containing everything that we put in initially. So, it takes time.
Relationships: There is a very small chance that you will hit it off “instantly” with somebody, and I believe this chance shouldn’t be discarded, but the odds for this to happen are smaller than the odds of winning the lottery. Just try to remember when was the last time you won the lottery, next time those butterflies are waking up in the stomach. From my experience, if a relationship “burns” too fast, we’re talking either about delusion and projections, or about a misleading “mirroring” of one of the partners, with the goal of manipulating the other one later on. So, a real relationship takes some time.
4. There’s An Expiration Date To Everything
The Beer: Each type of beer has a certain time window during which it can be consumed. It’s a thing which is really alive (so is everything fermented) and, like all things alive, it has an expiration date. After that, the drink is actually toxic. So, if you want to enjoy it, don’t delay. Don’t second guess, just savor it before it gets poisonous.
Relationships: If the building takes time, the actual initiation – and consumption – of a relationship are timely actions. Not only you should go for it – for anything – if you feel like, not deterring, not second guessing, but also be aware, while you’re together, that, after a certain time, it will expire. Surprisingly, this will not make you depressed, on the contrary. It will add more life to it.
5. Even If You Did Everything Right, It Can Go Wrong
And it’s not necessarily your fault.
Like my friend told us after we finally finished it, and put the blanket on top of the carefully arranged bottles on the floor: “Sometimes it works, sometimes I learn”.