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Posts tagged ‘relationships’

Romanticizing Reality

I am an advocate of getting-in-touch-with-reality, for sure.

It only makes sense to me that we human beings, if we are going to fix (or at least improve on) our many flaws and foibles, and figure out how to live life best, must first understand The-Way-Things-Are.

Unfortunately, we have this very strong tendency to believe what we wish to be true. And that is a problem. You’re going to have a rough time and waste a lot of energy, for example, if you believe you have the voice of an angel and should spend your time sharing your gift with the world, when in actuality you sound like Grover from Sesame Street.

If your wheels aren’t on the ground, they’re just going to spin.

So, first-things-first, we need to – both individually and collectively – get a grip.

Once we’ve done that, however, and our “wheels” are making good contact with a solid surface, we’ve got to turn around and put those rose-colored glasses right back on…at least this is what I’m thinking today, and I will explain why.

We are very tactile, short-sighted creatures, really. We are easily bogged down by the immediate, mundane details of our lives. Happy moments of the past and future are hard bring to mind when we are faced with today’s sadness or boredom or frustration. The present difficulties seem more real than anything else, and it makes us want to give up the fight.

Considering the large percentage of our lives that are consumed by these mundane details, you’d think we’d be pretty much screwed.

BUT…there is this other funny little quirk in the human psyche that is our saving grace:

We are compelled by story.

Much more so than we are by facts, statistics, dissertation or rational analysis, however true or relevant they may be. Stories move us, stay with us, and help us make meaning from our existence.

Every now and then, for me, something happens in my life that enables me to take a step back from it and see it all as part of the grand human drama…one that is headed toward some sort of resolution in which good triumphs over evil and all the pain and tedium turn out to be the stepping stones that get us there, if we use them positively.

I’ve realized this about myself repeatedly – how much more clearly I see and think, how much more graciously I act, how much more forgiving and loving I am toward others when I am looking at my life from this outside, cosmic point of view.

That is what I mean when I say “putting on rose-colored glasses” or “romanticizing reality.” Not living in denial of what is, but looking at it through a lens of hope. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but it is something we must try to do – all of us – if we are going to bring good out of the chaos.

I’ve had something pretty crazy happen to me this past week. And, yes, it has to do with love. (What else is a 29 year-old, single girl gonna talk about?)

That boy, C. (aka Mr. Love), after two years of absence, is back in my life. (Perhaps I should clarify that “in my life” includes such activities as kissing and texting me.)

This is rather mind-blowing, as I have spent so much time longing for this. And it is producing one of those moments in which I look back at my life and see all the heart-ache and questions as plot twists in my own life’s story.

Of course, if there is one thing I have come to believe over the past couple of years, it is that life is full of twists; that it is so NOT predictable; that it will take you places both painful and joyful that you never could have anticipated.

Since my wishing and wondering over whether or not I would ever see C. again has been answered, it has inevitably been replaced by the next big question…will we end up together? But that is a silly question to ask, really. Because even people who “end up together” (i.e. get married) just have to keep asking themselves bigger and bigger questions.

Will I stay with this person today? Tomorrow? Ten years from now? Will I have children with this person? Will we spend our lives pursuing the American dream? Or Chasing Adventure? Or Fighting for World Peace?

Having this one current, significant question answered in my life has made me realize that life, the future, will always be one big question mark. And if I’m going to enjoy the journey, I’m going to have to embrace that, embrace uncertainty. And be okay sitting back and watching the story unfold.

Whether C. and I fall in love and get married and have kids, or whether we date for a while, have a great time, and decide we aren’t really compatible, it will all just be part of the story – my story, his story, and the story of the universe we are both effective entities in.

But I think that, no matter what happens, I will be able to navigate it all gracefully if I sort of levitate above it all, seeing the events and circumstances that come from a universal perspective…

…believing that in the end reality – even with all its harshness – can have a happy ending, if I, if WE, believe it can and are willing to take action accordingly.

You Gotta Do What You Wanna Do

I’m wondering today if maybe deciding on a career is kind of like deciding on a significant other. I have realized that when it comes to relationships, its no good to try to reason yourself into one just because it makes sense on paper and looks good to everyone else. Just as you must ask yourself, “Do I want to be with this person?” you must also ask, “Is this what I want to do with my time? Is this how I want to spend my days?” And then you have to let your gut speak. And go with it.

I think we usually know what we want.

I think when we get confused about what we want, it is because we are letting all the millions of other voices in our heads (i.e. our mother’s or father’s voice, the media’s voice, the cool kid from 8th grade’s voice) get in the way and drown out our own inner voice.

There’s a song by the Mama’s and the Papas, the chorus of which says this:

You gotta go where you wanna go, Do what you wanna do, With whoever you wanna do it with…

I used to think that was really bad advice. I used to think, as a Christian, that my essential nature, my “gut” if you will, was broken and sinful and incapable of leading me well, and that I must therefore base my decisions on “the will of God,” which, as you might imagine, is a rather difficult thing to get a real handle on. At the end of the day, it usually came down to reason and logic, the advice of those I loved and respected, an overall aim to align my actions with the principles in the Bible that seemed good and made sense, and a last desperate prayer for Divine intervention if, after all, I was headed in the wrong direction.

Now that my perspective is a little different, I think the Mamas and the Papas might have had it right.

I’m not saying reason and logic should be thrown out. I’m not saying we shouldn’t seek advise from those older and wiser. I’m not saying that, in making decisions, we needn’t think about right and wrong and remind ourselves that our actions affect many lives besides our own.

What I AM saying, and what I think the M’s & P’s were getting at, is that life is too short to not spend your precious few days doing what it is in your heart to do. My reason and logic may tell me that being an oncologist, for example, is a noble and meaningful way to spend my time, but if I am miserable doing the things that the day-to-day life of an oncologist involves, should I really be doing them?

Is it better to be helping people in a huge, tangible way and be miserable, or to be affecting fewer lives on a smaller scale and be a happy, mentally healthy person? You may have your own answer, but my gut leans toward the latter.

The point of all this is, I think we SHOULD “go with our guts.” I think my “gut” or “the still small voice” inside of me – or whatever your particular perspective leads you to call it – knows what it’s talking about. I think that, maybe, it takes you directly and instinctually to the very place that reason and logic (untainted, of course, by all the “shoulds” and “coulds” and voices of the crazy world around you) would lead you eventually.

That little voice, after all, has been with you from the beginning. Always. Through everything. It knows you like no other person will ever be able to. It knows what you really want, deep down, because what you really want deep down is who you really are.

And doesn’t it seem like a better idea to live who you really are, than to try to live the life of some other person you think you should be?

I think I’m going to be a nanny and not a teacher…at least for now…because, when I am honest with myself, that is just what I wanna do.