Most people have a plan for their lives, and a type of person they would like to be. At least, I would assume that the tortured, often guilty feeling people like myself adhere to this pattern. We hope that where we find pleasure pleases others, or at least corresponds to the vision we have of ourselves. We build our own box, and hesitate to venture beyond it. We build the box because a world without limits is just too scary.
Since one particular heartbreak, which was complicated by issues of intercultural understanding, I have tried to find love with someone of a similar background. There’s where I wanted to find it, un-PC as that may sound; studies show, many happy couples in my life exhibit, and the age-old proverb “opposites attract, but similarities last” would suggest that it’s not that unwise of a plan. And where do I find my first dating experience in the approximately 3 years since trying out this philosophy? Someone from a different continent, culture, and religion. Who, if I were to marry, would complicate and challenge many of my own ideas of identity, belonging, and life philosophy. Well, that hasn’t lasted, so I guess I can’t prove the wives’ tales wrong yet, but I have to say that it happened when I least expected it, probably because I was expecting it to be where it wasn’t. I would refrain from saying I don’t adhere to the general rule, but that maybe I am not looking at the right similarities and differences. Maybe those aren’t the key similarities I most need to share, although for reasons of pleasing my parents, not complicating my life, and having less difficulty communicating and understanding the other person in the relationship, I can’t say I don’t want to meet and marry someone more similar in terms of background.
I feel like I should be happy in DC. In fact, I think I could be happy in DC, and have been many times. But sometimes, my heart yearns for Paris. And there, the stars aligned to give me the time of my life in the past, which has no bearing on the future. Again, I would like to be a normal person and just stay in my native land where I can meet a similar guy, not deal with immigration issues, and not worry if I’m using my words out of context (I am a native English speaker after all). But will I actually do this? And will I find happiness there? I don’t know.
The issue of looking for happiness seems more complicated and silly these days by the fact that, knock on wood, and with the grace of God, I actualy AM happy. Already. Without a man or a job. Well, dawgonnit. And I can probably be happy almost anywhere[although I skipped on jobs that required constant moving every few years- I do want to have a little more reason to move than somebody told me so, and to move where I want to move].
Wanting to be happy in something that would please your parents is a pretty natural impulse. It is kind of the final frontier of people pleasing. When people ask you, Do you know what you want? and I say, I don’t know, it probably has as much to do with not only pleasing my parents but with satisfying my own preconceptions of the “value” of a job. Wanting to satisfy all the prejudices I carry and do something the younger, less enlightened me, would appreciate.
The only remedy is to keep an open mind and be alert to what you want in the moment. I can’t be sure until I listen closely to my heart. These questions aren’t really for the mind. They can’t be rationally deducted, or even influenced by emotional fears. They have to come from a more present, and maybe deeper place.
So give it up. Maybe you are just never going to like chess, football, soccer, wine, that new show everyone is talking about, or the indie band people with taste say you should like or be labeled a fool. Maybe happiness comes in unexpected places, and that’s what makes the world go round. And maybe you aren’t that different after all, and you should just be happy to be happy, knowing it’s a blessing.
The Lord works in mysterious ways.