When you watch romantic movies or not so romantic movies, when you dream of going to faraway places, when you think about those peak moments of your life and what you dream, do you think of the everyday? Do you think of everyday, run of the mill, average times? Not just the best, but the fair to mediocre moments too?
At what point do you stop giving up dreams of a future climax, a hazy imagining of all the realized hopes that ever could be, in favor of the not always wonderful reality you have before you?
At what point do you stop falling in love and out of love and start staying in love? Chemistry seems happenstance after a while- you have to appreciate the little things.
I can’t tell you how many people my age (mid 20s) that I know who really want love, who say they really want a family, who want to at least meet someone special. But when I look at themselves, and mostly, at me, I feel like what they really want is a guarantee of constant pleasure, a certainty of never being disappointed or hurt, and that they want the turmoil and assured victory of a romantic comedy- they don’t want the happy ending.
There was a great basketball coach who had won countless championships. When asked which day of his life he would like to relive, he said he would like to go back and run a good practice.
So this is what it seems to me: When you stay away from the middle parts, the imperfect, the needs work, the everyday hum drum satisfactory, and you only live for the peak moments of pleasure, though willing to withstand the often attendant pain, you miss the meaning of life.
The meaning of life isn’t winning the game, taking home the trophy, or the thrill of long awaited victory. It is the practice, the repetitions, the drills. It is when novelty wears off, a bit of the doldrums might kick in, and someone who loved it less woulld begin to ask what you are doing this for and is it really worth it.
Business school is not the graduation ceremony, or even the happy hours that are networking receptions that become routine, or the tests and papers and in my case, moves to multiple continents and the wonder that you find in first couple days.
No, business school is trying to get yourself to write a paper, getting frustrated, and falling in love unexpectedly.Like the One Direction says, I won’t let these little things slip away, though I wish this corporate finance would right now.
The messiness is life, the resolution is extroardinary, a taste of heaven. But if you think about it, really, the denouement is a bit less interesting, even if it takes an unexpected twists.
Porn and erotica are so bad because no matter how they might try to focus on the build up, they fail to appreciate that context is more important than climax, silence more communicative than speech, and just a brush on the hand can be more exciting, more meaningful, more intimate, more joy inducing than the most passionate, romantic, candlelit, animalistic, perfect sex. Those little moments where you think, “wow, he really does love me.”
Which is why, waiting for a phone call is a terrible agonizing, stressful, horrible thing. And I want to blame all my nerves and stress on past experiences, on a dude’s lack of commitment or not making me a priority, on my own insecurity and panic. I try to explain it away, all the tension, all the mystery, all the wonodder, even the fear that shows there is something to lose, and that sadness that attends any good thing in this world where so much is transient.
Being in a relationship is more about waiting for the phone call than the phone call itself, it is more about the phone call than the passionate declaration of love, it is more about the passionate declaration of love than the perfect moments in ecstasy it leads to, it is more about those passionate moments than the moment someone gets down on one knee and asks you to marry him, says i do, decides to have a baby with you, holds your hand as the baby comes out, comforts you in times of extraordinary loss, and every now and then surprises you with flowers just because. All of those things together make a life together, and may you never neglect to bring flowers home for no reason. But to be in a real relationship, and to be in love, I think you have to be comfortabel with the knot at the pit of your stomach while you are waiting for a phone call, that excitement and anxiety and sometimes, sheer joy of aliveness that you have something to win and something to lose.
I’m not ready to get married, or have a baby, or know with perfect certainty I’ve found the one. But i am ready to sail through some stormy seas and some clear skies with someone who might be. That’s what I really want right now. Mostly balmy weather, clear skies, a feeling of eternal summer, youth, love, spaciousness.
Crying on the train platform with no words coming to mind when he leaves, that is life. That is being alive. But so might be hearing “I love you,” for the first time (or the fiftieth) whether from him or maybe even from someone else, as God wills it.
I don’t want to be addicted to the storm and stress anymore, to the search for novelty that can become a routine if you don’t watch out. I don’t want to stop traveling, or live a monotone comfortable life, because that’s not me, not entirely. Although traveling may someday become my montotone comfortable life. Happiness is boring.
The realization of long awaited hell bent desire isn’t joy- it’s ego gratification. It’s the hedonic treadmill principle in action, and more will never be enough. It’s a trap.
But here, right now, this is happiness. 🙂