Living Small

I have no problem with the Buddhist assertion that life is suffering. I say this not in a cynical world weary sort of way. It’s just a statement of fact. Life involves suffering. What I struggled with is the idea that wants cause suffering. The want of power or money? Sure. That causes untold suffering. But the want of human connection? Human connection is part of our DNA. We are wired to want to be in a community. We are 60% water – cucumbers with anxiety. Humans can die of loneliness. Human connection is not just a want, it is a real and true need.

Perhaps this is a good time for a diversion.

On the shelf in my home office is a wish jar, a small clay pot holding one very tiny rolled up piece of paper. The rolled up piece of paper was blank. It wasn’t that I had no wishes, rather that I didn’t know how to be concise enough to write them down on a very small piece of paper. In February, I finally found my wish.

:: Deep Breath ::

I want to be the face that someone wants to come home to.

I haven’t ever been this. I’ve been convenient, I’ve been a habit, I’ve been an obligation. I’ve never been the thing that someone wanted. I’m the next best alternative. The fill in until something else comes along. A useful object, not a real person.

I want someone to take care of – to buy silly little gifts and make specials meals for. I want someone who remembers what I say, who asks me how that meeting I was worried about went. I want someone to help me figure out how to placate the electricity gremlins (they are angry again.) I want someone to curl up next to at night, to grow old with.

I want to be more than the next best alternative, the useful object, the thing you settle for.

It won’t happen. I realized after the last time, there is no person for me. There’s just me. I have some forms of human connection with friends, with colleagues, with volunteer work. I have enough resilience to solve my own problems, I have sufficient resources that I will not freeze to death or starve.

I just won’t be the face that someone ever wants to come home to.

And I keep thinking, if I could just let go of this want – even though it’s hard wired in me – it would be easier.

(Please, could I ask something? It’s a bit like when I realized that I wasn’t ever going to have children and people would tell me about their neighbour’s third cousin twice removed who miraculously got pregnant with triplets at the age of 44. I don’t want to hear stories about people who found someone. I’m glad for them, but it doesn’t help me. I need to figure out what happens now that I’ve realized I won’t find someone.)

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3 Responses to Living Small

  1. a says:

    I don’t think you can say you “won’t” find someone. That sounds like despair/depression/hopelessness. It calls forth the never say never principle, which is spectacularly unhelpful in the moment but more realistic, because we cannot actually predict the future. But I do think letting go of the want (as a driving force) and being content in your own company is a valuable ability.

    Everyone wants something. I want a dog – I’ll never get one because the only kind my husband would consent to are ones that I’m allergic to. Doesn’t stop me from wanting them or playing with other people’s or volunteering at the shelter. So, I adjust and make do with what I have.

    In other words, you don’t have to stop wanting, but you may have to accept that there’s no way for you to make it a goal to be met. There’s no way to force the issue. It isn’t some lack in yourself that you can take classes for or change for or accommodate. You’re who you are, and that’s a wonderful thing. It would be nice if the right person appreciated it, but if not…so be it.

    In short…dealing with other people is ALWAYS the problem. 😀

  2. We can never know what the future holds. I’ve often thought I do, but I am invariably wrong.

  3. Jane says:

    You are the face that your animals want to come home.

    Although they have some funny ways of showing it at times.

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