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.)