Archives for the month of: June, 2015

I am insecure in many things, but one thing I never doubt is my intellect. I am so unabashedly confident in my brainpower that I sometimes feel pretty certain that this is one of my faults. I am not much of a self-starter. I really, truly, want to be, but I just am not. I need to be held accountable to someone or someplace. When I am held accountable to a task for which I am qualified, my work is equal to or better than the work of any other able person. I’m sure you get it; I have sincere confidence in my work. Please don’t misunderstand: I don’t boast too often, but I do feel genuinely as though I am very able in the things I do and the work I produce. Why, then, have I encountered such periods of utter uncertainty lately? It can’t be that I didn’t have logical thought processes, right? The only reasonable explanation I have invented thus far is that I must have been/am experiencing the quarter-life crisis. It’s kinda bad news that I’ll only live to be eighty-eight, but what can you do? I’m taking the time to note my quarter-life crisis’ steps because I didn’t recognize that I was entering this mania when I first began.

It was January. I was working in a job that was a terrible fit for me (by this point I had given up hope that I might become qualified and succeed in my position). I was enrolled in the last college course I needed to fulfill my Bachelor of Arts degree. I had been living in the same small town for 2.5 years. I was feeling restless.

In January, I began talking of my need to move. I needed to go live in a concrete jungle (probably not- I find concrete mostly fun to visit but getting well-acquainted in the past hasn’t served me perfectly). I needed to explore. I felt antsy. I felt almost free (from school, I guess? In actuality I have been free for my entire life). I’m not super wise. It was a recipe for disaster. I stopped my job in March. Why? Because I needed to not work there anymore. Why didn’t I get another job? Because I was going to be moving to some crazy (beloved) place like NYC so soon that it would be impractical to get a job. I pride myself in being extremely employable and didn’t want to quit a job after only a couple of months (that’s fair, I think). Also, I was going to write and travel all summer (currently I am involved in the traveling I had planned). So, here I am. It’s June. I have changed my mind over and over. Though I must appear as though I am a total loon as I switch plans sometimes twice in one week, I actually think I’m working my way out of my mess. I think I understand now that I need to switch up my surroundings more frequently than I had been, but this doesn’t necessarily mean I need to move. I need to be far busier and be unafraid to busy myself. I need to live a life that is simple yet satisfying. I need to delve deeper into my connection with the Universe. And that’s all I need. And it’s possible and it will happen. And even though I don’t write as often as I should, even though I change my mind, even though I am not quite what some people wish I were or could be, I’m fine for me. And I will become better and better for me. Life is and should be a constant journey. Never stop growing.

Sometimes, I fancy my own human experience as one which must be distinct from most others; I mean, we all tend to think we’re so unlike the others around us. The reason I mention this idea is that it often drives me away from wanting to share pieces of advice that I have found to be practical. My self-opposition when writing pieces like this comes from the desire to not come across as though I, by some miracle, have vast and profound knowledge of how to best live a life, and also to provide information that will be useful to those reading. So, if that makes any sense, on to my point: I think we’ve been societally taught to love improperly.

It seems like we engage in romantic love selfishly. We expect material items, affection, attention; we expect people we love dearly to proclaim their returned love for us. It seems natural, because that’s how it has been taught to us (not that I have found anyone has consciously tried to pass their understanding of love to me). Love, until my recent (bizarre – I’m not really sure how it happened) epiphany, seemed kind of ambiguous, kind of elusive. They always say ‘you’ll know it when you’ve found it’. Okay, maybe. I knew, before I gained my new understanding, that I had and have serious love for my boyfriend. But just because you know you’ve got it doesn’t mean you know how to manage it. Love is a gift. It is a strong bond between (at least in the scenario I am discussing) two people. If you’ve got it, does it really make sense to put pressure on it? To ruin (and maybe dissolve) it with rules and requirements? That isn’t how it grew. That’s how it’s killed. Your options are, as I see it: A) Do your own thing completely: pay for everything, clean everything, endure everything, have no one to share your experience with. B) Do mostly your own thing: pay for most, but not all, things, clean some, but not all, things, have someone to share trials with, have someone to discuss life with. C) Be expectant (heck, it might even be unspoken expectation): expect the one you love to carry much of the total load concerning money, chores, emotional issues, and push them so that they have no desire to share their life with you (your harbored resentment is sure to guarantee that you won’t want to share your life with them, either). Option A leaves you to yourself. Option B leaves you in a partnership where you don’t keep tabs on expected returns on your investment, but instead keep tabs on happinesses and memories you’re collecting with someone you love enough that you live with and see them constantly without (ideally – and in my case) being annoyed. Option C leaves you feeling slighted: like you invested in a stock that is not dependably increasing in value (although it probably is increasing more than you think if you remember to look). Option C makes you combative and unhappy and will likely leave you estranged from someone you were once able to see for hours each day, every day, for months and years on end without becoming so sick of them you never wanted to see their face again. Take a moment to realize how impressive and special that bond is: in my experience, when I had a friend spend the night in my youth, after about day four – despite the fact that they had done nothing wrong – I was ready for them to be out of my line of sight immediately. That doesn’t happen when you love someone romantically. We forget to make this comparison when we are loving with expectation.

True love conquers all. Love that is forgiving, generous, honest, and expects nothing is a gift with true magnanimity, and that is the only love that has a place in a serious relationship. That’s the only way to make it work; if you choose this path, you keep yourself, your partner, and your family’s happiness at its highest. It’s a difficult concept to master, definitely. We have been taught to practice self-preservation, and with that comes some selfishness. Self-preservation is fine, but it has no place in a relationship where your objective is to become one with your partner. Self-preserve together against the world, but not against one another. It’s taken me a long time to learn this, as I’ve mentioned, and I’ve acted completely out of congruence with what I am preaching today in the past. All that we can do is manage the present; I am striving daily to make the changes within myself that are necessary to reach this achievable level of perfect love that I’ve recently come to understand exists. It is a journey that I expect will never be complete: I will always strive to become more of what I need to be to make my current love a perfect love. I am grateful that I have this opportunity and pray I’ll keep it.