So here’s a question for you. This Zen Buddhism concept of letting go of that which you desire most: How do you NOT want something that you really want?
On NYE in a moment of drunken honesty, I confessed to a stranger that there is a really big hole in my life … I was of course, talking about love.
And it’s silly in some ways. Because my life is filled with love. There are many people who I love. There are many people who love me right back. And I am blown away by the quality of people who love me. They tend to be of the emotionally intelligent, funny, generous, talented, and quite simply remarkable variety.
But of course, I am talking specifically about romantic, intimate love. This is what is lacking in my life and has been for a decade.
Days after my confession, this lady brought it up again, saying she’d been thinking about what I had said. She looked at me with such sadness and earnestly told me I needed to find happiness within myself before I could find happiness with someone else.
I didn’t need to think about this for more than a moment. Wanting intimate love has nothing to do with not being happy within myself. I like myself. In fact, I can honestly say I love myself. Not all of me, not all of the time. But mostly. I can rattle off a dozen reasons why I am lovable. But I also see myself for the imperfect being I am – I am completely okay about being a work in progress.
In response to Brene Brown, can I honestly say, “I am enough.”? More often than not: Yes. Some days, no … And that’s okay.
This doesn’t take away from the fact that I feel there is an empty space waiting to be filled.
I have watched so many of my friends fall in love, share joyous moments with their partner, unite in front of all their family & friends in beautiful ceremonies, create their first home together, miraculously produce healthy babies, and then find their way through the chaos to go on to become amazing role models for their kids.
I know it’s not always perfect. In fact, very rarely so. I know that many of my male friends desire more freedom & more sex. I know that many of my female friends desire more freedom & more help around the house. And that’s just the beginning. But none of this detracts from the fact that I want all of this for myself. Flawed as it can be.
I realise that it is precisely for the fact that I don’t have all those things right now – that i am able to travel in the way that I am. And don’t get me wrong – I am extraordinarily grateful for the opportunities that have come my way & the choices I have made. What better way to distract yourself from the fact that you are feeling lonely than to busy yourself with the joys of travelling?
And right now, I am more content than I have ever been. I love seeing how other people live. I love seeing different landscapes. I love eating different food. I love hearing different beats. I love having intimate conversations with people I’ve only just met. More than anything, I love having time.
I smile most of the time, most of my days.
But I am tired of waiting. And there’s a part of me that feels I am running out of time.
I have just finished reading The Time Traveller’s Wife. And to be honest, i really struggled with it. It’s well written but I found it laborious. The plot jumps about so much, it’s disconcerting. I found it difficult to truly connect with the characters. And it irritated me how she was forever waiting for him. But it did make me think alot about love. and time. and the gift that is bearing children. the stuff we can’t control.
Let’s park the idea of intimate love for just a moment.
I will be 42 this year. If I am to have a child, it needs to be soon-ish. I have moved my cut-off year for having kids a few times now. 30. 35. 40. Soon it just will not be an option.
So given there is presently no-one to have / raise a child with – it seems I need to decide whether i am prepared to go it alone. Not really what i want. Besides it feels like that choice comes with the consequence of accepting I would be single for the indeterminable future. Which is something I don’t really want, either.
So I feel like I need to give up this very strong urge of mine to become a mother. Something I have always felt I would be great at. How do you NOT want something that you really want?
Let’s assume for a moment I can do this. That I can just write it off & forget about it. (And this is a point I feel I am coming closer to.) Then that eases the pressure of having to find someone love, by a certain date. Which should in theory, make things easier.
But it doesn’t. Because today, right now: I still crave intimate love. Sometimes it’s just a fleeting moment, carried away on a summer breeze. Sometimes it’s a big achy hole I can feel inside my belly. That is what I was talking about on NYE.
So how does one give up on the desire for intimate love? Isn’t it our desire to connect with other people, and with one person in particular, that which keeps us going? I believe we all want to find that one person who ‘gets us’. Who will silently sit by our side if we’re sad. Who will fall about the place laughing at the same things we find pee-your-pants funny. Who will bring us a hot drink when we’re feeling unwell. Who will spontaneously tell us we’re beautiful. Who will gently set us straight if we’re not seeing things clearly. Who we can share our stories with. Who will encourage us to get our there & chase our dreams. Who will know how to pleasure us Right There.
And moreover, who will inspire us to do all those things for & / or with them. Who will make our heart skip a beat when we see them. Who will motivate us to be a better human being.
I have often questioned why love hasn’t come my way. There’s a bunch of possible answers to that question. I know there are certain things that I do and don’t do which could influence this. Recent events have taught me some valuable lessons. I won’t go into those here. What I will say is this:
It’s one thing to want something. It’s another to be open to it. It’s another to invite it in. And then another thing altogether to let it be.
We do need to be vulnerable. We do need to take risks. But we also simultaneously need to practice detachment.
How do you NOT want something that you really want?
Trust. That the universe knows best. It’s that simple. And yet, that complicated.
Diana Ross was right when she said, “You can’t hurry love.”