Thursday, February 16, 2012
This week has been a somewhat somber reality check in the aftermath of Valentine's Day - supposedly the most romantic day of the year.
My reality check? Fairy tales don't exist. Neither does Prince Charming, or Cinderella, or Happily Ever After.
No - nothing is wrong in my relationship. In fact, we're better than ever and had a really lovely Valentine's Day skating at the top of the city and eating gourmet cupcakes. Le sigh. I'm still very much in love with my wonderful man.
But as wonderful as he is, he is not here to save my life. He is not going to whisk me away and make all of my problems disappear. And it would be really terrible of me to demand that of him.
But the problem is that I HAVE been demanding that of him. And of other people too. I am enamoured with the romantic notion that there is some magical key to my ultimate happiness - and I don't think I'm alone in this method of thinking.
"If I just lose the weight, I will have everything I truly desire"
"If I find the perfect man, we'll get married and have babies and my life will be perfect"
"If I get the perfect job, I will never be unhappy again a day in my life"
Well - that's just not the way it works. Life, is life. And it's going to continue being life with all of its crazy ups and downs, regardless of dramatic weight loss, weddings, babies or any other big events that really only serve to sway the course temporarily before life carries on, day after day after day.
Existential much? Perhaps. But I'm finding lately that coming smack up against The Human Condition as we all share it is helping me through the worst boughts of loneliness and depression and dissatisfaction. Sometimes telling it like it is and excepting it as that is the best thing that any of us can do.
So what brought this on? As romantic as my Valentine's Day was, I had hinted at a gift that I really wanted a few weeks ago and I didn't get it. And that upset me. I had fantasized about our perfect night together, and that had included me getting this gift from him. When that didn't happen it honestly felt like my hopes and dreams were crushed...just a little. I immediately jumped to blaming him for my hurt - did he not get the hint? did he not love me as much as I love him? was he insulted that I had suggested he buy me a gift in the first place? am I not worth it? But I knew there was something that felt wrong about being mad at him for such a silly thing. And there is something wrong - but it isn't with Nikhil.
I'm not happy with my life right now. My job is sucking all the joy and energy and desire from my daily existence. I am desperately trying to find somewhere new to go, but the job market is terrible and we all know that. This is going to be a long battle. Add to that the fact that I'm not just trying to change jobs, I'm trying to start a whole new career path for myself. And one that nets me more money at the end of the month. Not an easy task. I'm also still in Plateauville, but, DUH, for obvious reasons. So it's only natural that I would seek salvation in the one thing in my life that IS going well - my man.
Imagine the pressure he must feel having to live not only his own life (and do amazingly well at it), but also be responsible for making mine better! That's so unbelievably mean of me, I'm ashamed. But can you blame me? Who doesn't want to be saved? Who doesn't want to be swept off their feet and taken away from all their worldly issues? Shrink this down to a smaller scale though and ask simply - who doesn't just want to be hugged and told it will all be better soon?
The gift that I wanted? It would have bought me maybe a week of gloating on Facebook, showing it off to all my friends, being made to feel special for a short period of time. And yes - that would have felt great. I could surely use a dose of that right now and I'm still mourning not getting it. But after those 3 days of happiness, life would come back with a vengeance. I'd still be in Plateauville, I'd still be working my sucky job, and despite a really nice gift, I'd still be in the same place with the person that I love. Changed, but only briefly.
They are right when they say you can't buy happiness. And that goes for all kinds of currencies. Money, pounds, food. No amount of any of those things is going to create the kind of change in your life that yields a true feeling of contentment.
However, they are also right when they say that we are each the masters of our own destiny. I am the only person that can control my personal fulfillment. No one else is going to get me a new job. No one else is going to live a healthier life for me. I'm in charge of doing all those things for myself. And ultimately, it's better that way anyway since I'm the one that's going to benefit from it.
It sucks - not getting what you want. And it sucks when you REALLY realize that no one else can be responsible for your happiness but you. Because it's then that you know that it's a long road ahead and it's going to be a lot of hard work. And that sucks too. But the rewards reaped are going to be a bigger payoff. I've felt that and I know that, I just have to keep reminding myself of that. It doesn't make it any easier, but just because there aren't Princes and Castles and Fairytale Endings, doesn't mean there aren't Silver Linings.