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No White Knight

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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I have mixed feelings about this blog.
    One: I can relate because I feel I"m in a similar place job-wise and in a few other things in my life. Nothing major is wrong, but I'm searching for something and I'm frustrated that others can't wave a magic wand and give me what I want.

    Two: Seeing your words brought reality back to me. After I realized I've been feeling the same way, I wanted to offer you advice, advice I need to tell myself!

    Three: don't be so hard on yourself and, you know what, it's ok to lean on someone else for a short time. It seems he can handle it, so let him.

    Four: Have you thought about telling him about your reaction to not getting the gift? In all honesty, maybe he just forgot or didn't know how important it was to you.

    Five: Yes, you need to be practical, but there's a place for dreaming and dreaming big. Ultimately, you have to do some work to make those dreams come true, but do not ever limit yourself. "If you can believe it, you can achieve it." (Richard Bach)

    2546 days ago
    Wonderfully written :)
    2551 days ago
    You really know how to put your thoughts down, thoughts of so many of us on this journey. Thank you so much!

    2556 days ago
    Thank you for such a great blog !!! We are the Master of our journey, thanks for the reminder:).
    2557 days ago
    Good blog Jenn. I agree with you that you are the master of your own destiny. Gifts are great, but ultimately what you put into life is what you get out of it. That's the real gift.
    In Valentine's days past I would have been upset not to get flowers or candy and have a "special" day. This year after 17 years of marriage, I got a husband with a sinus infection, the pleasure of being a chauffeur to my children for various activities and a night to prepare for work. But I did enjoy a lovely dinner with my family and the love of being together. Sometimes Prince Charming comes with a sinus infection and other tasks-but that's okay. :) Good luck with your new career change-small steps can lead to big changes-but standing still gets ya nowhere.
    2557 days ago
    I can relate to what you are saying....there's a good book about the 5 love languages, I don't know if you've heard of it, but we all show and like to receive love in different ways, and once our partner knows which one it is (compliments, gift giving, touch, I forget the other two lol), then they know how to show us they love us in the way we like to receive it. But you are right, there is no white knight per se, and it is so important that we love ourselves first, as I know you do and have been working on as well. Just like there is no magic pill for the weight loss. You always provide such insight into these things, I really appreciate reading your blogs, I always learn something. Love you!
    2557 days ago
    Wise Woman you are, Jenn.
    It is SO hard to let go of that romantic crap we are fed since birth.
    But at age 66 I have to say that it is a liberation to realize that it's up to me, it's still up to me, it's always been up to me...and to look around and see a LOT of silver linings. Even though I am not "in a relationship," I am also not in a BAD relationship. I have wonderful friends and a nice place to live and a job that rejoices my heart at the same time that it exasperates me and doesn't pay enough for luxuries, but does pay enough that if I sacrifice and save a bit on little things, I can have some luxuries.
    And the main silver lining is - I am content.
    That is worth a tremendous amount.
    Blessings to you and you will get there to that silver lining place! emoticon
    2558 days ago
  • -POOKIE-

    I really feel the sentiments you are expressing here, and I really understand your feeling, Im feeling myself thinking similar things as well.

    Ultimately its down to us to be our own white knight and make things the best for ourselves.
    2558 days ago
    I hear you, girl!

    I'd love to be swept away from "Chunkyville" by a white knight - preferably in a truck full of delicious food LOL!

    Hang in there, you'll make it happen!

    Love and Lunges,
    2558 days ago
    This is a difficult lesson to learn. Some people never learn it. But if you get it you have the key to love, joy, fulfillment.... the whole deal. Have fun unlocking all the good stuff!
    2558 days ago
    I used to watch all the black & white movies of romance & the magical kiss that sealed the deal. I waited almost my whole life for that beautiful man to sweep me off my feet. I actually had that man all my life but still wasn't happy. I gave up on the fairytale but did I really have too? No, I just had to open to the possibilities & not kill his joy by allowing him a say in our life together. I say be patient & love always & will find a way. He might just surprise you when the time is right....

    God bless & enjoy everyday!

    2558 days ago
    Thank you for the eloquent and thought-provoking post.
    2558 days ago
    Powerful and life-changing blog. Thank you. I need to take more responsibility for my own happiness and stop blaming other people and circumstances. I needed the reminder.

    I bought my own valentine present this year. I got just what I wanted and LOVE it. I buy myself flowers too every once in a while.

    I've done the yo-yo on weight loss partly because I didn't understand the reality that reaching my goal wouldn't make me ultimately happy. I think it'll stick this time because I realize I can be happy and accepting of myself right now.
    2558 days ago
    This journey to healthy living is hard but it's filling with many insights along the way. Yes, we are responsible for ourselves and our own happiness. It is all on our outlook on life. Wake up with a good attitude, you will have a good day. Do something nice for someone else, it comes back to you 10 fold. Plateaus come and go, jobs come and go but finding contentment in your life is forever, you earn it and you deserve it. Here's to happiness!!
    2558 days ago
  • no profile photo DDCOP70
    My Mom who died 10 years ago had clipped this quote out of a newspaper and had it taped to the wall above her desk. After she died I kept it and read it everyday. I love your blog and look forward to reading your posts. You "get it" and you inspire me. You have amazing insight.

    "I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me." by Anna Quindlen

    2558 days ago
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