So there have been some interesting conversations over the past few weeks and the question keeps arising whether directed at me or I am asking someone else. It is interesting that friends, acquaintances and even my brother have been skirting this topic be it about life, work or relationships. That is a questions we ask of others from the time they are old enough to carry on a quasi-conversation. “Wat do you want to be when you grow-up?” We go through phases, teacher, astronaut, policeman, fairy-princess…. At some point we choose a career path and pursue it, along the way we may stumble into a relationship or lose sight of our dreams. We find ourselves all grown up and what do we want now? Do we get too old to dream? Is it appropriate to say what you want when life offers you the opportunity for a do-over?
So this was asked of me the other day, directly. Like the grown-up version of what do you want to be when you grow up. Do we often think of those things as you age? At 12 do we say I want to be in a healthy loving relationship, I want to be like Ward and June with the white picket fence? I gave up on my picket fence dreams over a dozen years ago and am enough of a realist to know that isn’t a possible reality, irrelevant of the effort but I believe one can have their version of happily ever after. I am not comfortable being that open with others and the conversation shifted but I left thinking. I want to be comfortable, knowing I can continue to provide emotionally and physically for my children until they are all grown, I want to be content with as many happy and joyous moments as there are ones filled with sadness and strife, I want to have the courage to always greet each day with openness and not fear, I want always be empathetic, kind, respectful even when life is difficult, I want to have a good circle of friends who laugh often and deeply, I want to see the sunrise and the stars shine in the sky, I want to have open wandering conversations with the people that matter to me and on occasion I want to sit in the woods and listen to the sounds or rest at the shore and feel the ocean lap against my feet. But I think she was meaning on more of a personal level, my ideal relationship if I were to infer from the rest of the discussion. I have a “never again will I tolerate” list and of course I have a list of things I would like, which include the classic items required for a healthy relationship but I pondered how I would even respond if this circled back through the conversation.
I want someone who knows how I take my coffee, whose presence makes me smile even when I am frustrated with life or even them, I want someone whose hugs make the world right and keep me grounded for just that moment, I want someone who sees it’s a not-quite-right day and stands with me through it, I want someone who can call shenanigans on me when needed, who will walk with my on my journey when it is sunny and on those gloomy difficult days, someone who doesn’t need to solve my problems for me but can hold out a hand when I need to get up after I have stumbled, someone who will always be on my side…. There are details and nuances that need to be shared with that person; much more than words can explain. When one considers how to answer that, it really isn’t for others but the two who come together to make it what they need, for it is theirs to create. I suppose it is the easy stuff to say too I want to be accepted, respected and loved wholly by who would be my best friend. Seems like a steep order in some ways but in other ways it is what I am willing to give and so much more. I just think of a friend’s Dad, the first time I met him he was sharing stories of his children growing up, of his wife and tears came to his eyes. In that moment I could see he loved her that day as much as ever and even almost fifteen years after he lost her and that love lived. I think of my grandfather, after he was widowed he looked for the characteristics of my grandmother he loved the most; often commenting on how I was like her in this way and that offered him such comfort. That is the type of love I want. How do you explain that to someone?
“I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight. But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.” ―Lisa Kleypas