I’ve realized that I have this problem, and it’s that I want everything. I want to have my cake and eat it too. Even being logical about it doesn’t really help, because we all know what happens to people who try to have their cake and eat it too. They either lose everything or literally lose everything, because they die via sudden freak accident. What I mean is that greed becomes a person. At some point, wanting everything and thinking it’s possible to have everything becomes madness. You get all ruthless and forget all about the people you love, you even let your cat die, and in the end, nothing is enough.
I’ve been sitting on this ask for awhile now, and the timing is sorta impeccable because ‘Skinny Love’ just popped up on my iTunes. Bon Iver, the Patron Saint of Heartbreak, has blessed this post.
This is a tough one because there is no black and white answer for this. I think marriage is a commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly (for a very vivid example of Holy Matrimony Don’ts, just refer to Hollywood) and is worth waiting for. But I am also a big fan of the concept of divorce in the fact that it can release people from what can be a loveless, constricting relationship.
I’d like to say that I live in a constant state of self-analysis. I’m an analytical person, okay — I overanalyze, and I’ve been told this by friends as both a bad thing and, well, just a me thing. Once my BFF Ann said, “If you stopped overanalyzing, you’d stop being you.” Which can be taken in any way, but it’s just as well, because I don’t know how to stop it. But what I can do is point it inwards, and use it to be more aware of myself and all of the junk going on in there.
Last night a few friends and I had some coffee at Starbucks after dinner. We like to have coffee and gab to each other. We’re girls. We talk. About anything and everything. But something that has been a point of contention amongst us is stuff like marriage and IF there is “The One” and relationships. It’s in these conversations that I can track the changes that have been happening to and inside me.
I still remember the very first REAL conversation I had with two of my friends now. We were out on a morning walk (that’s right - we’re old ladies) and they told me they didn’t believe in romantic love. And I was like, but why not! There’s a reason for all of those love songs! Not all things crash and burn! Some really Hallmark bullshit. But it was genuine, guys. This stuff, me going on about how love can be great, how being with someone can make you grow and learn about yourself, I really believed that love, despite all of the gold bangle million dollar wedding shit people lay on, is pure and good and amazing if you really saw it without the make-up. Like a really beautiful girl, love is even more amazing when it isn’t dressed up and caked with superficial ornaments. And I thought, if only people could see that like I could. I could have easily been jaded, too. I saw my parents and I didn’t see the love that pretend people like Cinderella and Prince Charming did. It would have been so easy for me to have said just because I didn’t see it there, that it didn’t exist. Maybe a little even too easy.
I’d gone on that spiel plenty of times, including to this guy a few years ago. He was a good looking cat but he was young, from a broken home, and was jaded. I asked him if had ever been in love, and he said that no, he hadn’t, but that the fact was irrelevant. “I don’t have to have ever been in love to know that it’s all bullshit,” he said. I said, “Call me when you fall in love so that I can personally come over and watch you stick your giant-ass foot in your mouth.”
From Walter Otts:
Should we want to live forever? The ‘should’ here is rational, not moral: our question is not whether it is morally right to want this, but whether it’s rational to want to live forever. What gives us a reason to do anything? Our desires are part of this, but so is the fact that our time as living beings is limited. This familiar fact is brought home by our behavior. Suppose you have an entire weekend in which to write a take-home exam. Chances are good that you will not write it Friday night, for you have Saturday and Sunday to do it. Now suppose that you have an infinite amount of time in which to do it: what reason do you have to do it now as opposed to tomorrow, or ten years from now, or a million? Our reasons for doing things are conditioned on our nature as temporally limited beings….
[…] Immortality cannot be the goal of a rational person. Our lives make sense to us only on the assumption that they will end. We can be interesting to ourselves only to the extent that the narrative of our lives is limited. Imagine embarking on an infinitely long book: there is no reason to continue reading, since, although you don’t know the ending, you know that there is no ending. Each event in the book would to that extent become meaningless.
Meghan on why we die while reading my Bible.
Get ready for this glob of psuedo-philosophical nonsense. It’s been festering in my head for a while.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the meaning of life. It always used to be such a daunting question for me before, but when it came up, my generic answer was that I think the meaning of life is to contribute the best you can for the good of humanity, however big or small. It was a safe answer. It promoted civic responsibility. But it had never occurred to me that maybe there is no answer — because maybe life is, in fact, meaningless.
I’m going to go ahead and say that back then I don’t think I had the capacity to even think of a meaningless universe. Even now I have a hard time comprehending the idea. Because we’re humans, right? What makes us human? The capacity for us to put meaning behind meaningless things. Like: the flower to the universe is just a flower. A plant specimen. But for us, it’s a symbol for beauty, and nature, and delicateness. That, in my opinion, is what separates us from all living organisms. Not our capacity for love, not our language, not thought. It’s our sentimentality.
Ignoring my obsession with this song right now (so sultry and oddly seductive for a song called ‘video games’), watching the video and seeing what Lana Del Rey actually looks like, I couldn’t help but think to myself — how unfair is it that pretty people actually manage to be talented, too? How has the world not internally combusted?
Remember when pretty people were just good at being pretty, and everybody else decent-looking had to have that ONE THING they were especially good at (or be decent at many things, that works too) just to get by? And then you get people like Lana Del Rey and St. Vincent and how do we not just throw up our hands and drown ourselves in the bathtub?
I have always been intrigued by the idea of soulmates — who isn’t, right? It seems quite unreal. Two people who belong together, perhaps picked out for you even before you were conceived, out of the other 5.9999 billion people in this world. If there was magic, that would be magic. But it wouldn’t be called that. It would be called fate, or destiny.
My intrigue and fascination with soulmates was reawakened when I went to see Crazy, Stupid Love with some friends. For a film so real and sometimes painful to watch, it deals with something so relatively unreal as soulmates. You leave the film wanting to believe that soulmates are real, and that somewhere out there, there is one person that has been tailored specifically for you, that will be the Yin to your Yang, the chopped nuts and whipped cream topping to your chocolate fudge sundae, the Link to your Princess Zelda. And it’s a little unfair, really, when you’re still in the limbo of believing in something as fantastical as ONE PERSON YOU’RE DESTINED TO BE WITH (I proposed the idea of having a top 5, not just THE ONE for soulmate candidates) — an idea you can entertain, especially when snuggling up with your sappy romcoms, but never really… take seriously.
I have asked my friends whether they believe in soul mates. Almost all of them do, except for one — and she made some pretty valid points about why, I only wish I could remember them now. Today I sat down with my old bestie Ann and had some coffee and dessert, and I ended up asking her this question. Ann, who has been in a relationship for a considerably long amount of time, said Yes. We discussed it, and I told her I was on the fence. The hopeless romantic that I endlessly entertain wants to, but the cold, hard realist in me just can’t seem to take it seriously enough. To me, the idea of soulmates is like the girl that walks by wearing jean short shorts and Uggs.
So Ann, ever the fearless one, looks at the time and then me and proposes an idea. “Let’s walk up and down the street and ask random strangers if they believe in soulmates.” Like it’s as easy as asking for directions.
your philosophical tweet quota has been filled for the day, and: you’re welcome.
One time my friend Earl and I were talking about dating and all of the different “terms” we have for dating (“going out”, “seeing each other”, “dating”, “hanging out”) and he asked me to define all of them. Which I couldn’t. Because it occurred to me that I can’t really differentiate clearly between all of them, which totally blew my mind, because I know for different people they mean different things. And then he says, “See, I hate having to label something. Because the moment you label something, you start to put restrictions on it.”
“And expectations,” I added, and he nodded. “And expectations mean disappointment.” I mean, wouldn’t it be great to live life without expectations? That way everything good that happened to you would just be pleasant surprises and there would be no disappointments.
And then I got to thinking about how far back expectations go, and how expectations have become such an innate and fixed part of our human psyche. I think of the first caveman that accidentally started rubbing two stones or sticks together to make a fire. (I think we can all pretty much say that the first fire was an accident.) But then, seeing the fire as a result of what he had been doing, he starts doing it again — and that’s when expectation comes in. We had seen it happen, cause and direct effect, so we begin to anticipate it.
That’s a more concrete example of expectations, I guess. Direct cause and effect. Then we get to the more complicated stuff - expectations based on language and behavior and relationships. The fact is that expectations are a learned trait. Think of it as a dog getting a trick right and getting rewarded with a treat. I.e. I work hard and do all my work so I expect good grades and am disappointed when I don’t get them. But where do unrealistic expectations come in? And can it be cured with endless rational training? And what is the real difference between hoping and expecting, when both of them can both end in disappointment? What is hope if not partly expectation? Like in love. We all show up on love’s doorstep with expectations - grand expectations - even some of us, who know better than that.
And that is the part where I think expectations are so human. We take it to a level that other animals can’t - the part where we can rationalize an expectation is unrealistic and decide to scrap it, yet can’t. Innately, something keeps us from letting go of it. I struggle with this, mostly with my expectations of other people. I am incredibly idealistic. I expect people to know better, to make better decisions, because they are intelligent beings. I tell myself over and over again that that just isn’t how the world works, but a little part of me is always a little disappointed.