Sunday, February 14, 2010
A Valentine's Day-Induced Rant
The more I live life and go about the day-to-day grind, I am reminded more and more of how happiness and genuine peace come through achieving a balance and "reading between the lines" in a sense. Life never just gives us answers — sometimes we think we receive them, but there’s really no tried-and-true formula. No simple way to get around it. No obvious “quick-fix.”
It’s about learning, discovery, trial and error, connecting-the-dots. Finding truth in the midst of life's seeming dissonance and trusting in personal constants. Discovering and holding to the things that make us truly happy.
To me, there are sort of two trains of thought regarding our path within existence. One is the somewhat mundane, realistic view we cling to which fulfills our expectations and doesn't disappoint. We know what's coming — and though it's not usually special — it's nice to know what lies ahead.
However, there's a second view that encompasses what I like to call the "magic" portion. The special moments. Moving music. A beautiful view. Quiet moments with a special someone. Something ethereal that is often hard to create or sustain. But every once in a while you attain it. A sense of transcendence and clarity.
Instead of being completely idealistic or completely realistic, I try to be a mixture. Find or create "magic" in the day-to-day. Drive somewhere random. Go on a walk. Do something with someone — I don't know. Be realistic yet allow room for and know that the hopelessly romantic moments in life will and do come. I try not to get too burrowed in the day to day crap. As Artistotle said, “Virtue is in the mean.”
I think this applies to relationships as well. Nietzsche said “There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”
To me, that’s the balance in love. Reconciling “madness” (the magic) with the reason (practicality) that gives birth to that madness. But often, even finding someone worth throwing caution to the wind for is difficult in itself — a sometimes seemingly hopeless pursuit.
For the longest time I couldn't find anyone I was really interested in. Opportunities arose, but they were never the ones I really wanted to pursue. I just started wondering if the vision of romance that I had in my mind was too utopian. That I was setting my standards too high.
I just feel like a lot of people "settle" in a sense. But I've learned that relationships, the one's you really cherish, don't come along very often just like anything in life. But they do come. And they're worth waiting for.
Love is hard. Relationships can be (and often are) confusing and difficult. Often the sublime portions are masked under struggle and frustration. It isn't always the fairytale we envision. We open ourselves up and risk showing someone who we are — lay it on the line — and chance getting hurt.
Like Leonard Cohen penned in his timeless "Hallelujah," Love is not a victory march/It's not somebody who's seen the light/It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah.
So why do people repeat this apparent irrational behavior? I think it's because when we find those truly great relationships — the one's that really matter — we get back everything we risked. It will still be hard, but then again it was never meant to be easy.
It's about being able to embrace personal differences and love the other person, despite whatever problems you might have.
It is here — in the "mean" — that we find enduring happiness.
For true enlightenment, listen to Cohen's aforementioned song below, sung by Jeff Buckley (in my opinion, the best rendition of the tune).