Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Year I Stop Looking

“If only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time.”
--Edith Wharton

I said to myself that I wouldn't be making New Years resolutions. I'd already made some goals over the summer that I'm still working on; surely those are enough? But apparently I love to resolve things, because I ended up making at least five resolutions on January 1st. Most of them were just things to keep in mind, rather than actual activities. One of them was to stop looking, which I'll explain:

For most of my 26 years, I've been on an epic quest to find community and belonging. I've had successes, failures, and many moments of uncertainty. It's a worthy endeavor, but I feel like I've been going about it with the wrong mindset. And my mindset, I realized, was sort of the non-romantic version of those women in chick lit novels who are obsessed with finding their soulmate. It's set me up to feel like if I don't experience belonging, or a sense of community, that my life is a failure. And I don't think that's any better than thinking that your time is a waste unless you have a romantic partner to share it with.

To those chick lit women, you know how someone always says, "If you want to find love, stop looking?" My goal in 2011 is to "stop looking". Inside my "looking" is also a lot of worrying, because I've been known to worry in lieu of actually looking. I'm aware now that my looking and worrying were my attempts to solve a problem, but they did more harm than good. I worried that if I stopped looking, I would somehow become...wait for it...asocial, but I don't think that's realistic for me. If I want to start looking again in 2012, I can, but by then, I don't think I'll want to anymore. I imagine being more productive, freer, and more "present" in my current relationships, if you'll excuse the New-Agey term. I've spent too much time worrying about doing the "right" or "correct" thing in every social interaction, and I want to try to let go of that pressure.

I don't know how much sense this made, but I thought I'd give a go at posting it.


Anonymous said...

I think this is a very important thing to keep in mind.
I can't say I have actually "started" looking yet - there's just the vague idea of an "asexual life partner" I'm fancying since I don't know when.
However, knowing myself, I'm sure I'll find myself in the very same anxiety when I'll be forced out of my small social circle and into the big bad world (I'm hopefully starting college this october).
Well, now that I'm warned I'll take your resolution to heart.
Thank you for making me think about it.

Ily said...

Thanks for commenting. I think it's more a function of my own personality (over-analytical, anxious) than any universal truth. I don't think there's anything wrong with looking, but it's important to know that if you don't end up finding what you seek, it's not the end of the world. That's what I'm currently working on.

Buttercup Delirium said...

I like the philosophy behind this post very much. I'm a very social person, but in an odd way--I like to know people deeply, one-on-one, before I spend time in groups. As a freshman in college, I haven't had much difficulty making friends--or at least, people I put at a higher level of respect than acquaintances--but I have had problems getting connected with them. From a very young age, it has been observed of me that I love to have very close friendships, and that I expect a lot out of them. I'm not getting that from my friends here. But I think I've been trying too hard to force it out of them. Most likely, if I wait long enough and am open, either these friends will choose to deepen our friendship or I will find friends more willing.

I've actually noticed this as a trend in aces--we tend to have a powerful desire for emotional closeness and community. Perhaps this warrants a blog post? Just a thought.

Ily said...

Thanks! I'd wager that most people desire community and closeness. It might just be that aces talk or think about it more than most, because we have a greater need to find alternatives to the couples thing. I do have a "community" tag, here's a link to those posts, if you're interested:


Anonymous said...

I know what you mean, I've decidied to try and concentrate more on the few people I can get on with, and if I meet new people along the way and make more friends that's great, but I have stopped trying to 'force' relationships for the sake of being 'social'. I came across this book recentley, I have't read it yet but it looks interesting, so i thought I would let you know is is 'Friend v. Friend
The Transformation of Friendship--and What the Law Has to Do with It' by Ethan J. Leib

Daniel said...

Your blog is goo-ood!

It is true that when you stop looking it will come to you and usually so unexpected that it takes your breath away.

That's how it happened to me. I was made my mind that I won't get into The Relationship and, in few years, where do I find myself. In one. :)

All the best not trying to find what will find you. ;P


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