I’m a Beatles fan.
This is not breaking news. This is not earth shattering new information. Most that know me, know I’m a Beatles fan. And being such, somehow automatically also makes me “not so much of a Rolling Stones fan.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the Rolling Stones. They have some songs I enjoy. But as a whole, I’m on team Beatles.
With all of that being said, I do wonder if the Rolling Stones were right in saying “you get what you need.” Do you?
I’m happy and proud to say that I have a good marriage. I have a good wife. And I know you may say “well Mel, you have only been married a few months,” which is true. But, Sam and I have been together almost 9 years, living together most of those years, so it’s felt like we have been married forever. In my heart, we were married years ago.
I bring this up because my wife and I always have such interesting conversations. We both feel things deeply, and analyze our lives often.
It’s natural to us to examine jobs, education, family relationships, friendships, habits, home, and marriage. With examinations come questions, confusion, loneliness, compassion, and goals to make changes in one direction or another.
STEP AWAY FROM THE MIRROR
I’m a big believer in perspective; meaning, we can shift how something looks by shifting our viewpoint. If I’m feeling “less than” during a particular day, I may focus on my hair that doesn’t hang the way I like, or goals I’ve yet to reach, or the ways my body aches more and more day to day. I look in the mirror and see all the flaws. And believe me, it’s a challenge for me to look past those physical imperfections. I see that having a dark complexion comes with unwanted body or facial hair. Not a plus for a woman in this society. I realize that even though I had braces for 5 ½ years of my youth, my teeth have shifted into not just a position that causes painful cheek biting at night, but also a very imperfect smile. My arms were once pretty muscular and toned, and now they surely show my age, and the wear and tear. My once proud 6 pack (I’m being generous here) abs are no longer so ripped.
That is the view I honestly see, if I don’t step to the side and change my viewpoint.
If I want, however, I can look beyond the imperfections and insecurity points and see some beauty. Because the truth is, there is beauty to see; with me, with you, and with most people.
The view depends greatly on the viewpoint.
THE VIEW FROM LONELY HILL
Sam and I often talk of loneliness. I think it’s one of the great struggles in this very complicated life. My truth is that I have more family in my life than I can actually find time for, I have good friends at work, I have a wife I love to pieces, and a few old and amazing friendships. How could I ever, remotely, feel lonely? I don’t know, but I do. And I suspect I’m not alone in having this feeling.
I think loneliness is just another part of the human condition. And I don’t know that it’s necessarily something we should rush to fix. It may be like that perfect mirror we long to find, where we look into it and see a reflection without imperfection. It’s illusive for a reason; it doesn’t exist. There is no perfect mirror, and I really don’t believe there is a permanent elixir for loneliness.
Sometimes we are lonely because we are all alone. And sometimes, we are surrounded by people, but still long for more connection. In our world now, it seems that we are overly connected; I can reach a friend in California or Texas or Washington almost instantly. I know what many people in my life are doing, most days of the week. And unfortunately, you all probably know what I’m doing most days, too. So, we are all pretty connected.
I’ve read many articles lately that suggest that our forms of connections are just leading to more unhappiness, and I honestly say I see the point. It does pass the smell test as true. But even if it is, I don’t think the concept of loneliness is new in the last decade. It seems to me from conversations with people who came before me or from reading in books from years past, that loneliness has been around a lot longer than mirrors have been.
So, in those moments when I feel lonely, I try and do a few things. I try not to stress out about it. It’s only loneliness, after all I also try to remember that loneliness is just another part of life, and that like everything else on this planet, it will pass.
And most of all, while I work to let it wash away to happier emotions, I’m cognizant of my viewpoint. Instead of thinking how I miss this friend or that friend who might be far away, or how I miss my folks who spend the winter states away, or how I miss many people who have long such passed away, I think how lucky I am to go home to someone I love. I remind myself that I go into work every day and see people that make me smile. I let my mind do a private little music video of the people that have been integral in my life. Sometimes that video adds to sadness, I’ll admit, but it shifts me away from loneliness. Not everyone has the same antidotes to loneliness, but I feel strongly that each person has their own viewpoint that reveals real connection and love with others.
THE VIEW YOU WANT, OR THE VIEW YOU NEED?
Even though I want to never feel loneliness or a sense of less than, I can’t always get what I want. But, if I change the viewpoint from which I’m experiencing these emotions, I might just see a view I need to see.