Life’s Lessons Learned
How to Hold On
One of the maxims I have always subscribed to :
“You’ll never learn how to swim unless you’re thrown in the deep end of the pool”
But how does one learn the life lessons we all need to accumulate and take to heart and practice and still remain un-jaded, fresh, up-beat…in short, hopeful, when all the really important lessons we learn whether in business, family life or love, are hard fought, often bitterly won and almost inevitably leave us with something less than an appetite for reliving them or even remembering them past the next cocktail we down in order to blunt the sting of their memory?
In short, how do we maintain the storyline of our individual lives while continuing to grow together?
I ask this somewhat academic question particularly in light of one’s long term committed relationships marriages, partnerships…whatever.
There are those of us who have managed, by luck, work, sheer force of will or some combination thereof, who turn around one day and suddenly realize that we are now the extremely lucky few who have what the rest of the world, including the Kardashians, purport to desire.
A long term, stable, loving partner.
How does this happen in a world of built-in obsolescence, laser tattoo removal and quick fixes?
When the rest of society and most of our siblings, friends, cohorts and even parents are busy moving on, creating new life dialogs for themselves, ones that more frequently than not include the jettisoning of their significant loved ones along the way, how did we (the royal “We” in use here) manage to luck out?
Was it luck?
We know we started out like all the rest of the dewy-eyed newbies, learning to love each other, building a shared base of experiences to communicate into, around and through; formulating how we would present ourselves to the rest of our friends, society…. the world at large.
The first use of the word boyfriend/girlfriend, the unfamiliar thrill of having one of these sought after objects no less the delicious taste the saying of it left on the palate.
Endorphins on high.
For those that can marry (another subject altogether), those limeratic stages of affianced, newly-wed and then married. For those who cannot, the dreaded “partner” word, so enigmatic, so inadequate, so second rate and settling-sounding, adds an entire other level of internal and external pressure to “be” something that there is no definition for.
So those who choose to “partner”, by nature of the non-institution within which they now reside, must work even more assiduously to define themselves, both to each other and to their peers. And this defining, this work, this quiet introspection that each member of the team undertakes within themselves and wrestles with in their respective cores, becomes a tensile strength filament that they each can hold onto in the absence of the more traditional proscribed tenets that their legal counterparts take for granted.
Does this make them stronger…..or simply different in their pairings?
I think both.
But no matter the style and legal substance of the union, the life lessons we all rack up on the abacus are the same and so the questions we all face about the ways in which we navigate these twisting, sinewy times and the sometimes painful lessons we encounter are the same as well.
The joys and successes help.
The sense of shared history helps.
The depth of the emotional pool that develops, silently and without preamble, over the years, stills the surface and provides the calm waters that can carry you through many a storm.
The respect and commitment to each other as individuals, is the glue.
Hippocrates had it right from the getgo, “First, do no harm”.
I believe that this should be the required oath for not only physicians but every person entering into a relationship with another. Make that the oath, the law, the covenant, the contract that each much swear to.
If you respect each other enough to never do or say anything, in anger, in spite or even in sneery, snide infused jest, then you are miles down the road towards the realization of exactly what a long term relationship is all about.
But then there is the other axiom that is a more dangerous truth than logically induced theorem;
And so we are back to how to incorporate the logical, axiomatic truth that each of us, as individuals, must, by our very natures, change….. and grow….. and expand and, in short, live and yet remain…..remain in our cores…..remain in our relationships….remain in our truths and happiness…together.
The “lucky” ones manage. I believe they work to remain viable, renewable, refreshed and seasonal.
Camus said: “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”
I believe that just as we have the seasons within the year to renew life each cycle, we have seasons thoughout our lives, our relationships and our souls, that serve the same functions.
We, and our relationships along with us, are the ultimate in renewable resources.
We simply must learn to compost our histories better, kick the cans to the curb for others to reuse, and allow ourselves the space and grace to reboot…as often as necessary…to remain user friendly for the long run.