The Care & Feeding of the Human Heart

    

love 3, originally uploaded by funchilde.

I am safe and sound in New Hampshire, that bastion of “Live Free or Die!” attitudes, vests, birkenstocks and oil heat. I can’t believe I’ll be here for 9 months. Of course I have a ton of travel to do for a couple of clients, and possibly some fun stuff on the horizon, but for the most part, I’ll be as settled for the next while as I’ve been in almost two years. Even when I was working on the first phase of this project last year I knew that I was leaving for Semester at Sea even before I began. This time…clear blue skies as far as my mind’s eye can see.

I’ve been welcomed back like a long lost family member, I am overwhelmed at how genuine these people’s love for me seems to be. My affection for them is strong, I missed them deeply. I am happy to be back with my housemates D and J, I love walking the dog in the mornings, cooking every other night, being “the one that washes” while someone else is “the one that dries”, and all of this has got me thinking. More specifically, it has got me thinking about love.

WHAT? YOU, Funchilde? Well, erm yeah. I’m only human.

Can you list/name all the types of love in your life right now? The most intense love I have felt recently has been for my nephew, something about spending so much time together, sharing a room, seeing how my example/guidance/influence impacts his life and choices.

My love for my parents is a constant, like the steady beat of my heart, I couldn’t extract myself from it if I tried, but it is changing. We’re solidly in the “friend” zone, I enjoy their company immensely, would prefer to hang with them over anyone I know, but I also see the tides turning and have one hand on the door that will lead to me taking care of THEM. This is complicated and makes my throat itch to contemplate.

My love for my siblings is changing as well, we are all fully grown adult people. It seems that my baby brother’s wedding has altered him forever in my eyes, I now give him full adult/man credit. But it also highlights that we are on separate paths with little connecting us (we’re now in 3 different states and have been for almost two years) and I can feel the texture of my relationships with them changing, I’m no longer the dominant/eldest child/leader that they must follow, they are free to make their own choices with little to no thought about my opinion. All of this is good, but unsettling like Africa breaking off from Asia to form its own continent.

My love for my friends has matured to the status of Urban Tribe. We are housemates, companions, travel buddies, advisors and pains in the @$$. For my friends that are married (about half) who express (usually minor) envy at my freedom and lifestyle, we validate each other’s choices. I let them know that the grass isn’t greener over here, it just looks that way because they don’t have to mow it. And they do the same for me.

I have also realized how much I am maturing and feel like alot of growth is taking place right now. I am comfortable letting some relationships simmer on low on the backburner, where in the past I would have insisted upon full-on, front burner heat to address the situation. I know that not every person in my circle should receive the same “effort” and consideration, and that I can still love them to pieces and laugh it up when we’re together, without nary a thought about them when we are apart. I know that it isn’t necessary to give all you have, to have all you want.

In terms of romantic love? Today a colleague insisted that she was going to find someone “special” for me (in an effort to keep me here in NH-not because I asked!). I haven’t given up on love, in fact I’m probably second only to my brother in the incurable romantic department, but as I told her..”I don’t want anything until it’s ready and I’m ready…”  I realized that I have a couple of crushes (does anybody else enjoy having crushes? I love it), but these are on the back burner too, because the person I’m most interested in loving right now is me. Not in an arrogant way, but I am beaming inside that I’ve walked away from some potentially crazy situations in the last couple of years, but when you’ve had one bad carnival ride, you start to avoid carnivals, right?

I found out recently that someone I once loved is in a situation that may end, that things aren’t going well and that the dark clouds of a relationship on the decline hover on the horizon. Though I am long over the person/situation, I was so grateful to realize that I was sad that they might be hurting, that the pain of a relationship in distress is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I realized that I don’t care how the situation turns out (that’s not true, I’m such a putz that I actually hope they find a way to work it out), but I didn’t feel any “glee” that they might be in pain. It was one of those times when you can FEEL that you are emotionally healthy (or on the right track). Plus, one of the best things I’ve ever heard is “Resentment is like you drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Thus, I have been blessed with the ability to move on from things/people fairly quickly (note I didn’t say easily..just quickly).

I feel like I’ve made some healthy (and tough) decisions to keep certain situations/relationships platonic. And I mean serious temptation, like…nobody would ever know, different continent, vegas like-“what happens here stays here” stuff. Stuff that would only impact me, and probably not for the better, and I’ve walked away. All I want is the wisdom to keep doing that in every area of my life, but not be closed to the possibility of “crazy about you-can’t live without you-follow you to the ends of the earth-make you waffles every sunday”….love. But mostly I am enjoying BECOMING the right person versus focusing on FINDING the right person.

I would be fine if I were never in another marriage/partnership again. The prospect of “ending up alone” doesn’t scare me like it does some other 30-somethings I know. I guess if you’ve been in a long-term relationship that doesn’t work out, you know that it is better to be single and happy than coupled and miserable, but you also know you can’t say that to anyone who hasn’t been there.

So as for the care and feeding of the human heart? My guess is: first take care of your own heart, then gauge the quality of the relationships in your life (familial, friend, collegial, etc) to determine if you are gaining the skills to help nurture someone else’s. Don’t worry about whether or not the grass is greener, determine the quality of YOUR grass. Then remember that romantic love is 90% being the right person and 10% finding the right person.

But what do I know? Help a sistah out with your thoughts on L-O-V-E.

12 thoughts on “The Care & Feeding of the Human Heart”

  1. Dia,
    Well, I went into my “Favorites” at 7:45 a.m. and here I am tearing up at 7:48 a.m. (what a way to start a Friday a.m).
    Glad you (and your u-hauled motorcycle) arrived safe at New Hampshire and at your new working location.
    Miss you already.
    Your parents, nephew, brother and sister and friends are LUCKY.
    P.S. I don’t think anyone is admiring my “Grass”
    Ms. D

  2. I don’t think anyone is admiring my “Grass”

    Heh!

    I’m still preaching balance in life. So your “different kinds of love” thing definitely jives well with that. I was just thinking to myself while I was driving yesterday about how people get so hung up on this One True Love thing.

    Yeah, it’s nice if you can find it, but how often does it ultimately not work out that way? That’s an even bigger let down.

    If you are living your life fully and in a balanced way, you don’t need One Person to make it better. Hell, if you’re not living your life fully and in a balanced way, One Person isn’t going to make it better anyway.

  3. “The grass isn’t greener over here, it just looks that way because they don’t have to mow it.”

    This is great. I must steal it.

    As to romantic love, this dyke reader is driven positively batty by your use of gender-nonspecific pronouns and utter lack of clues as to your bent (though there is the motorcycle…). Not that you have to share the nature of your sexuality with anyone you don’t know from Adam, but theoretically, might you find Adam attractive?

    I presume your friends IRL are clued in, and you are certainly under no obligation to lay bare in cyberspace anything you may wish to keep private. In fact, keeping your cyberfriends guessing likely intrigues us more than copping to one gender, the other, or both. But in the meantime, I may have to compose some fan fiction in my head.

  4. Ms. D: Thank you, and “tears”? am I reducing people to crying at work now..i must find a new hobby. I count you up there with my family and friends as you well know and I love you to pieces. For many reasons including your indulging me of my Outback Steakhouse habit. I hope you like your xmas gifts in August, only 8 months late.

    Erica: I have always wondered about the ONE TRUE LOVE thing. I think you can make it work with lots of different people if they are compatible and you have similar goals/outlooks. But chemistry isn’t universal and I wonder if you don’t have chemistry with someone if they can be the ONE? I’m guessing not, but the people I’ve had ‘chemistry’ with have tended to be the relationships that disintegrated in the most amazing fashions!

    Scout: lol. after i wrote the post, i realized how gender nuetral i was being, i was really trying to not clue anyone in to who the person i was referring to is, b/c i want to respect their privacy and those who know me IRL would know who it is if i added any more specificity-more re: the nature of our relationship vs. the gender (which i’ll still keep to myself… haha). Plus, I like having a diverse readership 🙂 As an ambassador for diversity in all arenas (it is what i do professionally) I will champion diversity in every forum I can. I want all my readers to be comfortable and be free to “imagine” whatever they want in my words…

    and please feel free to liberally proclaim that “the grass only looks greener because….” philosophy!

    as for the motorcycle? i never thought about how suspect that is! lmao. but EVERYBODY thinks they’re hot, so the bike stays.

  5. bikes are hot!

    and I have discovered recently that I have put myself at a disadvantge by thinking my one true love is someone else. I’m going to be my own ONE TRUE LOVE and see if that works any better for me.

  6. Tek. I LOVE THAT. I’m going to steal that philosophy, I think that is what I’ve been doing the last couple of years intuitively but I like that sentiment, I’m also very spiritual and want to get more centered. Sounds like you have a good outlook. Keep us posted!

  7. two cheers for the family love biz and bah-humbug for the type of love that starts a family type biz… 🙂

    but i do love your blog and mowing the grass and i almost got teary eyed too…almost.

    adrienne

  8. I’ve found that as I get deep into my 30’s all kinds of new love has come into my life. Even if you’ve latched on to one person like I have, there are still so many loves in our lives. The more you love yourself the more you will love everything about your life and the lives around you. The mowing the grass line is classic – as I try to wrangle two kids into bed and get a moment’s peace somewhere in the middle of it all I remind myself that what’s right here in front of me is my garden and I have to tend it.
    I love you.

  9. Oh lordy, such a complicated and layered subject! 🙂 I don’t know if I believe in a “one true love” thing…because I certainly loved deeply and passionately (and dysfunctionally!) before my current relationship. But I think I believe in a “one true love THAT WORKS” thing…and it seems to me that that’s what we really mean when we find it. ‘Cause anyone who is or has been in a long-term relationship knows that the heat and passion (although still there) morphs into something less fiery and intense and all-consuming…and ya gotta be able to HANG with the person. I’m thrilled to say that 12+ years in, there is no one on this planet I’d rather hang with than my mate. I still light up when I see his face…even if only hours before I’ve wanted to kill him. 😉

  10. Adrienne: You’re wayyyyy too young to “bah humbug” love. Just keep doing you and having fun, you’ve dated some cuties this year!

    BethAnne: I love you (and yours) too. I miss you like crazy. You have such beautiful kids and a wonderful hubby that sometimes your grass looks greener to me.

    Marilyn: I agree 100%, but It also sounds like you’re a special somebody yourself and that makes alot of difference!

  11. Dia dia bo bia, banana fo fia, bia bia bo dia…. Hi honey, you have been on my mind lately and when I went to call you today, I realized that I no longer have your number. I sulked for a second over a Corona and then remembered your blog. It was definitely a treat catching up with you. I am so happy that you sound so great. I am working on the same things you mentioned. Just constantly toward becoming a better person and having the faith and the wisdom to let the other pieces fall into place naturally. I miss you. My life as usual is craaaazy but in a normal, one foot in front of the other kind of way. Like you said, ain’t no stoppin sunshine.

    Hope you still have my number. Call me. When are you coming out this way? Love you, H-bomb

  12. Love the way you wiggle out of mentioning your preferences by citing a committment to diversity. Very nice!

    I completely feel you. I am nurturing love for myself right now, as well. I do not feel like I am the “person” yet for whatever wonderful person I will be with in the future. And that’s ok. It’s a journey!

    Love your grass, want to roll around in it. 😉 How about if I help you mow?

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