Monday, December 28, 2009

The Great Puzzle

You might have noticed (how could you not, after all my blathering about it???) that I'm going to have a visitor over New Year's Eve. That's right, Charity will be coming over.
The weather forecast for her flight day is really bad; they announced storm and snow and ice and all kinds of winter baddies, but since she is flying a German airline, she'll be fine. They are very thorough, safe and humorless.

But that was not what was going through my mind.
Charity will get here safely, even if a little bleary-eyed, and we'll have tons of fun.
The thought that struck me, was, "How come we look forward to people this much?"

Yes, please, how come we enjoy being with people so much, or having guests?
Really, it means upheaval, a change in daily habits, cleaning the house for them (!!!) and cooking special meals, maybe drinking more booze than intended, less sleep and - let's face it - spending more money.
And yet, and yet - I'm nearly dying with joy and anticipation.
But really, why is that?
What makes us WANT to meet people and be friends? Where does the joy come from, when you are introduced to someone new on twitter and hit it off, conversation-wise, like happened to me just now, with @fraukewatson, for instance?
Is it true what it says on those mushy Hallmark cards, is it about sharing and loving and caring?
Or the partying and fun? Or all of those?
Or something more?
Now why does this remind me of the Grinch?

I know it is my job to come up with a fitting answer to those questions now, styling myself a writer and all, but I can't.
Maybe it's a little of all that, and maybe there is some deeper, anthropological reason that I've never heard about, or maybe it is only me.
All I can give you is my personal truth.
There is nothing more fun, or a greater joy, than having friends around.
And there is no greater adventure than sharing moments and experiences with other people.

There is one woman I know, my younger son's former primary school teacher, and she is different. We did not start out too well with each other for our ideas of a good education for the kid clashed somewhat, but we ended up in a sort of friendship because it was just too hard to accept that we would not get along.
She is a very, very nice person, creative, fun, beauty-loving and good to talk to, but she is, principally, also a loner. She likes to do things on her own, like going to the movies, the theater, an art exhibition, shopping, to a restaurant. Taking her dog for a walk.
Told me at one point that she did not need company to enjoy herself, she was fine alone.
This, to me, is a concept that is beyond scary. It is terrifying.
How, I ask you, if you come across something that has a real impact on you, are you going to process that impression, if not by sharing it, in any way at all? It just sits there on your soul and simmers, and there is never any output, nor any reaction, to it?
There is no echo to your feelings, no one to smile at you and nod and say, yes, that is really something, is it not?
Or tell you, laughingly, to your face, how silly and maudlin you are being.
Let's say you are traveling the United States, on your own. And you are standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Or in NYC, right in front of the Met, where you always wanted to be.
Or facing Times Square. Pick any place at all that you've ever wanted to see, and then imagine yourself there, alone.
How would that feel?
You'd turn around, your mind and your throat bursting with the need to share, and no one you know there to see the elation in your eyes?

I need my people.
I need them to share my own joy, and I need them to share their joy with me.
Guess there is some truth to those silly Hallmark cards, after all.


  1. I used 2 feel that way when I was younger & would see something beautiful & then long for someone to share it with - then came John. I agree that life is better enjoyed with companionship.

  2. Many creative undertakings require some time alone, to let the personal muse express itself - a committee can not think. But, with nobody to ultimately share the creation with, there isn't even any impetus to start the endeavor. So, we need both quality time alone to dream, and time together to enjoy. Appreciate how well you expressed this. Thanks.

  3. I love the phrase "an echo to your feelings." Well done.

  4. Oh how I battle with this. I've always enjoyed people. I like sharing the joy of discovery with the people around me. I love to talk & debate topics so I can learn beyond what I know. I do know though that as I've grown in comfort with who I am, I am much better on my own then I use to be, I've also learned that the time to reflect on things is sometimes much more important with yourself.

    I guess my bottom line is that whatever works for the person is great for me as long as no one is hiding behind the fear of opening up for it is only being open that we truly find joy, no matter who's in our life.

    Thanks for sharing,


  5. I am quite happy living alone, and road-tripping alone, and creating alone. I like myself! I like people, too, and I get that fix 5 days a week at work, and from May-Dec at my weekly Farmers Markets and craft shows. And my once-a-month classes I give. That is my fix. Otherwise, I just enjoy my experiences, and keep moving on.