You want to know something? I bet you do, that’s why you are reading this. We are all wanting to know. We might not know we are wanting, or what we are wanting, but we do. We all want. The thing we are all trying to figure out is what it is that we do want; the thing that is really going to do it for us. We spend our lives trying to work out the combinations of what is around that may lead us to feeling good. What we don’t do is research it. We don’t really think about how we are going about living our lifespan. Alot of what we do is random. It really is. You might think you chose that degree course, but a set of random events will have pointed you there. Same with your partner. They are big players in your life. It matters how you feel about your life, if you happen to get up every morning and hate going into the job you’re in. Or you are constantly looking at other couples wondering why they are happy.
So thinking about your life may work out well for you. It might just be a good idea to contemplate how you are behaving in your world and reflect on whether it’s working out well for you. You see, although we share the same planet, we don’t share the same view of the world, so when you tell me that your dog died, unless I feel the same way about dogs, I might not be able share that particular pain, and I may seem uncaring. It may not be the case, I may care deeply about your sense of loss, but not be able to show the empathy for losing a pet. That is an example of how communication falls down. And it does. It falls down all the time.
I often can fell adrift in the world, it can often feel as though I am watching a play or a show, and not participating. Even though I am surrounded by a wonderful set of human beings who know me quite well, I can feel isolated and sometimes frighteningly so. I have spent my life building myself . Literally building myself. As a teenager I suffered from the same exixstential angst that I suffer from today, but with less strategy to deal with it.
We don’t talk about the fragility of living very much. It is the last taboo. We can talk about sex, we can talk about oral sex, we can talk about adultery, we can talk about incest, we can talk about paedophilia, we can talk about cancer, we can talk about euthanisia, we can talk about racism, we can talk about death.
We don’t generally allow others to talk to us about the fragility of our lives. It is far too scary. But here’s the rub, when we do , we feel less fragile, less scared. Tha’s why therapists are making an industry from listening to people talking about their fragility. Therapy has its place, but there are drawbacks, for one, you have to pay for it, The therapist may be rubbish. You don’t want to talk to a stranger.
Families are where we learn to deal with others. Some are better than others. All are flawed. Because they are made up of humans, and we are all flawed beings. I strongly believe that as a society we need to put back the emphasis on a family life. That doesn’t have to be a family in only one sense of the word, a family can look as unique as it likes, Nevertheless, the interdependence we have on one another as human beings is of paramount importance if we are going to lead healthy, fulfilled lives. Notice I don’t say happy. It is an overused concept.
Back to where I began today, about building my life to where it is today, which is of no consequence except to me and my beloveds. One of my strategies includes reading fiction. When I am in a state of displacement, and I can’t feel much at all, I find that reading helps me to reconnect those neural pathways so that I can reenter the human race. It is a strange affair that fiction can reacquaint me with the reality of what it means to be human, but it is true. It has to be a writer that is skilled at his craft, a perceptive,insightful author. Someone like William Golding, or Anne Tyler. It works for me. Currently I am reading a novel by Anne Enright ‘The Gathering’ and it’s hitting the spot.
So I suppose what I am saying is the C word – Connection. Communication. Isn’t that what you’re doing here after alll?