I drove past a traffic light today, and I saw an old lady, standing there. She had a cane. And even though my parents are in that same age range, and incredibly active, I thought to myself: “What does that old lady have to look forward to, how does she make meaning?”
And then I thought she might be looking forward to returning home and making herself a nice cup of tea. And to sitting down and enjoying that cup of tea.
And I realized that this is probably the best thing anyone can hope for. To be able to go home from wherever we are, and make a cup of tea, and sit down to enjoy that. (Well. In case tea is not your thing, maybe it’s coffee. Or a cold drink.) And when we realize that, when we understand that just being here, breathing (mostly) fresh air, experiencing this, is all that there is — life gets simpler, suddenly.
This realization of mine didn’t come out of thin air, though. It built on the last weekend. I spent it with a new friend I’ve found, we went to our country house, in order to work on a project that we want to do. We did make nice progress with that, but we also spent at least half the time talking about our lives. He is in his early 40s, just a couple years younger than me, and he also has no relationship and no children. So that was something we could bond over. I learned two things this past weekend: One, the story I am telling myself about how attractive and interesting women do not want to be with me, is a lie. Because I have quite a number of stories that prove it wrong. I just always focus on the failures. He pointed this out to me, and that was a good thing to realize. And two (and that came right after the weekend), he sent me a text by email about how we cannot spend our lives looking for things. How we must stop searching, because every search will end in disappointment — either we don’t find what we’re looking for, or we do, but it doesn’t quench the thirst it’s meant to quench. And I’ve had both happen to me so many times, particularly when it came to women, that this thought really did make sense to me. And then today, I had this realization about the old lady.
A cup of tea is all we should hope for.
We should stop looking for things or people that we think will make us whole.
I have been with quite a number of very attractive women in my life.
If I manage to keep these thoughts in my mind and in my heart, there is no reason for me not to be a happy man.
My father celebrated his 80s birthday three times, in the past two weeks. Once with friends in my hometown. (I gave a little speech there). Once with the family in the West of the country. (I had prepared a little presentation with old photos that I had collected for the family tree. And I also showed the family tree to people.) And once with a bunch of his former colleagues from his car job. (I just came along to be there for him.)
My father is probably one of the coolest 80 year olds anyone can imagine. And so is my mother, well, she’s already 81. I love them so much, and I am afraid of the day when they will no longer be there.
Now I’m trying to have my “Discipline Month of April”. It’s not yet working the way I hoped it would. But there is still time. I am trying to refocus on my blog, on reading and writing. The weeks are still full with other things, and projects, and meetings. But over Easter, I will make more progress. I’m staying home, trying to move things along.
The Italian girl didn’t want to meet with me, in the end. But I think it’s because she has a boy-friend. And anyway, I am not hoping or waiting anymore.
Unless it’s for a cup of tea. Or coffee.