On becoming

Originally titled “Things I would like to share with you” from Elephant Journal

A man said to the universe: “Sir, I exist!” “However,” replied the universe, “The fact has not created in me A sense of obligation.” ~ Stephen Hart Crane, 1899  

It has been the first desert of my life. I do not want to date silly things. There are only two things I need in a woman—the third is something I shall not tell you about, but that you know. The first is that she laughs—at jokes, at my jokes, and her jokes, at life, at setbacks, at herself, at me. The second is that she is beautiful. But what is beauty? It is not the chemical smell of models hiding, thinly, in magazines. It is elegance. As Trungpa Rinpoche said, we can be elegant if we’re old or young, rich or poor, just by how we pay attention to the glorious, ordinary details of our daily life. I admire how she wears her shirt. I admire how she jokes and laughs, a verbal ping-pong. I admire how she takes the time to be present. But these days I am too old for girls and too young for marriage: I am just right for a relationship. And yet I live in a town of adult children (not a bad thing) and parents, with little in between.

Too old for marriage? Certainly not—who is? I simply mean that I am not looking to marry, I am looking to love, and love leads to marriage, or not—looking to marry does not lead to the kind of marriage I want to enter into. I would like to be proud that I have the decency not to use people out of boredom, or to waste my own time on beautiful I am not interested in. Perhaps, belatedly, we have become a little “growns’up.” As for loneliness: of course, and not of course–it is a great and powerful thing to be alone and to fully, calmly, truly care for oneself in one’s aloneness. I love being by and with and of myself, and it has taken time to get there–that is, here. That is why I choose an image of a solo and content-to-be-solo cowboy or warrior to guard these words.  Still, too, as you my dear friend well know–to be alone and drink from one’s cup and yet to find another who too is joyful in her aloneness and to raise each cup to one another in toast and love and passion and loneliness and fire! That is something.

I still joust and shout and laugh and play and strut and stress and meet and ask out, but she is dating someone, or she lives in New York City, or San Francisco: she is too far away to water me, and I may die of thirst.

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