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Friday, December 26, 2008

Rules, Wants, Needs and The Rolling Stones

In 1969, The Rolling Stones released “Let it Bleed” that contained the track, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” I’ve loved and hated this song for as long as memory allows. It wasn’t until 2 years ago that I was finally able to see some true wisdom that can only be achieved through a drug-induced drunken free-for-all that was rock n’ roll in the 60s. Whenever I hear this song now, my mind wanders down a clearer path of which I hope the song was intended, or at the very least, how I interpret it.

We all have rules. We all have the “must-haves” and “can’t stands” when it comes to relationships. Some people hide behind their “rules” and call them “standards” or “principles.” We dismiss people because they don’t fit these “rules” or don’t have all of your “must haves.” After the demise of Boyfriend 3 (B3), a friend encouraged me to throw out all my rules. I had volumes of rules, perhaps an encyclopedia’s worth. Hours of self-analysis later, like we all do post break-up, I ultimately was able to define what it was that I really wanted versus what I really needed. So I threw out the rule book. All the rules. Sure I had values that I wanted to maintain but the RULES were an entirely different application. Once I threw out my rules, B4 showed up out of nowhere. B4 rocked my world, broke every former rule and in the process broke my heart. Although our time as a couple was relatively brief compared to the others, my paradigm shifted more than it ever had. Had I not thrown out the rules I never would have experienced so many things, and for that I am forever grateful. I experienced adventure, romance, intimacy, laughter. I was intellectually challenged, spiritually awakened, and never felt more alive. Had I not let go of my rules, I never would have been available to receive so much. Had I held on to my rules, I never would have felt the realest sense of heartbreak, embarrassment, foolishness, and rejection on a whole new level. Had I never let go of my rules, I never would have been able to further define what my wants are versus my needs.

Now, I am a person “of no particular consequence” (hence the blog title) but I think if we can let go of our “rules’ and differentiate between wants and needs, could truly change the way of how we live our lives as couples, and ultimately as individuals. My list of “wants” in a spouse are as follows: I want him to be taller than me, I want him to be gainfully employed, don’t care what he does, but a job would suit nicely. I want him to like to go for long walks, enjoy good food, take care of himself, like to sit in front of the fire. I’d like someone who had a fairly decent grasp of the finer points of the English language and perhaps owned/read a book or two that weren’t textbooks or used for door stops or dust collectors. It would be nice if he wants kids, or if he likes to travel and enjoys foreign cinema. If he were moderately handy around the house and didn’t wince at spiders or the general great outdoors, that would be just super. And these are all great things. BUT when I look at my list of what I need, it is a vastly different picture: I need someone to come home to at the end of the long day. I need someone who challenges me and himself intellectually, physically and spiritually. I need someone who won’t judge me when I eat peanut butter out of the jar and then consequently love my ever expanding waistline because of such action. In the time of grief, sorrow, frustration, anger, fear or general moodiness, I need someone who knows what to say and when to just say nothing at all. I need to be with someone who will be there when I go to bed at night and will wake up with me in the morning.

Now, I understand that all of our need and wants are different. Maybe you do need someone who wants kids, or you do need someone that believes the same things you do or you need someone who is blonde, blue-eye from a distinguish family such as a Kennedy, a Rockefeller, a Vanderbilt, dressed in Polo, argyle sweaters and heinous tasseled brown loafers with matching front-pleated Dockers. Or maybe you need someone to take you to fine dining establishments, shower you with gifts and compliments and pamper you. And those are all FINE things to need. Really, they are. But perhaps, at the end of the day, that’s not what really matters. What matters is that in 10 years, when the house is a mess and the kids are asleep but the laundry isn’t done and the dishes are piling up, you are with someone who sees you near the breaking point, that in kindness and compassion will say, “That all can wait, come here, sit down,” and wrap his arms around you. What matters is that in 20 years, when the kids are gone, your sense of adventure is thriving and the world is still your oyster to explore with him. What matters is that in 30 years, when your hair starts to thin, and that extra 20 lbs you can’t seem to jazzercise off is stuck to your bones, and gravity starts to take effect and make up doesn’t quite cover the wrinkles and age spots, he stares at you like you’re the most beautiful person he’s ever seen because he loves you no matter what your shape, size or hair color. Maybe what matters is that after 40 years, you can sit on the front porch, talk about beliefs, current events, world issues and watch the time roll by while you challenge each other to think bigger, to love deeper, and forgive more because he sees the world the same way you do. Perhaps what matters is that in 50 years, when a flight of stairs looks like Chitzinitza and the tennis balls on the bottom of your walker legs and the shoe laces to your orthopedic shoes are wearing thin, he’s still there by your side walking into church with you and a Sunday morning because he understands how much that means to you. Maybe what one really needs is that through all of life’s trails, blessings, challenges, rewards and heartbreak, he’s made you laugh. I don’t mean just a chuckle, I mean a side-splitting, tear-rolling, knee-slapping, howling laughter. Maybe that’s all that matters. Maybe that’s all pie in the sky coming from a hopeless romantic. But maybe, just maybe, Mick Jagger was on to something, “You can't always get what you want and if you try sometimes you find you get what you need.” I hope he’s right.


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