I spent a big chunk of Saturday alone in my apartment. In the beginning I really enjoyed the solitude, sleeping late, making coffee when I got up and reading the newspaper in my pajamas, on the couch. As the day progressed, I got increasingly restless and uncomfortable in my skin. I couldn’t focus on a book, no movie on TV was able to grab my attention, and I didn’t have the energy or desire to go running. Instead, I wandered from the kitchen, to the living room, to my bedroom and back to the kitchen (my apartment just isn’t that big), trying to figure out what to do with myself. I stared out the window at the falling snow, talked to my mom on the phone and tried to find some answers.
The source of the discomfort was this question: Is it okay to want something, but still be okay not having it?
The thing in question I want is a relationship. A partner. More love. I am okay without it, I know this without question. My life is good, my happiness originates from inside me, and I know I will be fine if I don’t find anyone in this lifetime. But that knowledge doesn’t stop me from wanting it. And in my weaker moments, absolutely longing for it. The friends of mine who are in happy, successful relationships often quote the same piece of wisdom to me. They say, “I only found love when I stopped looking for it.” They stopped looking for it, they were okay without it, but at their core, did they stop wanting it?
Last New Year’s Eve, I went out with a group of friends. The evening was mostly unplanned, we declared we were “going to have fun” and set out into the night. By some fluke, we ended up on a roofdeck in Old City in time for fireworks and the countdown to midnight. Tracie, one of the women who was out with us that night, had recently given up dating. She proclaimed that she was done with men, especially tortured artists and musicians, and was really okay being alone. As a caveat, an aside to the universe, she ended her statement by mentioning that if there was someone out there for her, she’d like him to be a CPA. That night, on the roofdeck, Bob walked up to Tracie. He was a CPA. They recently bought a house together, a year after they unexpectedly met on that roof.
After discussion with friends, my parents and strangers at restaurants, I’ve come to the conclusion that wanting something, but being okay without it, is an acceptable place to be. That being okay does not dissolve the wanting. And that the process of wanting makes the getting more valuable.