Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Life full of laughter and Love ever after

As I was driving home from campus the other day I heard a new song on the radio that resonated with me. After typing a few of the key words into google once I got home, I discovered the song title was "Life After You" by Daughtry. Although the entire song resonated with my life experiences, there were three lines in particular that I found salient and worthy of reflection.

"All that I'm after is a life full of laughter
As long as I'm laughin' with you
I'm thinkin' that all that still matters is love ever after"

As a graduate student my life is often best described as exhausting, stressful, hectic, and intense. Considering my intention to have a career in academia, my life will likely always be characterized by the aforementioned descriptors. Now understand that I thrive in this kind of environment (hence the reason I want to enter academia). However, I also recognize that I need someone to come home to that allows me to escape this life. I want someone who will "balance" this part of my personality and lifestyle. Although I appreciate the serious aspects of my personality that have allowed me such success academically, I also really enjoy indulging the fun, "spunky" aspects of my personality. I want to be with someone I can laugh with. Someone with the ability to make me laugh. Someone who encourages me to be goofy and silly. I firmly believe laughing is good for the heart and soul and an absolute necessity to counter all the stress that is encountered in daily life. I realized how important it is to be able to laugh with one another and I believe that laughter is rooted in a relationship that is both authentic and natural.

The last line of the lyrics listed above, provided me an opportunity to reframe for myself the misconception that our society recognizes as "happily ever after." Anyone who has read my blog regularly is already aware of my frustration with our society's unrealistic expectations of love and relationships that I argue is embedded in the "happily every after" "fairytale" ending of all movies. For those of you who are unaware of this perspective, a brief overview: I believe that people have a misconception that the "right" relationship should be easy. Instead, I believe a more realistic expectation of love and relationships is that although two people may be "natural" together, this does not mean that love or relationships should be or are easy. Operating within this framework, I am now committed to a perspective of "love ever after." After all, doesn't this better represent the vows that two individuals make during the marriage ceremony. The vows aren't "I promise never to make you angry, upset, or sad and to always make you happy." The vows are "for better or for worse" indicating that it won't always be easy, but the couple is committed to "love ever after."

I never cease to be amazed that songs have the ability to make me reflect on my own values and life experiences. In this case, Daughtry's "Life After You" allowed me to realize the salience of laughter and the experience of finding someone you can laugh with. It also allowed me to reframe the "happily ever after" that I have so much disdain for into "love ever after" that I believe is something worthy of striving for.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Live life and love

As a result of a lot of heartache and self reflection in the past six months or so, I have developed a sentence that I believe appropriately articulates my approach to life and love. "Live life and love abundantly, fiercely, passionately, authentically, generously, and wisely." However, I have also discovered that actually living and loving this way is a challenge. I've come to realize that at times these "traits" conflict with one another. For instance, sometimes it seems impossible to love generously and wisely simultaneously. Or that living authentically at times impedes the ability to love generously. And loving fiercely and passionately often overshadow one's ability to love wisely. I have come to recognize that these "traits" do not necessarily come easily or even occur harmoniously, but I believe they are worthy goals to strive for. I believe that attempting to live and love in a manner that fulfills these is worthwhile, even in spite of the difficulty and heartache that will likely occur in the attempt.

There are days (and there have been many recently) that I feel it is all I can do to "live life and love." (period). But if at my worst, and on my worst days, if I'm still living and loving, then maybe I'm not doing so bad after all.