the List

Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs,
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes,
Being vexed, a sea nourished with lovers’ tears.
What is it else? A madness most discreet,
A choking gall and a preserving sweet.

William Shakespeare

So, I don’t have this all figured out – not by a long shot – but one thing is making a lot of sense lately. I spent years (decades, really) trying to “find the right person” for me. I had a List, sometimes written, usually just mental. Things like “is not a pathological liar,” or “is faithful” usually remained unchanged (yes, I know all too well from firsthand experience that a pathological liar can fool you into thinking he or she is not one). But other things (“lets me cook a lot,” or “is physically active,” or “loves craft beer” [back when I did], or “is creative”) rose and fell in importance as life went by. And I wondered after two failed marriages and an overflowing handful of stupid or painful or chaotic relationships why I just couldn’t seem to pull it all together – why “that right person” remained elusive.
And then it hit me – not like an arrow, but like the gradually brighter rays of dawn: Most people don’t spend much time on becoming the right person. I know I didn’t. If you look for the right person, you have very little control, other than to say yea or nay to each person. But if you become the right person – perhaps using the person that you imagine as the “right person” as a reference point for who you want to be loved by – you have so much power to have an incredibly fulfilling, wonder-filled, passionately amazing life, because you get to do more than just vet or veto potential loves. You get to become something greater – in fact, if you do it right, you might even fall in love with yourself before anyone else gets to – and someone genuinely in love with him or herself, living his or her life with passionate abandon and joy, is pretty hard to forget.
So immeasurably grateful for every moment I get to think clearly, to love myself deeply, and to become me.