In a recent post I put out the challenge that in order to have more of what you love in your life you might need to change your life a bit. It’s the idea that in order to get what you want you also need to create a place for it to exist. It’s also a good reminder of the need to manage expectations. As comedian and sage Stephen Wright said, You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?
All joking aside, though, it’s also worth more than a few self-awareness points to check if you already have the space you need – but you just haven’t bothered to bring your love into your life.
Some of you may be rolling your eyes at that; c’mon, if you don’t have something in your life that you love, that must mean that you don’t really love it that much, right? There is some truth to that, but it’s really got more to do with priorities than love. It’s about the trap of the good old Protestant Work Ethic, or maybe the Judeo-Christian values that are misinterpreted into a proclamation against pleasure instead of for joy.
The sneaky trap that is set by things like productivity optimization and the idea of success is that you prioritize the things that lead towards some future goal at the cost of your present happiness. It’s a fine line, because sometimes you need to do that; I exercise now, even though I don’t want to, so that I can do the things I want to do with my body later.
But what I’m also doing is spending time exercising when there are other things that I know I love that are being shut out. Want a concrete example?
I have my daughter’s guitar, which I bought from her a few months ago, hanging on my wall. You would think that since it’s so handy to my comfy chair that I’d play it more – at the very least just grab it and strum a bit. At various points in my life I’ve studied classical guitar, played quite a bit of folk, and even taught basic guitar to students. I have played professionally and my partner Natasha loves when I play (to the point where she will surreptitiously record me).
Do you know the last time I picked up the guitar and played?
Neither do I.
This has nothing to do with whether or not I love the guitar. I do! I have old favorite tunes and a desire to learn to play delta blues and even the geeky part of me loves the mechanics of the electro-acoustic I have on my wall.
But I haven’t made space for it in my life. I’ve made space for many other things, but somehow that is not a part of it. And like any love affair, the lack of attention tends to make it wither. One of the hard-learned lessons of polyamory is simply this:
“You have an unlimited supply of love. You do not have an unlimited supply of time. Or attention.”
That applies to more than just relationships. It applies to everything we love in our lives. The good news is, my guitar is a very understanding and patient lover. She will enjoy even a little attention, if I give it. It may not be now – when I’m thousands of miles away – but when I do mak space it is entirely possible and likely that we will enter an entirely new phase of our relationship. It’s possible that it will be better and even more deeply satisfying than when I learned to finger-pick the coventry carol, or when I sang Hallelujah for Natasha one cold winter’s evening.
There’s no rush. Love waits for you, in most cases. But you might want to at least ask yourself, again: What are you waiting for?