On Relating to All of Ourselves

“I’m fascinated with that relation, which we all have, with our previous selves. We all have that, that’s all we have, our whole life—who you were as a kid, who you were at 20—the great thing about getting older is you can reference yourself. But I’m equally sure that if we really could meet ourselves, we’d be surprised. Because we’ve re-characterized ourselves so many times to fit our current needs: ‘Oh, I was an idiot then, but now I’m smart.’ Not giving yourself enough credit, or giving yourself too much. It’s a fascinating relationship.”

via Links Through Their Lives « The Dish.

Just think of the credit we withhold from ourselves, or indulge in, as we grow and change over time. Maybe the key to a successful, long-term relationship with another is making sure that you give the other the right amount of credit… that you are fairer to another than you are to yourself, and s/he is to you.

on balance, what remains

A friend of mine and I spent some time talking about the relationships on HBO’s Lena Dunham vehicle, “Girls.” He said, “Adam and [Charlie] are bookends for each other in regards to what degree of danger/comfort women want in a relationship with men.” Adam = Danger. Charlie = Comfort.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about how other wives (or soon-to-be-ex-wives) I know have tried to find a balance between “danger and comfort,” or between passion and contentment, with their spouses. Passion can fade. Contentment can get dull.

Is it possible to find that balance? Is there any excitement in all that is predictable, that could make any routine more appealing? Can one be content with all that is unsettled, in order to make life less scary?

***

In 1963, my parents met. At their wedding.

They have lived through or enjoyed international relocation, grad student life with English as a second language, a lay-off or two, four more domestic relocations, another lay-off, starting and running a business, raising three children to be equipped to put themselves through college and/or grad school, three weddings yielding two sons-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and seven grandchildren, a heart attack, cancers and their remissions…

They’ll celebrate 50 dangerous, comfortable, exciting, boring, devastating, and thrilling years of marriage in a couple months.

I don’t know how they do it exactly, but mostly, it seems they want to. Be married to each other, that is.