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I want you to want me

Does anybody besides me remember that song from a gazillion years ago — I want you to want me? I caught the tail end of this Cheap Trick hit on the radio and it got me thinking …

Are any of us really, truly, wanted?

I’ve been up since 4 am today (working on a deadline) so forgive me if I’m waxing melodramatic, but here’s my conclusion — arrived at while hanging some clothes out on the line and listening to a baby Mockingbird cheep incessantly for its mother to feed it:

Some of us, some lucky ones of us, are wanted. Some of us are wanted some of the time. Some of us are wanted for what we are, some for what we are not.

But whether we are wanted or not, permanently, profoundly, personally … or not … one thing is sure: we are all alone. We’re born that way, we live that way, we go out that way.

It’s both the tragedy and joy of life to accept and understand that.

It’s the work of a man’s life, and a woman’s as well, to overcome the challenge of our birth into a world where we are all uniformly and essentially alone. What we do with that alone-ness is what defines our character.

Our characters grow and are defined by our willingness to experience joy – to love and let ourselves be loved in a world where we can never, ever, be certain of how long or at what level, in what manner or how deeply, or by how many … we will be wanted.

Whether one is ultimately wanted or loved is not found in the timeline of one’s high school popularity or career success … not found in the timeline of marriage proposals and engagement rings, not found in the timeline of how many party invites and facebook friends one racks up. There’s only one timeline that matters.

The timeline of one’s character – the timeline that traces how an individual lives his life each and every day. And how that person treats others day in and day out, year in and year out.

The character timeline isn’t marked by highlights of promotions and weddings and babies and trips to Paris. It’s highlighted by the truths and lies we tell, but the promises we keep or break, by those sudden breakthroughs of intellect and emotion that come only when we push ourselves beyond the limits of what we think we can do or what we think we can handle.

The character timeline is marked along the way with how many times we gave into fear and how many times we rallied ourselves to go for bust. How many times we shrank from love’s possibilities and responsibilities … and how many times we ran at it, full throttle, ready to dive in headfirst.

I’m a diehard list-maker, goal-setter, analyzer of where I’ve been and what I’ve done. I’ve got a whole book that spans the last fifteen years of my life — what goals I set each year and whether or not I achieved them.

But I realized today, none of that book charts or reveals who I loved and how much I loved them. That book doesn’t begin to express or chronicle who loved me or who might have if I’d given them a chance.

That book doesn’t begin to express the essence of the one unavoidable, unchangeable fact that — when you boil down all our daily activities, our nonstop thoughts, our to-do lists and annual goals — you realize they all have the same desired outcome … everything is all for one thing .. to feel as if we’ve got a rightful place in the world; a space to hang the metaphorical hat of our very real hearts.

A place to say I want you to want me and have the other person — or maybe the whole wide world — sing those words right back to you.

Posted on June 10th, 2009Comments RSS Feed

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