Happy early Valentine's Day guys! First off, I apologize for the radio silence for the past... yikes 52 days! There have been some big changes around the farm that have taken up a lot of our attention lately (Erin is working on an update post to come out shortly). In the meantime, I wanted to discuss with you some ideas about love and soulmates that have cropped up over the past few weeks as stores start filling the aisles with heart-shaped boxes of good-but-not-great chocolate and a menagerie of animals holding a cartoon representation of a human heart.
Which I actually love by the way. Not ironically either, I really like all things Valentine's Day. Which is hopefully going to help any romantical-types to stay on board when they get to this next part.
The Idea of a Soulmate is Antiquated and Statistically Improbable
Right, so let's get the big one out of the way early. Our little blue marble is home to roughly 7 billion people (thanks Google). To put it in perspective, 7 billion inches is over 110,000 miles or roughly 2.75 laps around the circumference of Earth. I mean even if you rule out half the population based on gender and another 3rd or so because your soulmate should not be a child and probably won't be an octogenarian that's still an astronomical number. It isn't finding the one orange fish in the sea, it's finding the one grain of salt on the beach! The reality is it's far more likely that there are several, even hundreds of people with whom you are perfectly compatible and with whom you could lead a happy and satisfying life. However the knee-jerk response to that thought for a lot of people is that it is pessimistic and existential but if you stick with it, there's a lot to be said for a world where there is more than just one perfect soulmate. For example;
Being Someone's Everything Would be Unfair and Exhausting
Recently, we were watching How I Met Your Mother. If you've never watched it, here's a quick summary (spoilers); a guy spends 9 years telling his kids a story about meeting their mother who plays a small role in some episodes of the final season and then dies. The rest of the series is about the same guy falling hopelessly, nonsensically, irritatingly in love with somebody else and setting in motion countless over-the-top romantic gestures to try to get said girl who is his EVERYTHING. It started a conversation for us where Erin asked "Do you think you could go on without me?"
Now being that Erin is not a sit-com wife and is not in the habit of asking entrapment questions, this was something she actually wanted to know. After a bit of consideration, the answer was "Of course I could.". I mean don't get me wrong, spending time with my wife and (admittedly) our dogs is the best part of my day and losing that would be devastating. I could see setting up shop at a shitty bar in Amsterdam for a good long while and maybe getting a few ill-advised tattoos but it wouldn't KILL me. She felt the same way if roles were reversed and honestly, I think that's what you want.
I mean picture the alternative. Someone hinging their whole existence on you and your look, your personality and actions. You would have to be infallible or at the very least, appear that way. How do you grow as a person without your partner becoming disillusioned? How do you have an honest conversation about your ambitions and fears in a relationship like that? How do you ask them to pass you a roll of toilet paper??
Wouldn't it be better to be with someone who... well... has their own shit going on? I mean you want to spend time together, but you want to WANT to spend time together. When that want becomes a need, it's unhealthy, unfair to your partner and honestly I think indicative of someone who needs to have more going on in their life. It makes you more desirable as a single person as well. Most adults want to be with a complete stand-alone person who has hobbies and interests and ideas outside of themselves and their relationship.
Which sort of ties into the last point;
Everybody Likes Getting Flowers
Have you ever heard a girl say "I hate getting flowers"? That's a lie. Everybody likes getting flowers. Hell, I'D like getting flowers because it means that someone, in the normal course of their day (working, driving, plotting revenge on their enemies, buying dog food, whatever), thought of you.
When boys become teenagers, there's a few-year period where our brains break and we decide we like girls SO MUCH that it's almost all we can think of. In my case that also meant being a pretentious, insufferable dick who was by some miracle not choked to death by his wallet chain. During that period, I remember asking my mom if my dad ever did anything romantic for her. I'd just discovered girls and so every over-the-top movie gesture and song lyric seemed perfectly reasonable and I didn't see my dad standing outside any balconies in the rain. She said "When he's out sometimes, he brings me home my favorite chocolate bar." which at the time sounded so profoundly stupid, she might as well have just said "He doesn't steal from me." or "He seems to think genocide is a bad idea." Looking back on it now though, that simple statement had everything you need for a healthy, loving relationship. They had at that time been married over 20 years and every once in a while she still crossed his mind and he'd do something small and thoughtful for no reason other than it might make her day a little bit better.
Real, actual love cannot be communicated solely in grand, romantic gestures. It's best expressed in little everyday things. Get up and grab the movie snacks, take the kids out of the house for a couple hours when she has a morning to sleep in, toss the guy a beer while you're up. All these things are, at their core, tiny inconveniences that show that you care and when you add them up they amount to more than screaming "Wait! Don't marry him! I love you!" at someone's wedding which, when you think of it is actually a dick move.
So no. I don't believe anyone hates getting flowers. What people typically mean by that is that they hate forced pseudo-romantic gestures performed only because of the date on the calendar. Which is fair really.
So that's about it. I hope that helped some folks get inspired to spontaneously do something for their loved ones. Please feel free to leave some of your thoughts on the topic in the comments below. I hope these points didn't come off too harsh or pessimistic. Really truly I do believe in love and I hope every last one of you picks it up like a warm fuzzy version of the flu. Or the Gangnam Style dance.
Thanks as always for visiting!