September 7, 2008

What I Want

While I like to think that I am flexible—don’t we all?—there are certain aspects over others that will draw me to someone like a stellar body to a singularity. Freud asked, “What do women want?” He never found his answer. Here’s my short list.

A university-sponsored test called Signature Strengths says that my top strengths are curiosity and the love of learning. No surprise there. My husband often will tease me with mysteries, knowing it will make me crazy until I discover the answer. Cliffhangers drive me wild. (Some blog authors employ this with great and cruel success.) The challenge is issued and the game is afoot; I have a need to know.

Learning is a party for me. There is an opiate quality to the discovery of something new. It’s like adding yet another piece in the jigsaw puzzle of life. I have come to understand that some things that I don’t care for are usually those things I know little or nothing about. The greater understanding I gain, the more acceptance I maintain. For me, knowledge brings peace.

It is an honest and open heart that moves me. I’m not talking about only pain or anger, although they are sources of connection for all of us. But there is community in joy as well. Witnessing the delight of a newly-discovered love or the assurance of a deep and abiding friendship can illuminate my heart anew. I share the excitement of enthusiasm and the ache of disappointment in almost any arena. It is not things that join us in community; it is shared experience and emotion.

I am inspired by excellence in anything that improves the human condition. It can exist in a single word, properly placed. Excellence that brings me closer to truth is a spiritual experience that centers me and connects me to everyone. It’s awkward to describe but incredibly powerful to experience.

In my humble opinion, a day isn’t complete without laughter. We all work hard; but what’s the point if you can’t have fun?

People know me by my laugh. With my old boss, we had such a great time at our weekly meetings that we were asked to close the door. So we did, and we continued to hoot and holler our way through work. We had a blast. A sense of playfulness keeps you young, I think.

While laughter comes easily to me, it must be earned. I am bored to tears by shock humor; it’s the lazy way to get attention. Anyone can do it. Don’t be mean-spirited, either. Humor’s target should be glad to hear it. I enjoy a good turn of phrase that shows intelligence. And if you surprise me with an original way of thinking or a new way to look at something, I will laugh out loud. I hope the neighbors don’t mind.

I love to be surprised because patterns are incumbent to human nature. My concrete linear mind works in such a way that I try to anticipate what is next in movies, literature, music, systems, conversation, and so on. Understand that there is a great deal of comfort to be found in patterns, knowing what to expect. But when something takes a left turn without using a blinker, it catches my attention. While occasionally it is cause for confusion or frustration, many times it is a source of joy. A new way! I want to examine the permutations of possibility: Why did it happen? Where does it lead? Can it apply elsewhere? My mind is off and running, and we are back to learning. Another party!

This all sounds so self-serving. But what I want for me I want for you, too. I want to share what I love; and to give any one of these to you is a privilege. If I can teach you, move you, make you laugh or surprise you, I have succeeded.


Me Online said...

Well, let me be the first to tell you that you are certainly a success. You get an A+ in teaching, moving, laughter and surprises. That's why I'm here. Thanks also for making me think about different viewpoints. Keep it up.

Patrick said...

These are wonderful, and weave together in mutually supportive ways. I find I am most often moved, taught,and brought to laughter by things that surprise me, for example... I think surprise, or the seeking out of the unknown, is proving to be a key part of living a full life for me. I wouldn't have thought of it that way without reading this essay, though.

Java said...

Maybe this is why we get along so well, dear. Learning is breathing. Information is aphrodisiac. And in turn, I teach as second nature.

I'm moved. That's my test to see if I'm alive.

I laugh. Long and loud. The dryer the better. Subtle is hilarious. It's the way I think.

Surprise? Well, it depends. The way Patrick has described it here, that kind of surprise is inspiring. Some kinds of surprise are just disturbing. So it depends.

Love this post, Birdie!

bigislandjeepguy said...

at one of my jobs, the ad director said she used to get a kick out of hearing my laugh from down the hall during tough days. i remember on one of the most stressful days at that job...on the day before thanksgiving, she came into my office and told me our boss had left for the day and we still had to send out a million ads to the newspapers with changes she had just thrown at us last minute. i threw down the ad folder i had in my hand, let out a string of cusswords, then started laughing my ass off, realizing it was all pretty fruitless. i think otherwise my blood pressure would have shot up off the charts.

laughter *is* the best medicine.

David said...

Interesting, I didn't see "multiple orgasms" "chocolate" or "foot rubs" anywhere on your list.


Christopher said...

So I have nothing enlightening to say...but I loved this post! ;-)