Try Easier (I Did!)
April 9, 2010
Trying hard is what built this country. Trying hard is what maybe kept your marriage going, or kept you from losing your job, or kept you determined to be a better parent. We try everything hard. And the people who think they’re lazy? They’re the worst! They really believe they’re lazy, and so to not succumb to that, they work harder than anyone !
I myself am persistent, stubborn, determined, and I refuse to give up. These qualities have gotten me far in life, at times; but they have never made me happy or joyful. More pertinent, however, is the fact that I’ve found there’s a limit to how well trying hard works. If I had been rewarded for hard work, I’d have been wealthy long ago! When I had a goal, or something that felt like an imperative in my life, I mustered all my resources, set a detailed well-thought-out strategic plan, and started working that plan, and kept working it, until I reached my goal.
Only trouble is, I often fell flat. My fierce, narrow, laser-like determination often blinded me to another, easier road running parallel to the one I chose. The very idea that things could be easier runs counter to my Judeo-Christian work ethic; to my world view that life is hard; that only those who have sacrificed and allowed life to burn scars into them have earned the prizes they seek; and that easy is for low-aimers and losers.
Then I met Shelley.
Before her, my idea of a relationship was an extension of my work ethic. Any woman worth my time, therefore, had to be high maintenance and fulfill my own “need” for drama; for highly intellectualized, convoluted conversations about politics, culture, psychology; for new and exciting ways to embroil myself in harrowing, difficult, late-night confrontations.
In short, she had to be a pain in the ass. I thought that this was the price I had to pay for love and sex; that this was what intimacy was all about.
It had been as if my entire love life had been bestowed with the Chinese curse: May you have an interesting relationship.
Shelley, on the other hand, was an honest, direct, what-you-see-is-what-you-get woman who stood in stark contrast to all the manipulative, game-playing, drama-loving, high-maintenance women I had always been drawn to.
When I realized I had fallen in love with her, I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know how I could ever have let this happen, or even whether it was a good thing! But my heart had succumbed, and was way ahead of my head. As true as it was that she was completely different from any other woman I’d ever wanted or been with, I was completely smitten.
It had taken months of her softly knocking on my heart’s door for me to wake up: This woman was not fulfilling my yen for fighting, or drama, or for the relationship roller coaster. In time I came to realize that all she was doing, was making me happy. This dawned on me like a revelation – the easiest lesson of my life.
And I haven’t been the same since.
So the existence of a woman who was both easy to be with and also perfect for me challenged my relationship mindset. And this helped me challenge my try-hard mindset. Trying easier isn’t always easy for me. But it sure is more fun!
Today’s Joygasm: (psst — it’s for me!):
So to practice what I’m preaching, and ease my own load at the same time, from now on, I’ll be offering shorter posts (like the one above), and only twice (instead of thrice) a week — on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Ah — that feels better already!