Cheese

I first wanted to write this evening on the subject of cheese.

a)      I’m missing it

b)      G.K. Chesterton has written a lovely essay about how the poets have neglected cheese as a subject, and I agree with him

c)      It goes so gloriously with a sliced apple

d)      I would kill somebody right now for a burger with a thick slice of melted Tillamook cheddar on the top

But now that I’m sitting down to write (briefly, I hope, as I have a lot of lazy sitting around to do this evening), I feel that I just can’t write about cheese, because there’s something more pressing on my mind (hard as it may be to believe).

It’s loneliness.

Everyone can (and does) experience this from time to time, married and unmarried alike. And I think that, as we get older, we experience it more often than we used to.

Adulthood is often lonely. We realize that we are really responsible for our actions. We realize that there’s a huge world out there with opinions and ideals that are often different from our own. We no longer have the benefit of being in the school system – seeing your best friends every day because they live in the next room, or sharing the stress of your Master’s program with a cohort that is going through the same arduous learning process. Sometimes you feel practically naked, as that insular world of childhood slips further and further behind you, and you realize you’ve joined the ranks of people who are old enough to run the world. You’re an adult, a member of that mysterious elite that you looked up to as a child. You remember thinking that they knew everything.

And now you know they were just making it up as they went along. Because you’re doing that every day. And adulthood can be a lonely, lonely place.

Well, thanks. Here I was having a perfectly lovely evening and now I want to get in my car and drive off a cliff.

Hang on, I have a reason for bringing this up.

As we get older, we need to be more intentional about cultivating relationships. It’s easier when we’re younger because everyone is first of all geographically closer to us all the time, and secondly because, let’s face it, kids are better at making and holding onto friends. Don’t get me wrong, kids can be mean, judgmental, and selfish…but if you think about it, so can adults. Thing is, kids are much better at forgiving and forgetting. Part of it’s attention span, but seriously, they’re just better at making up after a fight.

Adults suck at this. We get set in our ways, grumpy, and narrow minded. We also get lazy about our friendships. I say this because I am a prime example. I’m horrible at answering texts, even worse at responding to other, lengthier kinds of correspondence. I’m great at requiring affirmation from others, not so great at giving it.

If you look at this logically, this is a big problem. Since adulthood is difficult and often lonely, this is the time in our lives when, arguably, we need more relationship, affirmation, and community. It’s also a period when we have a tendency to be less flexible and more self concerned. After all, adulthood is a stressful business.

I realize I don’t speak for everyone, but I definitely struggle in this department. I’m going to try to work on my relationships more, and I ask for grace when I, well, suck at it.

Maybe adulthood would be less lonely if we were more intentional about making sure other adults were less lonely. Okay, that sounded just a liiiiiitle bit creepy.  

What I mean is making sure we’re putting effort into relationship, even if it’s just texting encouragement  or playing board games with other humans every once in awhile. For example, I have an amazing friend who sends me cards and postcards in the mail frequently. We hardly ever see each other as our schedules don’t often match up, but her taking that extra step to send fun little notes in the mail means a great deal to me.

It’s that easy.

Just my thought of the day.

Now, go eat a piece of cheese for me. 

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