We’re more alike than different | Column | The Press and Standard

by | March 10, 2018 5:00 pm

Last Updated: March 7, 2018 at 9:43 am

Despite what current politics and pundits would have us believe, I think we’re more alike than we are different.
Some of us eat plain M&Ms and some of us prefer peanut M&Ms, but we’re all human. We question, fret, assume, doubt. We share the same hopes and problems. For example…
We want to eat whatever we like and not gain weight. On my deathbed, give me pasta.
We want loyal friends. Frenemies are pointless.
We have memories of a beloved pet that we can’t talk about without choking up.
We want to feel understood. Not patronized, not handled, not tolerated — understood. Understand?
We want people to think we’re smart. (Unless you’re really smart, and then you don’t care.)
We love wallpaper; we hate wallpaper. This one could go either way.
We want to live our best lives. For some, that might mean meditating daily and growing organic vegetables. For others, it might mean never seeing the inside of a jail again.
We want to be healthy, but we hate kelp and flax seed oil.
We want those around us to be honest, patient and loving, but people often will let you down. Which is why God created dogs.
We watch more reality TV than we admit.
We want intimate relationships, except when we flee from intimacy. A therapist once told me, “Our deepest wish is to be fully known, and our deepest fear is to be fully known.” We want someone with whom we can share our secrets and shortcomings… but what will they DO with that information? We’re complicated.
We want a rocking body, or at least one that doesn’t scare people. (For me, that ship has sailed.)
We’re sick of the same-old same-old… so surprise yourself. Go on the last-minute road trip. Watch the movie you’d normally skip. Buy tulip bulbs and figure out how to grow them. Widdle and I spent a recent Saturday exploring an unfamiliar cemetery and had big fun. (No, we didn’t disrespect the dead.)
We want peace. No one likes endless battles, unless you’re Genghis Kahn.
We want to leave a legacy. So we have kids or build houses or write songs or change laws or perfect a pound cake recipe that will live on generations after we’re gone.
We want coffee in the morning, unless we hate it. We also want pancakes, but will settle for a banana.
We want to find our tribe. People were born to live together and help each other. That’s why hermits seem so odd to us. Where’s their tribe?
We hate being reminded of our failures, but who’s doing the reminding? Most of us don’t lie awake at 3 a.m. thinking of the witty things we said in 2009, or the perfectly crisp turkey we served last Thanksgiving. No, we stare at the ceiling and recall the times we embarrassed ourselves, or failed to do the right thing, or when the boss yelled at us in front of everyone. I’ve replayed my worst moments many times. But here’s the thing: If a friend kept harping on your past mistakes, eventually you’d dump that friend (frenemy!) Be your own friend and forgive yourself.
We all have that one movie we’ve seen 17 times but still watch when it comes on TV. (“St. Elmo’s Fire” in the house!)
We want assurance. Did we make the best decision? Are we worthy? Did we say the right thing? The short answer is yes. You’re doing the best you can, and that’s everything.
We want the convertible. Admit it.

(Julie R. Smith, who drinks dandelion tea, can be reached at widdleswife@aol.com.)

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