The End of Longing

Matthew Perry is currently starring in his own play called “The End of Longing”. It’s an interesting thought. What happens when we stop longing for something?

I suppose that “longing” or wanting has been a fairly consistent theme through my blog for a couple of months at least, so I’m trying not to repeat anything. Everyone desires something, whether that be a dessert, an iPad, new shoes, a new job, a new place to live or a new first kiss. Everyone could probably come up with a list of things they’re longing for, from the materialistic to the philanthropic to the environmental. We know we want it, and in some instances we know that we shouldn’t want it. I’ve had experience recently of people telling me that I’m wrong longing for what I want.

But why are we longing for it? Because this post could get a tad emotional, let’s stick to my new iPad. I knew I wanted it. My old one which I enjoyed using was broken and the new one is shiny and I can doodle on it!

But why did I want something that is shiny and that you can doodle on? You can get some pretty cool paper nowadays. Well, because that very expensive piece of glass and metal will make me happy.

It’s only when we start asking the childish questions that I think we get close to the real reason for longing. We want the emotional response. Sure, there’s probably an evolutionary desire (apparently we fall for people who look like our parents) and, as with everything, we shouldn’t ignore the sociological impact of our surroundings. But what we’re longing for is that emotion.

The iPad brought a smile to my face. The new job presents a new challenge. The new place to live presents more readily obvious opportunities. The new love brings with it a lot of excitement, fun and a vast array of different emotions.

Sometimes we’re longing for someone or something we can’t have. This may be out of vanity, because being with them or having it will make us feel better about ourselves. We may want it or them because of uniqueness and the idea of supply and demand. We may just want it or them because they’re fricking awesome and sometimes, especially at the end of relationships, we want that person because of the investment that we’ve put in previously. Sometimes it can be a mix of the last two, that you spent so much time being awesome together that you simply want that back because it was so awesome. Again, we want the emotion that we can get from that thing or person.

And yet, sometimes we get what we’re longing for. What then? The honeymoon is over. The iPad is just the same as the old one, but it works. The new job is still a grind. The new city has restaurants, clubs, bars, sports teams and everything else the other one has yet you still went through all the trauma of relocation. The new love of your life wakes up with bad breath just like the last one. In these instances, you may start longing for something else.

Your goals change and this can be a good thing. The change is keeping you on your toes and helping you gain new experience. You wait for the next Apple conference to find out that they’ve put Force Touch in to the new iPad so you start wanting one of those instead. You see an exciting new job that pays a bit more money. You see a new location with better weather. You find someone else who gives you those butterflies you remember from your last first kiss.

In other words, what we are longing for is longing. I don’t know what your opinion is on this, dear Reader. This was kind of the point of the rant I posted earlier today. I’ve mentioned above that always having something to strive for can be positive. But it’s always a short term fix. Things become routine so you need something to shake that up. Do that new thing for a while and that becomes routine as well. You become unhappy because you remember the feeling you got the last time you uprooted and shook everything up.

Is it not sad that you can’t be happy going to the same job you enjoy year after year, or always going to the place that makes the best pancakes you’ve ever had, or happy with that person who is everything you’ve ever wanted despite the dribble on the pillow or the fact that the girl you saw last night has fancy hair?

Is it not sad that you can never allow yourself to be happy with what you have in that moment? After all, a lot of little moments can become a long time, and happiness for a long time sounds pretty great to me.

I’ve been trying to find a way that I could say it you –
Say to you, all that I’ve been trying to say.
I’ve been stuttering my way from here to anywhere –
Anywhere you can hear me stutter away.

I’ve been longing for the day, when you would say “Hey,
I feel a little fragile today, and I was wondering if I could drop on by?”

I’ve been talking to total strangers in the middle of the night,
Because I get so nervous when I dial your number
That I never quite punch it in right, in spite of me.

So I haven’t been as strong as I had thought I’d be,
But I think I’ve been stronger than you would concede.
So let’s do that exercise where you close your eyes
And fall back onto me, and you will see I’m strong after all.

I will lift you up if you’ll lay me down.

So today could be the day when we both say “Hey,
I feel a little fragile today, and I was wondering if I could drop on by?”

So I won’t be nervous when I dial your number in the middle of the night.
I will clear my throat, then I’ll sing this song,
And I’ll be out the door and round before the first of the new day’s light.

Longing For The Day by Frank Turner

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