Relationship Perspective

My friend just had a baby... a completely unexpected baby as of about three months before she was born.  The details of how a baby can be unexpected so far along are unimportant.  The most important thing is that I witnessed a couple so singularly focused on this new little person that it really affected me.  This couple isn't married and they haven't been dating much more than a year or so, but now they're a family.

They're a family because they all chose to be so.  Well, the baby didn't choose, but knowing the parents, I'm pretty confident she would have made the same chose.

Does this couple know every last little detail about each other?  Nope.

Do they know all of their roommate idiosyncrasies, like whether there's drinking from the carton or balls of hair left in the shower?  Doubtful.

But this little person just seem to make all that insignificant  Maybe you're a match on paper, maybe you're not.  Bottom line is that you've got two people dedicated to figuring it out for the sake of another.

When I think of it that way, it doesn't seem like such a stretch to think that two people should be able to figure things out if they just do it for the sake of each other.  Love shouldn't be so hard and there's certainly too much stuff we let get in the way of it.

It seems like most of us clutter up our minds and our hearts with truly insignificant crap.  We're not good at reduction.  We can always think of more things to worry about, to ponder, to get excited about, but how often do we focus on less things?

This couple now has one thing to think about, and all of the sudden, their life, rather than being complicated by this beautiful baby, now seems so simple. 

They don't need a 72-point eHarmony diagnostic to tell them if they're a match.  They don't need to treat the other person like a discounted cash flow model--calculating whether or not they'll be able to support them in the lifestyle and social status that they're accustomed to.  They don't need congressional approval from the congress of friends in their life--mostly temporary people who have a nearly non-existent stake in the outcome of their lives and who probably won't be around for half of it.

We live in an age where information, in addition to informing us, pollutes us.  We're paralyzed by fear.  Rather than look at our own job security, we watch the unemployment number.  Rather than look at our own budget, we watch the housing foreclosure numbers.  We're so focused on staying at home to watch the consumer confidence index, rather than going out and buying the things we can afford that we really want.  And if we can't afford them, we spend too much time watching what other people have to appreciate the things we do have.

Its funny, too, when you think about what people choose to optimize for.  A lot of people decide that they'd rather be focused on careers rather than family.  Given the empirical evidence, I'd say that you have a lot better shot at reaching happiness through living for others than living for your job.  (Of course, I of all people still think its extremely worth it to also focus on reaching happiness in your job, but there's got to be some kind of priorities.)

So what's truly important to you in your life?  How long is that list?

I'd say that if your list is any more than about two or three things, its too damn long.  Focus, people! 

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