13 January 2007

Letting it be

Julia:

One of my friends has been on this kick where she tries to be conscientious of taking the people in her life for who they want to be in her life, rather than for what role she wants them to play in her own narrative of her life. I guess this means being okay with gray areas in relationships with people, and being okay with people whose roles in your life can't fit into conventional categories.

People and friendships and feelings are fluid and changing, so it may be that you can never naturally pin down somebody in your life and assign them a static role, like New Best Friend or Person Who Will Save Me On White Horse In Shining Armor, without a lot of work, some forgiveness of shortcomings, and possible disappointment.

Another of my friends is very practical about her life. She sees marriage as a moral commitment that may not be easy or natural, but is necessary for one to be functional person, worker, mother and friend. She keeps pretty strict boundaries of her life: these are my friends, this is my family, what is detrimental to either must go. She doesn't spend much time thinking about the more gray-tinged feelings people can have towards others--jealousy, guilt, a fuzzy and approximate sense of morality. On the other hand, I know someone else who seems to revel in the blurry boundaries and contradictory categories in his life. He finds jealousy and guilt and the relativity of morality completely intriguing, and sees the messiness of people's relationships with each other as human and thus more interesting than repressed politeness and clean categories of conventions.

I guess everyone just finds out for themselves how they feel about these things. But either way, it's true that it's hard to fit imperfect, changing things like people, friendships and relationships into perfect, static categories. At the same time, people and relationships are kind of the core of things--I don't think anything matters unless you have people to share things with. So it's kind of a hard thing, sometimes, trying to figure out how you want to structure your social life, what kind of commitments you want to make in your life.

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