On being human

On a hike the other day, keeping company with my camera, I suddenly stumbled upon a couple of young humans…ahem…enjoying each other’s company quite strenuously.  Blushing furiously, I turned about face and fairly sprinted back in the direction I had come to give them privacy.

I understand this process from an intellectual perspective, but I was surprised (and a bit alarmed) how much it disrupted my peaceful afternoon hike.  Not that I was bothered or disgusted by their behaviour, but that I have never been a part of something similar.  And, occasionally, when I lift my head up from the leaves and flowers, it worries me.

How could I have reached such a mature age without even knowing how to kiss?

This seemingly silly question is troubling because leads to other worries; for example, that I am missing out on something so fundamental to human existence.  And that I have spent so many years on this Earth without ever having been loved.  It leads to other questions.  Like: what is wrong with me?

And it leads me to wonder if (or I should say, “decide that”) I’m not even really human.

(Such a human thing, to wonder if you are human!)

But how could anyone feel sorry for me and my condition?  I know how to find happiness under every rock and in every branch, contentment in silence, and security in simple comforts.  If anyone were meant (or even designed?) for solitude, it would be me.

I know how to be strong when others are not, how to comfort myself when I am despairing, even how to let myself be weak.

But now I wonder if I am too old to learn how to kiss, or whether I could ever feel safe in someone’s arms.  Or whether indeed such a scenario is even near enough to possible that I should concern myself with it.  I often think it quite likely that I am simply unlovable, homely and awkward as I am.

And if, periodically, I ponder why it is that young couples make love on lazy Sunday afternoons, or why, while standing in line, that one leans just ever so closely toward the other, or even why people touch each other for comfort…well, it does not change the fact that a beautiful day can move my heart like nothing else, or my excitement upon exploring someplace new, or the warmth I feel when looking at a beautiful organism.

But beings like me are not long for the gene pool, are we?

(Thanks, Darwin.)

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17 thoughts on “On being human

  1. Some people are quick to start a project, the. Find themselves worn out quickly, lagging in their efforts as they burn out. Others are slow starters, but strong finishers. People like you make attractive partners to mature people who also are independent and self-directed. Does that describe a lot of people? No. But it only takes one, and it’s not a race. I see two of my children on a similar life trajectory, and it’s just fine. Having a life that’s full and satisfying is nothing to be ashamed of. You’re just coming out of your cocoon and fanning your wings. You ‘ll get to flying soon enough.

      • Just because the media portrays a certain lifestyle doesn’t mean everyone’s doing it. There are plenty of people who live life at a different pace– they just aren’t on TV or in the movies, for the most part. Being authentic has been underrated.

      • It is kind of weird because I often check out of that kind of media. I go for long periods of times without watching movies or television, or listening to the radio. And then I go to a movie with a friend and it just seems accepted that a person of my age has had several partners and readily sleeps with casual partners. I always feel quite surprised at that.

      • My oldest daughter asks why she’d want to date someone she knows is not “the one.” Hard to have a good comeback to that. Why date just to say you did? I appreciate her desire to be true to herself. Some of us need an element of silence and being alone to function at our best. Some of us have no patience with meaningless relationships. That’s the diversity in our species. The ones who want meaning in every relationship, though, aren’t what the media sells – yet. Oh well. Congratulations for being discerning and authentic. Nothing wrong with that — I think we should all be that way. Maybe y’all are the advanced guard for a new generation –one who is over The free love of the 60’s and is ready for authentic love. That’s not a bad thing. Cultural evolution? Hang in there.

      • It is actually even simpler than that…I’ve not had a meaningless relationship or any relationship simply because I have never been offered one. Not that I have pursued one either, but no one has ever been interested in me. It could be because I am not attractive physically, or because my personality repels such advances. I don’t really know. It has become a matter of mild curiosity and periodically (though not consistently) concern. Yet I am not motivated to seek out romantic relationships. Seems like a lot of pain is involved, which I am loathe to invoke.

      • My theory is that people who aren’t ready for a relationship broadcast that, and at some subconscious level, people notice. When you’re ready to be that vulnerable, and ready for a relationship, someone is more likely to make an effort to take a friendship further. It sounds simple, but that doesn’t make it easy. But then, I could be all wrong.

  2. I love the way you recognize the qualities you value in yourself. Remember too, it takes great strength to be vulnerable & open, and to allow any kind of connection with a fellow human– or with nature, or an animal. Try not to judge yourself for the ways you have or haven’t connected with humans, and remember that your heart IS capable of melting, of feeling excitement & passion, of appreciating beauty, of being open- you said so yourself & it’s evident in every post where you gush about every little thing you love in the natural world. You are human, lovable, & your heart is as deep & vast as the world you study & connect with.

    my $.02 cents

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