Love and death

How can we savor the time we're here -- and how do we want to be remembered when we're gone? Table Talkers search for answers.

Published July 21, 2006 11:00AM (EDT)

Private Life

Serial Monogamy: the OTHER lifestyle

Robert Chariot - 01:48 pm Pacific Time - Jul 14, 2006 - #345 of 378

There is a certain kind of rush that is elicited by the beginnings of a romantic involvement, a "high" that is prolonged even further when the involvement is a suitable and effective one. I know this is certainly the case with me.

I believe it is important to examine this feeling. Nothing in one's life has really changed, except for the fact that there is another person with whom we have developed a mutual interest. And yet, life seems suddenly golden, as if our relationship to the world is right and good, as if we are suddenly girded with the ability not only to face but to laugh at what yesterday seemed like insurmountable problems. We feel healthier, with a gleaming sense of well-being. We look in the mirror and see a handsomer, smarter, more confident man reflected back at us.

And yet, what has changed, exactly? Did our new Sig Other get up in the dark of night and fix all of our life problems while we slept? Did she arrange for secret cosmetic surgery to make us handsomer, or sleep courses to make us smarter? Did she inject us with vitamins to make us healthier?

No. She did none of these things. All of the wonderful "effects" we are attributing to the romance are things we did ourselves, changes enacted within us, by us alone. The Sig Other simply represents a key to the door to these feelings. The Sig Other represents an "OK," and approval, that we somehow think we require to open the door to a happier M.O.

The point I am making is that I believe it is important for each one of us to look within and examine why we need someone's OK to just feel good about life, to feel good about ourselves, to feel good about the day, and the day after, and the day after that. If we can only find the wherewithal to open that door on our own, we will not burden our partners with the requirement that they be our Saviors. We will then have that great life that others are interested in sharing, not supplying. We will be quite happy alone or with a partner, because we will not be dependent on a partner to bring us our happiness.


The Off-Topic Thread VIII

Elizabeth Nolan - 07:06 pm Pacific Time - Jul 7, 2006 - #8009 of 8162

I always hate those roadside shrines that pop up where someone died. All right, hate's too strong a word. But I dislike them. I understand the desire to mourn, to recognize the end of a life, to memorialize. Once a spot has been marked, that's enough. Don't decorate it, you ghoul.

Why can't people translate that impulse into action for the living? Instead of leaving a teddy bear where a child was killed, why not give it to a child who doesn't have one? If you don't know such a child, there are many charities that would appreciate a contribution, and you can put it in the name of the dead person if that makes you feel better. A bouquet of flowers left at the base of a tree where the car crash happened will turn into trash within hours or days. Give the flowers to someone who's around to appreciate them.

This isn't to say that I don't understand putting flowers on graves of loved ones. No, that makes sense to me. But if the deceased is a stranger, how much better to celebrate the living. How much kinder and more meaningful to show those around you that they are appreciated, cared for. If I have the misfortune to die in an accident or at the hands of a killer, it's what I would want. Don't decorate the place where I died. Decorate the world in which you live.

By Salon Staff

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