I just wrote this post and it was not saved. So I am going to try and recreate it. I am super bummed.
A few months ago my shrink pulled out a piece of paper and started reading it. It was a list of qualities one of his patients was looking for in a partner. It had things like intelligence and humor. I asked, what about love? He said, she has chosen to fall in love with the person who has these qualities.
I never had a list. I had a constellation of qualities I valued: cosmopolitan, likes poetry but not too emo, aesthetic, nice hair. It was never anything I wrote down or was really very aware of other sort of comparing it with other partners and people in my life and thinking I want someone like this, or the opposite of that. In all of us, qualities are a constellation, sometimes a value is exalted in Taurus and sometimes it is in its detriment in Scorpio.
It was not very conscious, that I suppose is the point of the list. Make your desires and your intentions conscious. Figure out what you want. My mother used to say don’t test people, no one passes the test. I took this advice to heart. Having a list is sort of like having a test. Was my mother really saying don’t have a list no one matches the list or was it something else?
Lately I started to wonder if this was wrong advice. Should I have had tests? There are a lot of tests in life of the Joseph Campbell variety. I think of these as life milestones: having a pet, or a plant or joining a community, or committing to a partner. These are tests, but of a different type than the list test. You have to do certain things to successfully care for a plant, or get a partner to commit. If you cannot navigate these tests perhaps you should not reap their rewards. If you cannot care for a plant you should not have plant.
But back to the list meditation, the one thing I have on my list, and my partner probably has too, is flexibility. That is the value, like hope at the bottom of Pandora’s box, that makes everything possible.
My original post was much better, but it is lost. I have recreated some of my thoughts. But they are not as fresh as I thought this morning. I ended that post mentioning the relationship guru Esther Perel. She says something like you will have many partners in your lifetime, and if you are lucky with the same person. It seems like constellations rather than lists are more flexible