The Pragmatist

He was such an authoritarian pragmatic it took a lifetime to realize not everyone is like that. The world isn’t like that. Most people in the world are not like that. That made me the weird one. W-h-a-a-a-t?

It’s not surprising this presented a unique set of challenges in sustaining whimsical love. Isn’t ‘whimsical’ the very nucleus of love or is that just the woman in me speaking? Maybe pragmatists love the whimsy of love because it is the exact opposite of who they are and what they live. There’s truth to that. For me, anyway. It’s like a forbidden potion. But, after all, I am the weird one.

If I wanted to be a good, upstanding adult, I believed I had to be like Dad, and likewise, I wrongly thought, as all other adults. So being ‘the weird one’ was my unintended goal. Ipragmatic1 succeeded in rare form. To some degree I suppose I was prewired for it, for surely not every child reared by an authoritarian pragmatist takes kindly to it.

Mom was the busied housewife with homemaking and social duties as one might expect of the perfect 1950’s mother. At a young age it was my job to iron Dad’s white hankies for his suit pocket (remember, this was the 50s). She seemed to enjoy her role and she was very good at it. Dad was the deep thinker, the one who probed places of the mind and universe that most people did not share with a little kid like me. When Dad gave me one-on-one time, I was euphoric, in heaven, soaking up his words, his perspectives, his ambitions, and his values. I loved Mom dearly and I learned much from her, but ironing hankies, cooking a good meal or catering a crowd came second to where Dad’s deep-ponderings took me.

I suppose it’s impractical to expect any woman to forever be a good textbook wife and mother as Mom tried to be. Or maybe the differences between she & Dad were just too great, which is more likely. She left years later, with us secured in familiar surroundings and Dad’s financial stability. Even through that heartache and turmoil, Dad kept himself above the fray of speaking badly about Mom. He always reminded us of special occasions, like her birthday or Mothers Day, lest we forget to show her we were thinking of her.

Now that is the ultimate pragmatist.

pragmatic2Even through my rebellious years I kept my eye on sound reasoning, whether I let it influence my own behavior or not. I readily identified when I was doing wrong, I just did it anyway. As most youngsters, eventually I settled into living a real life, having no idea that my innate pragmatism was causing more problems than it was solving.

It took years – way too many – to learn that people in general resent a person like me. I could feel the resentment, I just didn’t know why it was there. I didn’t figure that out until I was senior in age. Maybe I’m a slow learner or maybe that’s how seriously I took being what I had so admired in Dad. It was all I knew to be, really. It’s how I was programmed and the older I got the more I had perfected it – except when it came to love.

What was supposed to work so well for the makings of a good adult caused a lot of personal grief. I kept sloughing it off as others being strange or morally deficient until, one day, I looked around and came to the stark realization that, as good as my intentions were, I was alone in thinking like I do and in being as self-disciplined as I am … I am the weird one. I am the exception to the rule. Oh sigh. What to do now?

Well, we all know you can’t change your internal programming. You can try to rearrange it, better it, polish or tweak it, but you cannot change it. My only choice was to keep being some updated version of me and hope the day would come when I could attract the rare few who must be out there like me (there must be others?).

I’m still waiting.

There are no others like me.

I should’ve known that, too. That’s what makes us all uniquely individual. There’s no one like any of us out there.

The moral of the story is,  we’re all weird. We are all the same in that we are all different. So as I continue working on myself I’m also tweaking ‘what/who’ I’m waiting for. Now I’m waiting for someone who values my innate uniqueness and whose unique form of theirs I can embrace. That’s a lot more likely. I think. At least it increases the odds. I think.

pragmatic3A friend once told me of his father’s advice:  “In a good marriage the debits equal the credits.” That’s an accounting term, which means all of the assets [debits] equal all of the liabilities [credits]. That’s how you know everything is in balance, as it should be.

Now that’s pragmatic. Ahhhh, I’ve come full circle.


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