The Beautiful Impermanence Of Human Connection


Today, I am in a free and wonderful place where I accept our beautiful connection for exactly what it is at any given time. This means it may exist or it may not. I’ve had it at times, hating it’s impermanence and clinging to it—I sensed it’s inevitable ending. I’ve gone without it at other times, feeling the weight of its absence—the loss of your magical mind and my ability to shine for you. Now, you’re reintroducing our connection into my life. I’m finding that I appreciate it for what it is in the moment. If we interact, I feel our connection in the air, in my body. Then when you move on, it dissipates into the ether. I might miss you momentarily, the thought becomes a physical, electrical, then hormonal signal manifesting in my body as an ache—a wish for your return. As I turn my attention back to whatever the day holds, you disappear from mind. I know there are times when you are plagued with thoughts of me and times when you are not, focusing instead on what’s in front of you or other people and other things. What remains in the back of my mind is the fact that you care about me. The fact that your heart and mind return to me for now. I’m left with a sense of warmth and joy and a calm confidence.

I’m realizing that it would be a mistake to expect something so unique and volatile to fit into a notion of what it should be. It is so odd to me now that we all have an idea of what a relationship should look like. We have in mind a course of action it should take. We predetermine what roles each person should inhabit. We go so far as to expect certain actions, and put them on display for our friends, to prove that we are loved. We don’t ever consider the complexity and nuance of each individual’s lifelong experience. We don’t consider the personalities of those in question and what’s right for them. We don’t consider that even something as simple as a few words exchanged can grow and sustain a beautiful connection. Something so small can create in two people feelings of love and contentment more powerful than a decades-long marriage.

The connection between two people is as subjective and specific as the indescribably intricate web of neurons that make up their minds, the sum total of their respective life experiences, and the profound physical experiences their emotions manifest. To think that any two connections are alike is inconceivable. No, their only similarities come from the adherence to social guidelines. They are just that—guidelines. I’d even be so bold as to say they are arbitrary guidelines needed only by those who crave social acceptance and recognition. We focus on possession in our relationships. We expect to be treated in a way that reassures our value and self-worth. If this is the case, then inherently we are disowning the ability to decide who we are and determine our own value; we are actively choosing to give it away to another.

We fight against impermanence in every action within our relationships. Our focus is commitment and the validation it brings. We are coveting the approval of other human beings. Anything that threatens this external marker of self-worth is to be raged against. Some of us get jealous of our partners’ other relationships: exes, friendships, work relationships, familial relationships. We discount the love and happiness that these either brought or currently bring to our partner. We expect to be invited into all of these relationships. We feel rejected if our partner puts time and effort into these other aspects of their lives. The truth is that these other relationships are just as essential to our partner—they each are another source of love and fulfillment, if anyone is lucky enough to have them. They are essential diversification. They are all, also, just as impermanent. As such, everyone should be allowed to enjoy them in the moments they exist. The love and fulfillment they bring should be optimized in the moment, for they too will morph and change.

Ultimately, I realize that love and connection are something we choose, or not, every single day. I also realize that the shape and quality of that connection will change every single day, likely multiple times per day. It is as dynamic as the people that bring it forth. Connection exists daily, hourly, minute by minute. Commitment, on the other hand, exists over longer periods of time. Some of us may wake up and choose the same person, the same fluctuating connection, for decades or lifetimes. We can remain committed to another, but take breaks from interaction and focus on other things and other relationships. We can do this for hours, days, weeks, or even months at a time. We can focus on other things for years, then return to a connection to which we could never quite let go, one to which we remain committed. True commitment is not covetous, it does not seek validation or approval, but rather is a recognition of the connection between two people and the desire to dwell within it.

We will all derive love and fulfillment from many different types of relationships in our lives. There is a constant flux in the number and quality of these relationships. People will exit our lives and others will enter. We may experience profound love through friendships, colleagues, our favorite author. When we are lucky enough to find another human whom we connect with, and we wish to dwell within that connection, it can bring such wonder and beauty to our lives. It’s impermanence, however, must be embraced and respected. Though the connection is impermanent and in constant flux, the effect it has on the hearts and souls of those within it is quite permanent. It may inform a commitment to that very specific connection, or it might not. It will, regardless, contribute to the change you experience tomorrow and the next day. It will grow you and teach you. It will make you more wise. It will contribute to your enlightenment, your happiness—your acceptance of change.