Bigger & Better

“The greater part of our lives is spent in dreaming over the morrow, and when it comes, it, too, is consumed in the anticipation of a brighter morrow, and so the cheat is prolonged, even to the grave.” ~Mark Rutherford

I used to talk to a friend of mine about it all the time, the idea that people are always waiting for the bigger, better thing, that too often these days people have become placeholders, friends for a moment until better friends can be found as suitable replacements. And while it’s true of friends, it has also become true of intimate relationships. We can’t bear to be alone so we find someone to spend our time with, but we treat them like interchangeable parts that we can hang up when an “upgrade” becomes available.

Another friend of mine believes wholeheartedly in it. She says that as long as the people you’re involved with know what’s going on, that they’re just stand-ins for other potential mates, then it’s all good. But I can’t help but think that desperation leads people to agree to things they don’t really agree with. I have to admit that I can sometimes be one of those people, especially when it comes to the “friends” side of the equation, so desperate for human contact that I surround myself with people who are using me as the aforementioned placeholder. Then they disappear and I’m left waiting in the wings, wondering what happened to my starring role. Even though I know it is happening, I am still devastated every single time.

And so one argues that the pervasiveness of this “waiting game” is negative, the other one asserts that it’s positive for all involved, while I stand between the two, just fighting for a relevance that will keep me firmly in the friend zone with everyone I myself deem worthy. I’m not looking for anything bigger and better, just for something permanent. Because I’ve been on both sides of the equation, being the leaver, and being the one who’s left, and neither one feels good. Inevitably things even out, and I’m the one standing on the outside, looking in. If patience is indeed a virtue then I’m virtuous to no avail.

Maybe we do have the right to choose “bigger, better” friends, but that only makes it easier for them to then turn us over for what’s bigger and better than us in due time. In that way we get our comeuppance, those of us who choose to trade in and trade up. It’s ironic, really, but certainly fitting, when that happens, when we’re constantly checking our phones for texts from our new friends, but they never arrive. At some point we stop texting ourselves, because deep down we know they’ve passed us over for another, and we put our efforts into finding someone else who appreciates us for who we can’t help being without wanting something more.

And good luck with that.


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