Giving Up Math

“It isn’t fair!”

“Life’s not fair.” Would come the reply to my childhood whine. The reply exhausted and frustrated me.

I’m not sure how old I was but I was already treating life as a mathematical equation. I expected my life to compute just the way numbers did in math class. If I bought someone dinner, they’d get the bill the next time. If I got someone a thoughtful gift on their birthday they would return the favor. If I did the dishes they would take out the trash. If I got all the right diplomas I would get all the right jobs. If I loved someone, they would love me back. I expected fairness, that the effort I put into someone or something else would be the same effort I recieved back. I expected other people to think and act the way I do.  However, in the words of Lillian Bridges, “To love someone is to forgive them for not being you.” I have to forgive everyone else and let go of all expectations because the equation someone else has in their head for how the world works might be and probably is different than mine. Expectations are an interesting thing because they seem to be absolutely pointless or perhaps even destructive.

We have to stop waiting…No perfect gift, perfect person, or perfect anything else will lead to the ultimate happiness, enlightenment, contentment or any other term our language has for finding ourselves or whatever it is we are looking for. However, sometimes I still find myself drawn in by the mathematical thinking. If I meditated long enough, did enough yoga, stood in front of the mirror saying my affirmations, read the books, ate the right diet, went to all the seminars…maybe then? I think the universe might be laughing at me and this nonexistent equation I am trying to define. Appropriate because many times I find myself laughing at my thinking.

I am trying to give up doing the right thing just because it is right, pleasing other people for the pat on the head or whatever other form of recognition I feel I may need. For me this means giving of my expectations of others and the world while not losing faith in the good of people.

I think I have figured out that when I love someone I have to love them because it gives me joy, it makes me feel good, and not because I want to be loved back.  Same goes for the buying of dinner, gifts, the chore-split and anything else.


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