I need an infatuation. And not just with a person, because I have enough love and frankly am tired of being defined — in success and in happiness — by the romantic love I possess at a given moment. We live in a world with a million and one things to fall in love with, to enjoy, to be totally taken with, and I want to touch them all.
I want a concept, a project, a place — though I have all-too-often made the mistake of thinking that a simple change in geographic location is going to replace everything else that is missing from my life, that it can stand on its own as everything that is good and real. Yes, we need to move, and sometimes we do, but there is only so much of us that a new apartment or a new zip code can satisfy. And yet, again and again, we try.
I think it’s why we love cities. Living in a town just big enough to be cripplingly small, I thought it would be impossible to be in one for more than five minutes without falling in love with something. And we do, for a moment. We fall in love with our strange new neighbors who make more noise as two people than your entire neighborhood did before, with the smell of cigarette smoke, with the way crusty bread feels when you tear it off at a new restaurant — all things that eventually slip into the grating or the prohibitively expensive but which are, for a few moments at a time, wonderfully infatuating.
And we see things in our cities that we hate, almost as many as we love. We keep a tally of all the ups and downs of being in this big new place, wait until the negatives spill over into every part of our life, and then we leave again. We get sucked into a lovely little daydream, standing in front of beautiful architecture and breathing in the smell of rich, warm food, where we feel that this is everything we were looking for. And then a group of obnoxious teenagers walk by, spitting and throwing their cigarettes on the ground. There is only so much a city can provide, and we can either keep moving from location to location, or we can find something new in ourselves to enjoy. A book, a hobby, a new group of friends in a brand-new bar.
We are constantly running, looking for the perfect combination of being alone and being together to make things always feel good. We might need to be in love to see things the way they’re meant to be seen, but not necessarily with a person — just as our city can’t save us, neither can being with someone simply to fill the silence. Sure, to fall in love with a person would be nice, but when you are actively searching for romantic love you’re almost destined not to find it. You can’t waste your time, your youth, your beautiful surroundings waiting for someone to validate it. I would be happy with just being in love with a good book, an opera, a philosophy I overheard in another conversation and turn around in my head until it settles like a fine dust over everything I believe.
It’s hard not to feel sometimes like you’re running around in circles, trying to distract yourself with a new partner or a trip to somewhere fresh and exciting, like you can’t ever stand still. I want the infatuation of learning something new, of discovering something about myself, the thrill of the small joys that don’t cost anything and don’t require anyone else’s presence. I want to be infatuated with myself, to feel like I am enough, and I so rarely do.
I want that falling feeling, that obsessive interest with all that’s around me, with all that I’m capable of. And most importantly, I want that infatuation to come from not where I’m standing, not from who I’m standing with, but from just how beautiful my life is on its own, from how wonderful it is to be alive, how much I am worth just by myself.
I want it all.