I think that Noah had it right when he marched those animals on to the ark two by two. And not just for the obvious reasons.
Some animals like turtle doves, swans and wolves hook up for life.
Given the numbers, I’m sure there were some tense moments on the ark. Even the best of partners, given extended time in close quarters, will start to rattle each other’s cages. Good thing it was a relatively large boat. But how would they have felt if they had made the trip solo? Lonely, unsatisfied and a bit of a third wheel as all the other animals would be with their mates. Sure it would be fun for a while. Footloose and fancy free on a trip at sea. But soon they may have found themselves wanting some company. Maybe just somebody to sit and share some hay with.
Some animals like dolphins and Bonobo monkeys only come together occasionally.
Bonobo monkeys, for example, are amongst a handful of animals (including humans) that have sex recreationally and for social purposes. I have this image of a large hairy monkey coming onto the ark on his own and siding up to the bar trying to buy the llama a drink. Hey, we don’t know maybe the ark had a bar. We just don’t know. Anyway, I would imagine the monkey would have found it pretty hard to find somebody he was compatible with on that wet journey. Not to mention that pretty much everybody already had a buddy to buy them a drink. Although, being that type of monkey, maybe he was okay with it. Some are.
I have realized this week that I am not like that monkey.
I am a fairly strong independent women and I am used to being on my own a fair bit, but I need a partner and I’m not afraid to admit it. My husband has been working on a huge event and I am immensely proud of him but it has meant that he has been away much more than he has been home in the last six months. It’s not just that I miss him. It’s more than that. This last while I have felt restless and discombobulated. Like something just wasn’t quite right.
I would have been happy to go on Noah’s little cruise so long as I had a partner. I would not want to go through life as a solo traveler. I like having somebody to laugh with, argue with and cuddle with. I like knowing that I don’t have to make decisions on my own. I am happy that I have somebody to share my hay with. Yes, both kinds of hay.
Is it human nature? Or are some people more like the monkey than the turtle doves? Which are you?
“I made a new friend today.” A normal thing for a seven year old to come home and say, but what about a fifty year old? As we get a little older it isn’t as easy to meet new people and really connect. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be as open and carefree as a seven year old? This summer I spent a week in the Okanagan with my daughter. Each day we would go to the lake and set up our chairs. She would look around, find somebody close to her size (smaller or bigger didn’t seem to matter) and go and play with them. Sometimes it worked out and the day was spent with her new best friend swimming and building sand castles. Occasionally, it didn’t work out and she would move on to the next small person. So easy and so unassuming.
A few years ago I was having dinner with a group of old friends. Our conversation turned to a women we had all met at a party a few weeks before. She seemed nice and one of us suggested we invite her to our next dinner. At this point one of my girlfriends said “Sure invite her, but I’m not interviewing for any new friends right now”. I didn’t think much of it at the time and we all laughed at her, but it has sort of stuck with me over the years. When you make a statement like that, don’t you close yourself off to so many new experiences, opinions and well, joys? Who’s to say that the person you met at the event you went to last night isn’t going to be your best friend in the next few years and bring a new perspective to your life. New ideas, fresh outlooks and perhaps even another new friend. Sure, they could be a total nut job, but wouldn’t it be better to find out first before you block them on Facebook?
I feel that the best thing to do at this stage in my life when starting a new friendship is to not have too high of an expectation. I know that may sound a bit cynical, but hear me out. I do not expect to have coffee with you every week. I do not expect to chat with you on the phone every day. I do not expect birthdays present or even a card. I don’t expect any of those things from friends I have known for years, or are particularly close to, so why would I expect them of some body I just met? I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to friendships. My friends have pissed me off many times over the years and I’m pretty sure I’ve done the same, but you get over it. In a solid friendship there is no judgment and there is no “Did I offend you”? Of course you did, but that’s okay, we’ll move on.
I met two great women this summer. In my opinion, both are strong, independent women with big hearts. I could see being friends with both of them; for completely different reasons. I also got to know some women who I didn’t know very well, a little better. All of this happened very naturally and easily. Again, there is no expectation that we will swap spit or have slumber parties anytime soon, but could I call them if I needed a friendly chat or some support? Absolutely. How do you know if the person you meet is potential friend material? It’s one thing to be able to carry on a conversation with somebody, but to feel like you could spend the day just hanging out and talking means that you have shared values and interests.
Maybe that’s why it is so easy for our kids to make new friends. They are without judgement. They see only a person who likes what they like and can build a mean sandcastle. The Best Thing in Life would be to open ourselves up like a seven year old and make some new friends. At any age.