Squint Essentials

Let's look at needs, ideal and real. Differences and deferences between. Throwing Maslow out the window with relish, condiments and compliments.

The need for a mate: checks, balances. A soulmate, one whose primal being seems to be drawn from the same basic matter as your own. Cast perhaps into a different mould, subject to environmental change, but retaining and displaying vestiges of the same primordial spirit. A match, sharing a sole flame with the flickerings of your heart. A friend. Now, a different kind of mate. A lifemate, one whom you feel would successfully supplement your being, and you theirs. A partner with whom you would willingly share the remainder of your lifespan. Held together by bonds forged by choice, not necessity or law or momentum. A companion.

Now, it is commonly assumed that these two quasi-mythological creatures must be found together for either to be valid. I think that a dangerous and limiting presumption. I myself have met both a soulmate and one who may someday become my lifemate, and they are not the same person. I see no contradiction here, although there are many who would. In an ideal world, perhaps the two would always be found conveniently as one, perchance meeting on a random street-corner on each's twenty-first birthday. Or something. However, this is not an ideal world. Yet the needs remain. Lesson: do not disparage a longed-for gift because it doesn't come with batteries. They will likely be wrapped in the next package.

A second example. The need for direction. A vector to call your own. A vocation, an outlet for the raging forces within you. Or forces not so raging. Regardless, the task or goal to which you set yourself in this lifetime. A lifequest, defined by an accumulation of desires and aptitudes, hopes and fears, responsibilities and ill-understood urges of the heart. A mission. Yet that is not always sufficient in life. You also need an occupation. What you do. Dr. Skrade calls it, "the intersection of your abilities with the needs of society." What you're good at, where the bread-and-bacon money comes from. A course, a steady channel along which you career. If nothing else, a job.

Again, there is the precept that the two must come together, that either is worthless without the other. This is simply not true. Yes, both are needed, the one being dictated by your heart and the other by society, but they need not occur as one. In fact, I would highly recommend they be kept seperate, in at least some instances. How many artists have been left burned out and embittered shells, disgusted at a world which managed to successfully bribe their talent? By prostituting their forces, their vocation, as if it were an occupation? What greater insult can you heap on your ambitions than to let them be ordered by commission?

Once more, perhaps in an ideal world, the two could be reasonably expected to be congruent. That the writer could let herself write for an occupation, without fearing loss of control, of selling out. Some have managed that now. But it's difficult, and rare enough that you shouldn't regard it as a foregone conclusion. Because if you do get trapped in an occupation at odds with your vocation, don't let yourself lose sight of the latter. Keep your vocation, "keep it burning bright, hold the flame 'till the dream ignites." (Rush: Hold Your Fire, "Mission")

The point is the same: occupation and vocation, lifemate and soulmate, each is needed (or at least greatly desired) for a full and balanced life. Everyone has needs, usually with some expectations about how they will be met. Think about those expectations. Take care that you don't needlessly restrict yourself from valid answers, just because they come in foreign packaging. You seek an occupation, but pass over several worthwhile choices just because they don't also incorporate your need for a vocation. You're looking for a lifemate, but repeatedly shrug off potential suitors because you don't think them soulmates. Maybe you're right, maybe if you wait just a little longer a better offer will come along: a better job, a better mate. The choice to wait or commit is your own. But ask yourself why. That's all. Just think before you act. Ask.