“Lately, I’ve been obsessed with living a more beautiful life,” I commented to a friend a couple of weeks ago when I was visiting New York.
“Maybe it’s because you just got married,” she suggested, presumably imagining some combination of designer shoes, cross stitch, DIY and freshly baked scones.
But no, I told her, it didn’t have anything to do with getting married at all. Nor did it have anything (well, much) to do with interior design, hipstamatic-o-fied photographs, or impractical shoes. Which isn’t to say I’m not sometimes seduced by those things, but my yearning for the “beautiful” life has never been about that, or indeed, about anything aesthetic at all.
They say you can learn a lot about yourself based on what you envy in others, and when I’ve looked at other people’s lives with longing it’s usually been for the same set of things: their connectedness to other people (or better yet, a community of people!); the richness of their intimacies; the sense that, together, they are creating something that matters, whether that’s political, artistic, an adventure or simply the bonds between them.
It’s not that I don’t have these things in my own life. It’s that I can’t get enough of them. I always want a little more, want what I have to be a little fuller.
That’s what “the beautiful life” looks like to me.
Image credit: Jayel Aheram