A poem for Monday

It's intriguing to me how we make all the right noises about people being able to do what they want, construct their lives in many kinds of unconventional ways. But the calendar we observe is a conservative one; designated days for mothers and fathers, lovers and families. The estranged, the single, the non-believers suffer many days of alienation throughout the year; reminders that we didn't fall in line.

I'm happy to have surrounded myself with people who are supportive, who understand that there's an upside and a downside to everything and you can rue the downside without meaning you regret things you've chosen. And I love this poem by Philip Larkin because it verbalizes some of the complexity of these choices. We often feign confidence in our decisions, because we don't want to be seen as people with regrets, with self-doubt. But, there's all of that, for me at least.

Places, Loved Ones
No, I have never found
The place where I could say
This is my proper ground,
Here I shall stay;

Nor met that special one
Who has an instant claim
On everything I own
Down to my name;

To find such seems to prove
You want no choice in where
To build, or whom to love;
You ask them to bear
You off irrevocably,
So that it's not your fault
Should the town turn dreary,
The girl a dolt.

Yet, having missed them, you're
Bound, none the less, to act
As if what you settled for
Mashed you, in fact;
And wiser to keep away
From thinking you still might trace
Uncalled-for to this day
Your person, your place.
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