In part one of this series I explored some of the different meanings of the noun “loss”. Today I’m going to explore the verb “find” in a similar way. My copy of the Oxford English Dictionary gives me fifteen definitions, whilst the on-line version gives nearer twenty.
To come upon by chance
In the space between chaos and shape there was … chance.
Jeanette Winterson, The World and Other Places: Stories
Most of us have experienced something in our lives that seemed totally out of the blue. Completely unlikely. Chance, fate, call it what you will.
For me it was meeting my husband. Sometimes just thinking about how ridiculously unlikely our meeting was makes me feel very, very small. If you imagine that for every possible outcome of every possible decision there is a separate parallel universe, the number of universes in which I meet, fall in love with and marry S would most likely be a ridiculously small number.
We first “met” in a well-known on-line game. I was the leader of a guild, and he joined that guild by way of a mutual friend. The number of chances in just that scenario is crazy.
First, either one of us could have never started playing the game, or played a little then given it up. Then perhaps we would have chosen to play opposing factions, or on different servers. There’s the chance that neither of us would have met the friend that introduced us to each other, or that the introduction would not have happened for some other reason.
Even assuming that all those chances did fall into place, there’s nothing that guaranteed we would get together. Perhaps we would not have spent so much time together in-game and wouldn’t have got to know each-other so well. Perhaps neither of us would have built the courage to talk about the way we were feeling. Perhaps neither of us would have taken the risk of meeting some strange person off the internet. Even as late as the evening I was meant to go to the airport to meet him I had people telling me I shouldn’t, because he could be anyone.
The thing about this kind of chance though, is that if it hadn’t happened I would not have known any difference. I would not have known what I was missing, because I never would have had it. And now that I do know, it’s already happened, so there’s no need to worry about “what if”.
And anyway, chance may have helped me find S, but it is choice, and love, that will help me keep him.
To discover the whereabouts of
Take our cat Woody. Woody used to be an outdoor cat. I don’t mean feral, I mean that he was allowed to be indoors or outdoors as he chose. Nowadays however Woody is an indoor cat, because he kept going and getting himself lost.
I’m sure he didn’t think of himself as lost. He chose not to come home and would be missing for weeks at a time, because he didn’t like my younger brother’s new dog. Unfortunately there was only one way in/out of the house for the cats, and Wispa realised that. Wispa liked to “play” with the cats as they came through the cat flap, and Woody in particular did not like that. So sometimes he wouldn’t come inside.
There were times when he was lost but we knew where he was. We knew he was “around”, and even knew at least one house that he frequented. But knowing his whereabouts didn’t necessarily mean he was no longer lost. He was tricky and good at escaping. Even when he saw one of us, his family, he would run away. I found it interesting when we found him the first time it happened that, when I approached him, he truly seemed to be torn between coming to me for a cuddle and running away to hide. I managed to get close enough to catch him and carried him home.
The next time he went missing we found him completely by accident. We were coming home from walking the dog and spotted him on a fence up ahead. I again managed to catch him. I felt a bit bad because I had to open the gate and go into the edge of the garden to get him. I don’t think the owners of the house were home at the time, and as much as I didn’t like trespassing even for a second I was terrified that if I didn’t get him right then he would disappear again.
The third (and I believe final) time that he managed to go missing (despite being kept inside where he could roam the two upper storeys, away from the dog) I wasn’t around to catch him. My older brother got badly scratched when he tried to catch him in the garden of the house that we knew Woody frequented. Poor cat must have been terrified. We got him back around Bonfire Night as the owners of the house had the cat-flap set so the cat’s couldn’t get out (because fireworks) and they found him asleep on a chair in their house.
Woody hasn’t gone missing since then, and is now much happier. He lives with my older brother and one of our other cats in a dog-free house. Due to their location he is still an indoor cat, but a much happier one.
To find one’s feet
One foot in sea and one on shore,
I’ve mentioned before that I’m an introvert. Introversion doesn’t always mean shyness, but I am shy. As such it can take me a while to feel comfortable in new situations. For example, one of the work placements I did as part of my nursing degree. It took me several weeks to feel comfortably settled in – to find my feet. Even then I didn’t feel completely comfortable. I got the feeling that they didn’t really “get” introversion – they didn’t like it that I wasn’t constantly putting myself forward and badgering them with questions.
I can’t change my personality to please others. It’s not that I never asked questions. I did when I felt I needed to. But most of the time I much preferred to observe, to take things in and learn by watching. Some of the time I didn’t ask questions because I knew the answers already, so there was no need to ask. And in other cases I didn’t necessarily even realise it was something I needed to ask about. By which I mean, to give a rather extreme example, if you’ve never seen or heard about lions, you are not likely to ever ask where lions live.
There is a divide between extroverts and introverts. A lot of extroverts don’t understand introverts. They don’t understand how exhausting it is for us to be in the hustle and bustle. To be expected to do instead of just be. They push for us to be more like them, because that is what they understand.
Introversion is not bad, nor is it wrong. We are not sad, we are not all shy. Being introverted doesn’t mean we don’t like to do fun things. We just find different things fun. For some people sitting at home with a good book is more enjoyable than going out with friends to a crowded bar. Different people have different values.
I’m going to stop here as the post is already getting quite long. Keep your eyes peeled for part three coming soon!
Which of these definitions did you find most interesting? Do you have a story to share related to “finding”?