When I was in my twenties, a coworker bought my mom the book Who Moved My Cheese. I remember thinking it was...well...a cheesy book, but I read it anyway—just to see what all the hype was about.
It's a funny little parable that follows miniature people and a couple of mice as they carry out life in a giant maze. One day, the cheese they subsist on is moved. The mice quickly begin exploring uncharted parts of the maze to find new cheese, and the people wander around whining. Every day, they go back to the spot where the cheese used to be and lament the fact that it's not there anymore.
How many times have we all done this in relationships?
You have a friendship that was once supportive and fun and then one day turns into a cat-and-mouse game of flaky unresponsiveness. You call and email and expect she'll turn back into her old self, but the brie you once shared is gone. Yet you find yourself trying and trying to get it back...
Or you have a boyfriend who courted the spanx off you in the beginning and then turns into a cold, inconsiderate stranger who on some level you know you shouldn't be with—but you keep trying to get him to be his old self again. The attentive, nice guy who made your manchego melt. No matter how much you try, though, he won't change his ways.
It's funny how we'll go through the same steps a million times and expect that maybe *just this one time* things will be different. But even if you get your one time of difference, isn't it almost a given that at some point you'll end up in the same cycle you were in before?
We hang on to that 10% of goodness—when 90% is lacking—fully hoping by some miracle that we'll suddenly get 100% of our precious Parmesan back.
But the truth is that the cheese is gone. And no matter how much we shake our fists or cry about how things should be different, they are not. And the best we can do is move down a different corridor of the maze and see if we can find something new to sustain us.