Nouns and Verbs

I’ve spent time reflecting on the meaning of words. I started with the word “partner”. I refer to Martin as my partner. We’ve agreed we will never marry, and it seems awkward to call a nearly 60 year old man my ‘boyfriend’. “Partner” fits.

But, it’s more than a noun. What we do is partner – it’s an action. We join together to spend our free time, make decisions, travel, play games, share our lives. It takes effort. I wondered if getting labeled “husband” or “wife”, and forever being a noun, is a hinderance. How do you ‘husband’ or ‘wife’? They aren’t verbs. Partnering is an action and something we choose to do.

It’s the same as “love”. I think, too often, things go wrong when love spends more time as a noun – a thing – rather than an action. When we stop the practice of loving, the noun ceases to exist. It takes effort to keep the noun alive.

This week, I’ve been reflecting on the word “network”. I’m at a stage of life where I have a large, supportive network both personally and professionally. Again, to get to the noun, “network” was first a verb. I had to make the effort to meet people, talk to them, and find a connection.

I know there are some who ‘collect’ people to add to their networks. With social media and LinkedIn, they try to get as many people following them as possible. It’s more about the numbers than the connections.

For me, I need to know the people. There needs to be connection – however tenuous in some cases. Maybe I met them at a conference five years ago and we’ve never seen each other since. Still, we shared time and space. We had a conversation. We had to “network” to become part of a network.

I guess, what comes from my reflection (another noun/verb word), is a reminder to actively work towards the things that are important to me – my partner, my loves, and my work.

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