Love is hard.
They say you need two things: the right person, and the right timing. However, it gets harder as you get older because of the baggage that each of us carry as individuals. Disappointment. Heartbreak. Being pickier. The list goes on and on. And in this day and age of endless choice, we are also bombarded with instant gratification and people seem as disposable as the next item we purchase.
It’s been 2 years since my last post on love. And almost 5 years since my first blog post and one of the biggest love and life lessons of my life.
Do I feel any different after all this time? Did I learn a grander life lesson, or was it simply a nice thought 5 years ago?
There are a lot of question one asks themselves surrounding love but the hardest question for me is still, how do you know? How do you know this person is worth pursuing something with? Then ultimately, how do you know they are “the one”? (If you believe such a thing even exists)
I’ve always had two tests. While I’m not saying either of these are right, maybe there are others that can also attest to it. In my life, only the people I have loved have seemingly passed them. Beyond these, of course we should share similar values and be compatible in other ways, but this isn’t about that.
I call the first test: the happiness test.
Inherently, I believe people are quite selfish. We all want what is best for ourselves. How many times have you heard someone say, “as long as you’re happy” or “do what makes you happy”. Despite this pull to look out for ourselves, sometimes someone comes along and reminds you that you’re not the only important person in your life. I do believe if you really love the person and you want to be with them, then you will put their greater happiness above yours. You will want what is best for that person. You will want that person to be happy regardless of the situation, even if that means they won’t be with you.
I have a good understanding of how selfish I can be, so this is always indicator of where I stand with someone.
My other test is something that is a bit less tangible. I’ve only ever felt this around a few people but it was the undeniable feeling that I had known the person for a long time even though we had only met for a short while. You could say, it just “feels right”. There’s a level of unmistakable comfort that seems to makes everything else easier. It’s a bit like great chemistry but more unique. It comes very rarely, but if I spend some alone time with the person, I know when I feel it. Maybe some people can control their feelings, but I’m the type who can never help how I feel. A feeling is just that to me; a feeling. It doesn’t need a rationale behind every detail.
Of course, like so many others, I would never describe myself as “lucky”. I don’t get emotionally involved easily. Things rarely seem to go beyond the surface of liking someone. When I really like someone, I seem to fall hard and fast. That sounds great except for one major problem; the person has never liked me as well to the same degree. Since it rarely happens, I don’t have an issue with being vulnerable about my feelings towards someone. When something doesn’t come easily in your life, one really needs to advantage of every opportunity.
So do I feel any different now since this post?
Following your heart certainly has a price, but meeting her clearly taught me that I would rather pay the price than look back wondering “what if?”. The next time you ask yourself: is it worth it? Perhaps listen a little harder. I think we often know the answer. We are just afraid to admit it.
No, I don’t feel any different. I was true to myself. I was true to my values and what I cared about. That is all we should ever be.
Like all big things, love involves risk. Perhaps it is the ultimate risk because it is the ultimate gain. It involves dropping your guard. It involves being vulnerable. They’re all scary things.
Sometimes, we need to be stronger than that.
I think in this era of choice and non-committal interactions, we’re constantly thinking of something better. Maybe we consider people to be replaceable. There’s always someone else right? While it’s unlikely there is one person for each of us, there is probably far less compatible people for each of us. The same opportunity rarely knocks twice. Your one shot with someone is usually your one shot. We don’t get do-overs. Without a doubt, I trust my gut a lot. Despite being an emotional person, my gut instincts has a weight of emotional and logical intuition. It has helped me make the biggest decisions of my life. I think they were the best decisions I could make at that time and while consequences were great, I would never hesitate to change those decisions. Perhaps I am loyal to a fault but if that is the case, so be it.
We do what we need to do.
When it’s all said and done, I think we all want someone who accepts us for who we are, wants what is best for us and unconditionally shows us that we matter to their lives. If we never say or show them, how will they ever know? We all deserve it. It’s hard to put someone ahead of yourself, especially for someone who is as independent as myself. But if they mean something to you, that is what we need to do. And sometimes that’s all we can ever do. We can’t force people to feel a certain way or make them see what you see. It’s the whole “I can only show you the door, you have to be the one to walk through it” thing. Sometimes people aren’t ready. Sometimes we want different things. Sometimes we’re not honest with ourselves. Sometimes we’re scared. We all have things that hold us back.
I want to tell a story that builds on my post from 5 years ago. I want to share something I’ve never told anyone in my life.
In the story of the travel romance, there was a time when I altered my itinerary to say goodbye to the girl. I remember her asking why it was so important to me that I said goodbye. Almost everyone thought it was a bad idea and I’m pretty sure everyone thought I was going there to tell her that I love her. I didn’t need to though. Deep down, I knew how the story was going to end and a part of me needed to see her one last time. I knew our lives would diverge immensely from that point on. I knew we would likely never cross paths in the same way ever again.
On the surface, it was simple. I didn’t want to have regrets. I wanted to see things through. There was more to it though. I wanted her to know that despite everything that had happened, she mattered to me and I would be there for her. I wanted her to know that even though people have broken her trust, there are people who would be there for her. I cared. I wanted to be the example to give her that hope. My loyalty was not disposable and neither were my promises. I do believe that because I was there for her, it helped her find her path to love again. I believe we show people who we are with our actions, more so than what we say.
That is the real reason why I needed to be there one last time.
Of course, as far as my story goes, had things turned out differently on that trip, I wonder if I would even be here in Australia typing this up right now. Those lessons helped me make the hard decision to stay in Australia even when it all fell apart. I needed the courage to fight for what I wanted and if I were to leave, I would leave on my terms, not because I threw in the towel or gave up before trying.
Life is fleeting. We don’t really choose when people enter our lives. But more often than not, we choose how they leave it.
I end this with some exerts of a letter from someone who writes far better than me. It’s a letter that always reminds me to have courage; to never give up and when you love someone, you do your best to show them that they matter.
You’ve been on my mind all day today. If you think about it, our encounter with each other relative to the span of our lives, was so brief.
I know that feeling all too well now. That feeling of unease knowing that I may be embarking on a potentially dangerous road. It’s a coward’s fear, I know. I used to always think to myself, you can’t ever experience something bigger and better without the willingness to encounter risk. And in the past, this thinking led me to put myself blindly in harm’s way, for the sake of living life without reservation, for the sake of following my heart in order to live at all. It all sounds peachy doesn’t it, and the idea of ‘risk’ poses minimal threat, until an unexpected punch to the stomach knocks all the dreaminess out of that kind of thinking.
I didn’t come (here) expecting to meet someone. But I did, I met you, and in the beginning, I didn’t think too much about what may come of it. I just let myself live in the moment and enjoy whatever I wanted to enjoy. (But)…something in me changed, and I reverted back to my usual self of keeping everyone at arm’s length, of making sure I had the upper hand on my emotions, as though somehow that would ensure that I’ll never be let down.
I wish I could have allowed myself the freedom to simply enjoy each other, and not look for reasons why I shouldn’t invest my time or my emotions.
I never want to live life being held captive by these fears. As I look ahead to a new crossroads in life, I feel as strongly about following my heart, being true to myself and riding the rollercoaster of life as I did 5 years ago.
Life is meant to have passion. And there’s nothing more passionate than love.
Let’s remember to show those we love by being there for them.