It’s a little word that can somehow, with only 6 letters, carry the weight of the world. It carries a sense of being incomplete. Abandoned promises, breaking down before you cross the finish line. No one wants to be “almost.” We all want to be “forever.”
It’s always easier in the beginning, when everything is fresh and exciting. The pressure to understand your circumstance doesn’t feel so heavy. The questions of “what are we?” don’t feel that important. Because, it’s new, and what’s the rush?
Because, we’re taking our time, and what’s the point of a title anyway? When you’re just starting out, almost feels easy. It can even feel like exactly where you’re meant to be. But time moves on, and as it does your ability to look the other way goes with it. Soon, those questions aren’t so easily ignored. Those titles feel like a prize you’ve earned but aren’t allowed to receive. But you convince yourself that some things are worth waiting for, and some people just take time.
So you wait. And you wait. And you bottle it it up. And you wait some more. Until you find that waiting feels like a more solid standpoint than your relationship with the person in front of you. And then finally push comes to shove, and those answers you’ve been looking for are right in front of you. Only, they aren’t the answers you were hoping you’d get.
When we find ourselves on the other side of almost, the side of looking back instead of looking forward, it isn’t always easy. You look back with a microscopic lens, trying to pick up the tiniest fragments of evidence that might tell you where you went wrong. Or the signs you seemed to miss. Anything to help explain your circumstance, because it probably doesn’t make an ounce of sense.
Maybe you’re feeling anger. Maybe you’re feeling sadness. Maybe you’re even feeling one of the worst emotions of all—regret.
Regret over time wasted, or regret over who you thought this person was. Maybe just regret over who you thought you were, and that maybe you just weren’t enough. But regret isn’t going to bring you back. It’s not a time machine that will load you up and take you back to a place where you can make it go differently. So instead of regret, why not look at things in a different light?
Something about this person was right for you. It can be something as small as the TV shows you used to watch together, to something as deep as a midnight phone calls figuring out your demons. We’re all just people, and our purpose is connection. Not every connection stands the test of time. But that’s not to say they didn’t mean something. Life is made of up fragments and moments, and sometimes the people we meet have a place in those fragments, if only for a little while.
And maybe those fragments didn’t add up. Maybe they weren’t ready, or maybe somewhere the messages got crossed. Maybe one of you just realized that this connection, while beautiful, wasn’t one that was meant to stick. And that’s okay. Every person that comes and walks your path comes bearing the gift of experience. Whether that experience is rotten, ugly, mystical, magical, extraordinary, and everything in between…there’s just no way of knowing when you first start out. But whatever package that experience comes wrapped in is a gift nonetheless.
So maybe they only walk with you for a short while. Maybe they walk parallel to you across a dotted line. And no matter how badly you want it, your lanes never seem to merge. But whatever you take from this journey and the people that come along with it help add to who you are. They teach you what you like, what you don’t like, what you’re willing to accept, and the deal breakers that are non-negotiable.
Your almost relationship may not be forever, but maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe instead of it being “I almost had them,” we can learn to look at it as “I’m almost there. I’m one step closer to the next chapter.”