I stood in line purchasing a frozen pizza and jar of pickles, a true vision in sweatpants and a fading T-shirt with bold white lettering that spelled, “Old Guys Rule!”
I can only imagine how enticing I must have looked to everyone around me! Men just waiting for a chance to shout, “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” as I sauntered by in my knock off Ugg-slipper-boot things that look more like I was covering my feet with some roadkill I’d just picked up.
I assure you, Martha Stewart would have peed her pants in excitement from the shining domestic goddess I was! Or maybe she just would have peed her pants. I don’t know anything about Martha Stewart’s bladder control.
I paid for my two items (my breakfast, by the way) and kept thinking about how TOGETHER my life is when I noticed an elderly man at the cashier across the way. He had kind brown eyes and reminded me a bit of Santa Claus, if Santa had been seriously cutting back on his caloric intake. He had that kind of grumbly low voice some old men get, a combination of a life of cigarettes and aging. He was husky, but I wanted to hug him. It was weird. I didn’t hug him because you know, that would have been weirder?
I listened to him speak with the cashier. She smiled, clearly he was a regular and they’d interacted before. He was only buying two candy bars. “For your wife, right?” She asked, but it seemed she knew the answer. He smiled, his baritone voice booming with a crackling undertone. “You know it, she loves these things.”
“I think it’s so sweet you come and get these for her.”
His entire face erupted into the kind of grin that made me want to hug him again. And he said, so simply, “She does quite a lot for me. I’m more than happy to do this for her.”
And there, in the grocery store, actually looking like a hot-mess special on why 20-somethings today suck and don’t know how to do anything, I teared up. Because it was so beautiful. He was just buying his wife candy bars. Because he loved her. And she loved him.
Love becomes an obsession when we lose it. I wonder if it’s a bit like water: something we take for granted when we feel as if we’ll always have it. We replenish our bodies with it. We swim in it. We can even drown, and if nobody is paying attention, we can slip to the bottom of the ocean. But when it’s gone? When we’re in the desert with nothing but mirages and a ticking clock of thirst? It becomes everything. When drought hits, you remember how good it once tasted.
It becomes the ghost hanging out in your old messages. It becomes the dimming memories you desperately cling to, hoping they will somehow ease the blow of reality. It becomes the thing that makes you tear up in the grocery store when you see it and realize you don’t have it.
For most of us, an individual sticks out when we hear certain words. Perhaps it’s the person you fear you won’t ever get over. Maybe it’s even someone you never got: a what-if that burns the back of your throat. There’s such a pressure to move forward and just get over it. You can Google a myriad of articles that will give you tips and ideas.
Go for a walk!
Date someone new!
Throw away items that remind you of them!
Take a quiz!
Analyze your personality with a free online test!
DO ALL THESE THINGS!
But words have a way of losing meaning. Advice, even when solicited, becomes a soundtrack that fades a bit. We ask for things knowing full well we won’t listen. But maybe that’s okay.
Maybe it’s okay to not get over someone. Maybe it’s okay that they have left an indelible mark on your heart. You think this is fault. You think this is you being foolish and stuck on a person who is no longer there. You become convinced you are the one in the wrong.
But what if that’s not true? What if we carry pieces of everyone in all that we do and that’s not something to be ashamed of? You are atoms and molecules all vibrating around, but you’re more than that. You are experiences and heartache. You are loving and losing it. And finding it again. You are people you no longer speak to. You are people you will have forever. Even the most self-proclaimed crusty heart has something lingering inside that brought them to that conclusion. We are made up of moments that have brought us here. That’s not bad. That’s the inner-connectedness of the human experience.
So hey, if you’re afraid you won’t get over that one person, don’t worry about it too much. You are still living and breathing. It may have felt like your world crumbled apart when things broke, but the world around you didn’t stop. And you didn’t either. So keep being and pushing and living. Love again. Trust someone with your bleeding and scared heart, and if they drop it? You will be okay. Maybe you will be the dropper. Maybe you will hurt someone and they will be thinking, “What if I never get over her/him?” about you.
The point is, don’t stress if you are taking too long to move forward. Because sometimes, we don’t. That will not keep you from another grand love or a lifetime of satisfaction. It just means someone was important enough to make a permanent impression. You don’t have to get rid of them to make room. You have unlimited space for so many people. So cut yourself some slack. It’s okay to miss someone important. After all, you’re only human.