There has always been so much pressure to find your soulmate. You are taught so young that in order to live a happy and successful life, you must find someone else to share it with. You must enter into a serious relationship, and you must marry this person so that you can finally achieve your goals and complete your life. But what if during your race to the altar, you miss out on something really special? What if you spend so much time searching for someone else that you lose yourself?
When was the last time you let yourself get to know someone without running through a mental checklist in your head? When was the last time you really listened to what your date was saying, rather than just sizing them up as marriage material? People are beautiful, chaotic, magnificent creatures, and if you are always trying so hard to get to the end before you have even really started, you may never truly realize this. You may never get the chance to relish in the brilliance of these people because you never even gave them the chance to shine.
You weren’t really listening to their interests or their life story. No, you were wondering how well they would fit into your life plan. You were trying to determine how your kids would look and if your careers were compatible. I think we spend so much time focusing on fitting someone else’s life into ours that we forget that there is a person attached to that career and that home. There is a person with dreams and goals who wants what they want, just like you do, too.
We shop for our relationships like we are at the grocery store. We know what we want, and we know where to find it. We can be easily swayed by something that shows us a better deal at face value, without even really looking into the ingredients. We see a reliable option at a good price, and then we take it. We commit. And then we close ourselves off to every other opportunity that comes our way.
Trying something new is scary. Opening ourselves up to the possibility that this big chance we are taking could be a complete and utter disaster is enough to stop us in our tracks, forever. What we know is comfortable. Stability is comfortable. But sometimes what is comfortable is not good for us. Sometimes what is comfortable is what is actually holding us back. What if we are so afraid of losing our footing that we would rather stay stagnant than ever have to face a “what if?”
If you have always been searching for one type of person who can lead you to one way of life, how can you truly know that this is what you want? If you have only ever tried one option, you cannot possibly know what your true preferences are.
You have to give yourself the time to get to know people, and I mean, really get to know them. You need to learn their dreams, their passions, their fears, and all of the little things that make them who they are. You cannot treat a person like another goal to check off of your list. You cannot just look for the landmarks without noticing all of the other sights surrounding you. What you see on the surface is often so far from who someone truly is. Their appearance will change. They could lose their jobs and all of that stability you so desperately sought out in them. And if this happens, then tell me, what are you left with? Who are you left with? Do you even know them? Or could they have been anyone with a good job, nice smile, and a 401k?
We place so much value on things that we have no control over, and this is what leads us to our downfall. This is how we self-destruct. We push ourselves so hard to create this serious, cookie-cutter life that I think so many of us forget to even really look at the person we have chosen to be by our side. If they didn’t have all of the things on your checklist to your perfect life, would they still be standing there?
I fear that for a lot of us, the answer is no. Yes, I think it is true that so many people fall in love with their soulmates, but I think that so many of us do not. I think so many of us meet our soulmates and either do not realize that we have or are too afraid to pursue them. Maybe we met them at a time when they were not ready for something serious. Maybe we met them and they were not ready to be that check on your list, so you left them. You did not go on the coffee dates or take those cozy winter walks. You forced yourself to walk away from someone who could have changed your life forever, all because they didn’t align with your five-year plan.
The amount of time someone is in our lives does not have to dictate their impact on us. You could spend one night with someone you will never see again and have it mean more to you than years in a stable, serious relationship. Some of the best times of your life could be out there waiting for you, if only you weren’t so afraid to pursue them.
Not every person is meant to be your forever. It’s okay to be with someone you ultimately know you cannot have. You’re allowed to be casual. You are allowed to take risks on people and to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you never try, then you will never know.
Sometimes we meet people, and we know that they cannot stay. But this doesn’t make them bad people or wrong for us. They could be so right for you in that moment or for those few months or for whatever period of time the universe grants you to be together. It is okay to love without finite details etched into stone surrounding you. It is okay to love someone impermanent. It is okay to fall in love for just a moment, when ultimately you know that you will have to let them go. It is okay to spend time with people just because you enjoy their company, and they make you laugh. Every person you meet will not be someone you fall in love with, but that does not mean you cannot enjoy them for everything else they could be for you.
It is okay to fall in and out of love. And it is okay to never fall in love at all. You are allowed to take chances. You are allowed to make mistakes and to fail. You are allowed to be casual in a world that puts so much pressure on us to be anything but that. You are allowed to be who you are and with who you want in whatever way works best for you all. You are allowed to experience this life and all of these people, and you should never feel like you are wrong for doing so.
You are allowed to be casual, even if the rest of the world tries so hard to convince you differently.