Just the other night I was on a flight from Washington-Reagan to New York’s La Guardia airport. We had taken off between two storms, a small gap in an otherwise impenetrable wall of thunder, lightening, and rain. As we approached our descent, our gap was closing, and angry clouds began pilling around. The plane—which I would characterize as not large nor small— began to shake, causing many of us to grab hold of our armrests in reflex.
Now, I am not prone to be particularly scared of flying. I trust the people who build planes, and while, of course, there are bound to be some accidents and deaths, it is a risk I am willing to take to get somewhere faster. That being said, in that moment—the exact moment in which I grabbed my armrest—I couldn’t help but wonder about what would happen if I were to die at that precise moment.
There are a lot of things I am proud of. I think I am usually a good person. A little jaded at times, but I do my best. One thing I wonder about, however, is what if I die without experiencing true, romantic, love?
It sounds like such a petty thought, right? Like, life is a pretty long time (we think). I guess this is the shit you think about when your love life seems more akin to a slasher horror film than a romantic comedy.
The truth is, I’ve dated some people, but I’ve never been in love. I’ve never had butterflies for someone. I’ve never wanted to rush home to be with someone. I’ve never had that supposed all-consuming desire of want, passion, and love. I’ve never had someone who ~cHAnGeD~ my life, even for a brief moment. I’ve seen other people have that, so I think I had a fairly solid idea of what it looks like, but the idea of having it myself seems almost laughable.
And I’m okay with that most of the time. I’m okay with it right now. But I don’t think I’d be okay with it forever.
I don’t think I’d be okay if I never experienced it. If I never got my chance to be loved and to love.
A few months ago I was at a bar that I typically avoid because of its reputation for half-price drinks attracting half-price people. I was dancing (or trying to, at least) when I bumped into a guy I hadn’t seen in a long time. We had gone out on a date roughly a year back, but nothing had ever come of it. In that moment, we began to talk: catching up on our lives over the sound of booming music.
“I have a quick question,” He asked me.
“Do you remember that coffee date we went on once?”
“Yeah, of course,” I replied.
“Why do you think it was so…awkward?” He inquired with a small smile.
And in that moment—maybe because of the drinks, maybe because of the atmosphere, or maybe just because of the utter hilarity of it all—I told him the truth.
“Because, “I’m not good at *this*” I said, gesturing around the entire bar. “I’m good at working. I’m a career workaholic who wants to be great, so I work a lot. I don’t go out a lot. I don’t flirt a lot. I work a lot. I’m good at that. I’m not good at this.”
And I think that’s what I think terrifies me the most. Not that I am some victim who just tragically can’t find love, but that I have chosen the lonely path. That a perpetual singleness isn’t something cast upon me by a vengeful god, but it is the cross that I have willingly picked up for my own life. Maybe my lifelong marriage is not to another person, but to my dogmatic worship of the next career achievement and rung on the ladder.
And maybe it’s our fault. And maybe it’s not. But if you are single and feel forever alone, know this:
You cannot rush love.
Yeah, okay, it sounds like some cliche bullshit, but that’s where we are. We can’t force chemistry to exist where it doesn’t, we can only wait for our fates to collide with the person we are meant to be with. And it might be weeks, it might be months, it might be years. But fixating on not having the love, on our failures in finding it, on our heartbreaks, is doing absolutely nothing for us.
We don’t control time. We don’t control fate. The only thing we can do it prepare our hearts to accept the love we deserve. Before we can be loved by someone else, we need to love ourselves. We need to smile when we see ourselves in the mirror. We need to take pride in our accomplishments, and work to improve ourselves in the areas we need to.
If we do that, and find a way to rediscover our sense of patience, that’s when we might all find love.