At the beginning of the year, I was in the middle of a huge move. I’d just gotten out of the military after 11 years and was ready to start life truly on my own. Needless to say, a lot of thinking went on during my travels where I took stock of what I had. I had a car. I had a place to live. I had my family and friends’ support. I had a purpose, which was going to school. I didn’t have a job yet, but that would come in good time. I wasn’t married, though. What was wrong with me that in 11 years of being in the military didn’t leave me married and with kids?
Then it happened. I looked at my singleness, stared it straight in the face, and contemplated what would happen if I never got married. Maybe I’ll never get married, I thought. It was then I saw my life released. I imagined how I would live my life without this one major event and I have to say, it wasn’t that bad. In fact it wasn’t bad at all. I was just living life, only more authentically. After seeing all that, I finally let myself think the unthinkable: Maybe I wasn’t meant to be married. For all its terror and possible loneliness, I finally accepted it and felt liberated.
I’ve always been looking for the One; that one person that accepts me for who I am; who accepts my flaws and loves me unconditionally. That one person who could make my life complete, even though by all rights, it already is. It’s a dream a lot of people want; the nice house with a faithful, lovely spouse and maybe two to three children to wrap everything up in a nice bow. Deep down, it’s what I wanted. Even deeper down, it’s what I still want. There are worse dreams to chase, right? And I’ve been chasing this dream since the time in Kindergarten when I proposed to this cute girl that rode my bus. Yes, that’s a true story and adorable as it sounds!
I was blind to how it owned me, though. I couldn’t see how this dream was ruling my life. Without really knowing it, it had been coloring how I interact with not just women, but with people in general. I couldn’t act a certain way or do a certain thing simply because that’s not how a man who wants these things would act or do. I couldn’t enjoy the company of the women that I met simply because all I could think about was how I could hopefully make a future with them. If I couldn’t see a future with them, what was the point? I focused so much on the future that I forgot that I live in the present and should probably start acting like it!
It wrecked me to think about all the potential relationships I could’ve had; all the good times I could’ve been a part of simply because the people I met didn’t fit the mold I had set for my life. How much did I miss out on simply because I was too busy chasing this dream that supposedly everyone wants and should want. Even my own brother was duped, jumping into marriage far too early with a person that wasn’t right for him. I remember when he first told me he was engaged. I was surprised because I never took him for the wanting marriage type. But he did simply what he thought people in serious relationships do. Now he’s divorced and claims that marriage isn’t for him. While I was incredulous at this recent confession, I was also impressed at how he owned it. Now he’s in a healthier relationship living life as best as he can. Why couldn’t that be me?
Love comes in many forms, both conventional and unconventional. Why deny yourself from someone else because you can’t see a future with them? Who cares? Go and live life with them for the short time you’re with them. It’s entirely possible that that short time will never end and last the rest of your life. Just let it happen! Enjoy what they bring into your life, for better or worse. I don’t begrudge anyone who’s ever gotten married or who is married. Yes, I myself am still open to getting married, but the dream of it consumed me for the longest time. And if a dream consumes you and keeps you from living your life, you have to ask, and I mean really ask, is it worth it?
I decided it’s time to stop chasing and start living.