This past May, I went on a trip to the Dominican Republic with one of my oldest friends. She and I spent 5 glorious days and 4 nights in a beautiful resort where the staff catered to our every whim. We never went without a drink, napkin or even an escort to the bathroom, if we so desired. I had a fabulous time there and so did she. As our trip came to a close, I noticed a shift in my friend’s demeanor. While it occurred to me that she was probably preoccupied with all the things she had to do when she got back, it didn’t cross my mind that she was already missing the guy that she met at the resort during our stay.
After noticing some new pictures with this guy and her, holding a monkey in the jungle, I asked her what was up. She admitted that she had not taken that picture during our stay – she’d gone back to see him again – more than once. They were in love. And just a few weeks ago, they tied the knot in a beautiful, intimate ceremony in the DR in front of God and his family.
For me, the prospect of love at first sight has always been romanticized. It was something that I believed in because (sorta secretly) I hoped that one day it would happen to me, but had never actually seen anyone in my life have that experience – kind of like you hear from a friend of a friend of a cousin of a teacher of a police officer that his daughter saw Big Foot roaming around in the Metroparks looking for a picnic site to raid. Yeah.
Yet, here it was! My actual flesh and blood friend of twelve years had not only fallen in love at first sight, but was engaged and married just four short months later. It sounds CRAZY and hell, maybe it is. But she told me that she’s never felt more connected, more in love, more right than with her husband.
When she told me all of this, she said something that basically amounted to this: life is too short to not love as hard as you can while you have the chance because tomorrow isn’t promised and to hell with what anyone else had to say about it because it’s your life. She grabbed her love and hasn’t let go, despite the reservations that her friends and family may have raised to her. Bottom line, she’s an adult and was going to live her life the way that she wanted to. When I was telling her about my most recent relationship situation, she told me that if I was happy and he was happy that we needed to suck it up and work through it because we both deserved to be happy, whatever the status ended up becoming. So simple, but incredibly profound.
Or is it insane?
Our parents and others who’ve lived in generations before ours look at us like we’re mad if we change careers, move across countries, delay the dreams that we talked their ears off about thorough out college (or before!), all in the name of like/love/lust/stupidity, as it stands. Maybe they can’t understand where we’re coming from when we do these things. They held a different set of values. Stability ruled the roost, not that it doesn’t for many us, but we’ve pushed it back because we want to do and see other things before we get to that point.
After all, we are the YOLO generation – entitled brats who are too self-absorbed to do anything that doesn’t benefit us in some way, hooking up with who we see fit, not bothering to date or take a relationship slow – or seriously. It stands to reason that if we can tear ourselves away from Instagram long enough to find someone who complements us, makes us laugh, challenges us to try new things, expands our worldview, then doesn’t that warrant taking a risk and doing something crazy for a reward that could pay off ten-fold? And even if it doesn’t – we’re still young, right? In theory, isn’t there enough time left in our lives to heal our broken hearts and/or bruised egos and move on? I’m very much a believer in every “failed” relationship being a stepping stone for the one that follows, no matter how hard it sucks as you’re just getting out of one.
Take a stroll through TC’s writings. Seriously, scroll 7-8 pages through this site and you’ll find all kinds of relationship articles that tell you how to keep a relationship standing, how to know when it’s time to let go, how to know if it’s right, how to know if you’re in love, how to let love in, etc. Doesn’t this mean that if nothing else, every relationship is different and should be handled with care according to the individuals in it? One could have zero long term relationship experience and the other could be a serial relationship person or used to having space because they’ve been in long distance relationships and the other not. It is my (fairly professional) opinion that this is possibly the most important factor when considering whether or not to keep fighting.
Let’s take a Sex and the City example: in season two, episode 12: “La Douleur Exquise”, Carrie told Big she wouldn’t follow him to Paris, where he had to go for work, as we all remember. Skip to season six: In the first part of the series finale “An American Girl in Paris (Part Une)”, Carrie moves to Paris with the Russian, Aleksandr Petrovsky, who also had to go for work. Same city, same life altering decision, different guy. What was it that changed? The quality of the man? The age of the woman? Carrie knew good and well that if she’d followed Big to Paris, she would have been heartbroken and alone halfway across the world without any support from her gal pals. With the Russian, she felt more secure in making that move. Spolier alert! No, it didn’t work out for her with the Russian in Paris – but ultimately, Carrie ended up right where she belonged. Yes, I know that this is scripted for television, but how many of you know that to be true for you? You took a chance and leapt – it may or may not have worked out, but your choice put you right where you never knew you needed to be in the first place.
I could, however, be completely wrong (don’t tell that to anyone I’ve ever dated). After all, I once thought that clear bra straps and glitter-infused lotion made me super cute! I was wrong. It happens.
But my sweet, beautiful friend has made the life-altering decision to live with and build a family with a man that lives halfway across the world. I wish her nothing but love and blessings. She’s much braver than I like to think that I am. She’s uncovered my biggest unspoken fear: to wake up six weeks, ten months, four and a half years down the line and realize that I’ve missed a golden opportunity. If only I had taken the time to stop and revel in the moment, maybe I wouldn’t wake up as I sometimes do, wondering what would have happened if I did this or that. She makes me want to live a life fully without fear, avoiding regrets, meeting life right there where it resides– in the moment.