Only the things we decide are real and important. Sometimes, those things only make sense to us in small, fleeting moments. I guess if we’re lucky, they make sense for long portions of our lives.
What on earth am I talking about now? I’m talking about love.
It’s all I ever really talk about. I’ve often wondered why it’s so important for me to understand, but I think it’s because I still smile when I see older couples holding hands or finishing each other’s sentences.
And, because I’ve started to understand that the things that haven’t worked for me are things I had to put away – like children put away their toys when they outgrow them or like adults put away memories that no longer seem helpful – I’ve also had to say that I’ve done many things for love. Some foolish. Some not.
I’m always looking for inspiration from others when I’m writing. It seems that I almost always gravitate to the stories about love and loss and recovery and in some ways, those stories inspire me to keep moving forward and in others they force me to reflect. This morning I was reading one of my favorite blogs on the New York Times’ website called “Modern Love” and I found this gem: Making a Judgement on Love.
You know how you always hear that you shouldn’t wait when you find ‘the one’ and yet – so many of us do just that. We wait. We wait for our finances to be in order. We wait for our families to approve. We wait for our careers. We wait.
I bet that many times we don’t even know why the time isn’t right – we still wait.
I’m not even sure I’m talking about romantic love – maybe I’m just talking about love in general. Although it seems that romantic love is the area in which I spend the most time thinking and the least amount of time enjoying.
I’ve waited and I’ve acted and I’ve hedged and done both at the same time. I’ve blamed myself for relationships not working and I’ve thrown myself into parenting and career to absorb some of the sadness at always being a bride, never a bridesmaid and always being part of relationships that seem to have secrets. Some of the secrets have been mine but just as often the secrets have belonged to the other person in my relationships.
Just this past summer I questioned myself, yet again, on how it is that I’ve always been in relationships with men who have needed to keep so many secrets from me that I’ve sometimes felt even they forgot which ones they shared and which ones they didn’t.
And that’s when it hit me. The anxiety that has permeated a lot of my romantic life seemed to slowly get a little dimmer and a little less pressing and it seemed to coincide with my new job. I have time to eat, sleep and sometimes go outside in between being at work. So it is possible that I am best at career and parenting or I find ways to throw myself into those two things because I know that at 99 I’ll be looking out over all the young lovers in Montmartre and smiling because I’ll have had 99 years of love, it just won’t have looked like everyone else’s.