I just had confirmed something that I’ve known about myself for a while, but did my best to ignore. I have trouble with allowing myself to live within the moment. I prefer to spend my time planning and contemplating the future — my future. I like to have my days and weeks planned. I like to know where things are going and what I should expect; to get a decent picture of this, I spend most of my time inside my own head calculating probabilities and reading people. I cherish my ability to think the way that I think and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Well, to be completely honest what I wish I were more capable of and what I understand I need to work on is my inability to appreciate things in the moment — while they still hold life. Events have an intrinsic value in and of themselves. Each action, happening, moment, minute, second has intrinsic worth — each and everything that happens with each passing moment is unique and will never be repeated. Am I the only one that has trouble accepting things for what they are? Am I alone in having trouble letting moments go when they wear out their longevity and play out their purpose?
Having a mind that always tries to stay two steps ahead is fantastic when it comes to your career, your business or anything else requisite of a more in-depth strategic approach. When it comes to matters of the heart, however, thinking into the future can be your worst enemy. Love is an extremely complex living thing. It comes in waves of different lengths, sizes and durations.
It has no one shape or face. It comes and goes, making appearances in different points in our lives, involving different people — never the same yet always clearly understood as love. I have come across one of the many faces of love several times in my life and each time I have made the same fatal mistake. I am a very egocentric individual and have a strong tendency to think about myself first and foremost — so when strong, pleasant emotions make themselves present, I do my best to hold onto them; it’s as if I try to collect them for myself. I like them because they feel good and because I want to always feel that way, I grasp onto them with all my strength.
The only issue is that by trying to grab onto them, I am letting those special, rare moments slip away from me entirely. I am not sure if any of you can relate to this, but I have had to face the reality that by contemplating over where a relationship (even one in its earliest stages) is headed I miss out on what is going on in the moment — in the moments when I am still able to talk to and hold her, spend time with her and enjoy her company. Personally, I blame pop culture; all those movies I watched growing up embedded in me the belief that love is meant to last forever.
That only true love lasts forever and that in order to be happy, we must create and keep such a love. But, why? Why do we believe that love must be a lasting thing? Why is it that we feel that love must live between us for eternity in order for it to be real, for it to matter? Why can’t love last for a month, a week or a brief moment and still be dubbed as love?
Maybe love can be eternal — this is not to say that it must be. I had spent the last year or so thinking about one specific girl and wondering whether we could possibly have a future together. We are great when we are together, but being together often is an impossibility. Nevertheless, I love a good challenge and the fact that she lived across the pond only made the whole experience more enticing. I visited her recently for about a week and had an amazing time — although we haven’t seen each other in months we still worked well together; we fit like two puzzle pieces.
However, this girl and myself are very different and we have very different ways of living reality. While I’m a dreamer and a planner she’s an “in the moment” kind of person. She has the ability to enjoy the present in a way that I can only hope of one day being able to. She was able to love in the moment and then let go. I on the other hand, although understanding that that moment was to be the last was unwilling to accept it and unwilling to fully experience it.
Instead of allowing the moment to consume me, I spent much of my time worrying about where things would be going. I was worrying about what would happen next even though I very well understood that what was going to happen next was that I would hop on a plane and go back to New York. I knew that we would do our best to keep communication — at first — and that eventually we would drift apart and have nothing left between us but the memories past. This bothered me — I didn’t want to accept it.
If I feel love then I should do everything in my power to keep it alive, right? Maybe not… maybe that’s not the point. Why should I do my best to keep something alive when all forces are doing their best to bury it? The fact is that all moments come and go. Some are beautiful and others are horrid — but nevertheless they all come and they all go. Our life is but one quick fleeting moment that we are blessed to live out in slow motion. In the end all we are left with is memories — the shadows of those magnificent moments that gave our lives meaning.
Alfred Lord Tennyson hit the nail on the head when he wrote that it’s “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” All love is lost sooner or later. Instead of trying our hardest to hang onto it and force it to weather all storms, would it not be better to allow love itself and all the circumstances surrounding it to dictate its longevity? Would we not be better off spending our focus on the love that we are experiencing in the moment rather than contemplating over how long the love will last, on whether it will turn into something grander or whether it will fizzle and fade?
The love you are experiencing — just as the love I experienced — has a finite start and end date. It may only last for a few months or years, or it could last until your dying breath, but regardless of all this -- it will end. The only options that you have are to either spend that finite time contemplating and rationalizing the moment or…or you could spend that time living it. Choose the latter. It’s always the better path.
Photos via Tumblr