All up in the air

“I can’t take a vow of forever if I mean for the foreseeable future.” – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex & the City

No, wait. That was just a dream. Reality is down there.

PostSecret

It was what I used to think, what I used to think I felt. I would look at him and silently tell him, I will spend the rest of my life waiting for you if you want me to. I had thought, so long ago, that what we had had been everything I wanted, that he had been everything I wanted. I told myself — and other people around me — that I loved what we had, and that I loved him in more ways than I had ever loved anyone.

It’s only now, months and months later, that I realize why I had felt that way: it wasn’t that I didn’t love him, but it was more that the habit of loving him had replaced much of the love itself. And even though I  had once loved what we had, I know now that I loved what we had represented: a distant hope, a changing faith, a flickering belief that ultimately, we would be able to overcome all the obstacles that come between us and we created for ourselves, and bring the surreal little world we built when we were thousands of miles apart to life.

So when I think about everything that had happened during those stormy months, and how I had miraculously been saved from falling even deeper into that seemingly endless chasm which tore at my humility, my dignity and self-worth, I know that I would never have been able to go all my life waiting for something that would never be mine. And this leads me to wonder: if we know that nothing lasts forever, how will we hang on to anything?

As we get older, our perspectives, our priorities, and our outlook on life change — perhaps not dramatically, most of the time almost imperceptibly. Our center of gravity, as it were, shifts ever so slightly, until we wake up one morning with the dawning realization that what we don’t have doesn’t matter because it’s not what we could have lived with anyway, or what we want doesn’t matter because we have to put others’ needs before ours, or what we already have is not what we really wanted in the first place. And that’s when we try to readjust ourselves to leave behind the things that suddenly don’t seem very important anymore, and accommodate what we now think we should have in our lives.

But if we live in this weather-vane world where mankind appears to be increasingly spoilt for choice, how do we escape the finicky trappings of our lives and learn to settle for what we have? How do we know that what we have now could be the making of us, that one thing we need to help us find what we’ve been looking for, before we become impatient and set off in search of something that we think would be better? And, most importantly, how do we know that what we have chosen to make a part of our lives won’t just turn around and shoot us in the face?

I used to be terrified that, even if things had worked out between us, he would one day look at me and, in his typical spurt of flightiness, decide that he had been wrong, and that he couldn’t do this anymore. But now, looking back on everything we had done to each other, everything he has become, and everything I have been blessed with for the last few months, I know that what I had been willing to give up my life for back then is very different from what I would give my life for now.

Forever is just a state of mind.

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