For those dull moments during work – or at lunchtime, break time, and office-is-empty time – I chat with my friends on Gchat. I’ve mentioned my love affair with Gmail before, but seriously, without it, my day wouldn’t seem complete. Or at least, as entertaining.
To keep me laughing and of course, thinking – my friend C sends me quotes she believes will foster inspiration. Often times, she’s successful and I’ve coined her my “Fairy Blog Mother” – encouraging me to keep going, even when the city, in its endless wonder and characters, can’t get my fingers to dance across the keys.
A few days ago, she started our daily conversation with, “My daily quote calendar today says: ‘The girl with a future avoids the man with a past.” Within a few seconds, I virtually smiled at C and asked the Twitterverse and Book of Faces for its opinion.
Overwhelmingly, the central response was: “Well, doesn’t everyone have a past? Why should we rule out someone who has baggage when we have enough of our own? And can’t we help that person overcome whatever it is from yesterday that’s keeping them from tomorrow?”
While I agree with all of those questions and find them valid, I have to ask: But how can we have a future -or more important, a today- if we aren’t willing to accept the past for what it is, and leave it there?
When I first read this quote, the first person I thought of was Mr. Unavailable. Though he hasn’t been a huge part of my blog recently, since he was the first man I befriended without the premise of romance, we’ve remained in close contact. His problems are still many and while the contradictions of his past are still finding themselves more and more complicated, he’s making an effort to move forward.
The thing is, regret and the loss of women he had and those he could never win back, is keeping him from embracing all of the opportunities he has today. His career is one I’m envious of, his financial stability is something to shake a Cartier-heavy wrist at, and maybe most impressively – he’s nearing a new decade and you’d never know it. Not a bald spot, receding hair line, or gray streak in sight.
But nevertheless – because he can’t find love in himself, because he keeps seeking it from outside sources, dates, and dangerous expeditions, he isn’t able to create a future with anyone. But sadly, he also can’t create one with himself.
I can’t count how many times in a conversation, I find him starting off positive and ending up dwelling in a hole he just keeps digging. After a few full-hearted attempts to ease his troubled mind and raise his spirits without kisses or a simple sway of the hips (as a true platonic friend does), I eventually have to turn into full-throttle journalist mode and put him in his place.
Sometimes I start to feel guilty after giving him tough love, but as much as I’m a believer that our lessons from relationships that were help us prepare for the love we’ll one day find, I also think to be healthy, you have to adapt an attitude of acceptance.
And while some relationships end without notice, some come to a close because of shared problems and differences that can’t be compromised to make it work – and it’s there that we must realize that it isn’t always them – sometimes, it’s us. And most of the time – to start walking confidently away from happily-ever-over, you have to realize that maybe yesterday isn’t as important as right now in this single, shining or even unimportant moment.
This journey hasn’t cured me of my plight of obsessing about men, but it has lessened the time I spend debating their actions or decisions. It hasn’t made me the ultimate single girl who is satisfied in her solo shoes without longing for companionship, but it has given me a sense of self I’ve never had. I haven’t discovered the key to happiness or a secret that no one’s been able to find, but I have stumbled upon ways of coping and dealing with insecurities that work for me. I haven’t stopped blaming myself for everything that’s gone badly, but I’ve learned to take responsibility where it’s mine and when to stand up to the things that were not my fault. I haven’t given up all of my romantic notions (nor do I think I have to), but I’ve concluded that being a realist can save a gal a lot of heartache and haphazard-loving blunders. And though I’ll never forget the love I’ve experienced, I do forgive myself for the mistakes I made, the hearts I carelessly strung along, and the lovers I probably shouldn’t have taken.
I hope that Mr. Unavailable will reach a point in his life – maybe with some help from me or just by learning to depend on his own two rather large feet – where he can accept that just because he’s lost in the game of love several times along the way, there’s always another hand to play. Or should I say hold?
I may be a girl with a future as well as a lady with a past – but I am not identified by all that will come of my life and the person I once was. I am not searching for the solutions to unanswered questions about five years ago or five years from now that sometimes ravish my mind. Instead, I’m learning to define myself, instead of finding myself. I’m not looking to rewrite history or meet Mr. Future, but rather, I’m simply enjoying being a woman of today.