As I smiled over cheap red wine and city lights, I chatted with a rather short endearing business man, and thought about Mr. Possibility.
We’re not speaking and I don’t really care to talk to him at this time – but he had just left me a voicemail and I heard his words lingering in my mind. Breaking up is tough, but really, I don’t think it’s as life-altering as Adele often makes it sound (though I do love the gal). I don’t find myself mourning the relationship as much as I miss the friendship. After an extended time, partners are of course lovers, but they also become our very best friend. They are the person you share the most intimate details of your life and your body with. Everything and everyone else hears the same stories, but they almost seem to have more value when you share it with someone you love. Part of the beauty – and the appeal – of a relationship is that you can come as you are, fall apart as you wish, and you still have someone to nestle into your neck at the end of the night.
But cuddling isn’t a reason to stay with someone, especially if to be spooned, you must spoon away parts of yourself to make room for all the mess they bring, I reminded myself as the businessman asked me about what I do and where I live. These are the most tiresome and common questions in New York, my friend M says, and I’m starting to agree. Small talk may be insignificant but it’s also exhausting, especially when you’re just not in the mood to connect with anyone. It’s too soon and for the first time – maybe ever – I have no desire to meet anyone. I’m enjoying and reveling in the time I have alone to really start doing the things I want and becoming the person I moved to New York to be. Single is as single does, and for me, it’s the perfect state to embrace right now.
But like any other person that has blood running through their veins, I still think about love. And for a few days after the final demise of our relationship, it made me incredibly sad to think about a thing that often appears so far-fetched. We all enter relationships with this hope that they will ultimately be the relationship. Casual dating is fun but at a certain point, age and mindset, we stop picking men we know are entirely wrong for us and we look for a stroke of special in the mates we mate with. But really, only one relationship actually works out – the rest teach us how to mend our broken spirits and they teach us what we really value in a person. All the Mr. Wrongs have brought both joy and tragedy, magic and misery, passion and pain to my life, and as the love comes to a close, it’s always up to me to decide how I want to process those varying emotions.
In the past, my first reaction was to declare I”ve given up on love. In an effort to strip my heart of any lingering memories or feelings, I’d drown myself in champagne and cheap conversation by dancing with boys in bars just so they’d buy me a drink. I’d write and spew hateful truths (or white lies) about the man who stepped all over my dignity and I’d position him in the part of my brain reserved for only things I despised. I’d yell and scream in the privacy of my own home, cry my eyes out until there was nothing left to escape. I’d foolishly call my ex continuously, hoping that they’d feel an ounce of the torture I felt like I was going through. I’d become instantly jealous of everyone I knew who seemed to have their love life together and I’d stop listening to love songs, just so I wouldn’t have to be reminded of what I thought I had but really didn’t.
Sure, this time, I could give up on love – but love won’t give up on me.
It’s still there when I see a random act of kindness on the subway when a teenager gives up his seat for an elderly woman. It’s there when one of the kids I volunteer with smiles so brightly at a job well done that my heart swells in admiration. It’s there when I see an older man block off the rest of the passengers on the bus so his wife, with a cane and a limp, can get off at her own pace. It’s there when the city surprises me with its ease and when a handsome man doing his laundry holds his glance at me a bit longer while trying to conceal a crooked smile. It’s there when I Skype with my parents and still, after all these years, they still make each other laugh. It’s there in the comfort of my friends, that no matter what I do or how ridiculous I may be, stand by me with umbrellas and cheer, reminding me of all the city I have left to discover and all the people I’ve yet to meet.
And so, even though it’s let me down countless times and probably will continue to for years to come, I choose love. I choose to focus on the things, the people, the places and the experiences that remind me of the goodness in my life. I choose to release the negativity and the hurt that comes with a difficult breakup and set my sights on the higher road I’ve decided to take. I choose to not lose too much sleep or too many tears over Mr. Possibility, for his purpose in my life has been fulfilled and has now ended. I choose to believe in the moments where the world seems beautiful instead of those dark hours when it appears impossible.
And most importantly, I choose to never let anyone or anything cause me to give up on love. Because as long as I decide to fill my heart with love, there will be no room for anything else.