Your soul

@FellowMillennials: Let’s Agree Not To Settle In Relationships Like The A**holes Before Us

By January 8, 2016 0

Okay let’s talk about settling, or what I like to refer to as “giving up”.

More specifically– why do people do it? I guess the obvious answer is that they don’t want to be alone, or they’ve resolved that they will never find the perfect “one”: the truest representation of all of their dreams. Settling is basically making a decision that you’ve found someone “good enough”. I know so many people who have done it, who are in the process of doing it, or who will definitively do so down the line.

Unsurprisingly, the common denominator in these situations seems to be age. Looks like if we creep into our 30’s without deciding upon the person that puts the lime in our coconut, we’ll inevitably decide upon someone that we can at the very least stand waking up to for the next vapid, years to come.

Conversely, it seems that while we’re young we spend a lot time, well, “dicking around” as they say. I mean why settle in our 20’s when we have our whole entire lives ahead of us? We’ll meet someone later on when we’re ready to give up the cyclical partying and sleeping around—right?

“I guess when you’re young, you just believe there will be many people with whom you’ll connect with. Later in life you realize it only happens a few times”.

That’s a quote from the greatest love trilogy of all time: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and the final installment Before Midnight, incredulously shot over a 20 year span with the same two actors, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

And our lesson begins right there:

When we are young we tend to hold onto this categorically wrong belief that life will just keep on giving; that if we felt strongly about one person, then we can surely emulate those same emotions with others down the line. We don’t honor connection at all in our youth, because we don’t realize how incredibly special and rare it is to meet someone and in an instant moment just— feel.

I’m already in my mid twenties and it’s happened to me only TWICE. That means an entire quarter of a century—a full quarter of my life is already dead and gone, and on just two occasions throughout all of these years of dating, living in the busy city of Manhattan, and coming across thousands upon thousands of people— did I experience that thing.

I’m not talking about the “oh we went on a couple of dates and I’m really starting to like him now” yawn,  or the “it turned into deep love because we’ve been together awhile and therefore have shared a lot of experiences together” stretch —because that’s the type of complacent bullshit that will eventually develop into internal misery.

I’m talking about the real thing: the “I can’t leave here until I say something to this person” rush. The “I’ll think of you always if I don’t say this now” anxiety.

Because that feeling, the “what the f*** was that, I have to know that person now” feeling? It’s a situational needle in a haystack. That’s why it’s best if we realize it now, in our youth, that it’s really only going to happen to us a few times over our respective lifetimes.

“I had this idea of my ‘best’ self and I wanted to pursue that, even if it wasn’t my honest self…cut to the present tense and I feel like I’m running a nursery with somebody that I just used to date…We’re just living in a pretense of a marriage, and these responsibilities and this idea of how people are supposed to live”. -Ethan Hawke

This is the exact reason why so many people settle. They eventually give into a societal, pre-conceived idea of themselves, rather than their honest selves. And the ‘idea’ is marriage, right? The ‘idea’ is children. The ‘idea’ is a big house in the suburbs, and the hope that with enough practice and routine within it, you might suddenly unfold into the husband or wife that you want the world to believe you are. Except no because life—real life— it isn’t a fucking idea. Nor is it a curated social media account. It doesn’t belong to an album filled with ‘look how happy we are’ photos set behind  flattering filters, whereby a certain number of accumulated, thumbed-up LIKES, will convince you that your life is good.

The thing to remember is that you can never fool your heart. You can carefully craft an image that you want the rest of the world to believe, but in the end it’s like,

“I’m so miserable in my love life…I’m dying on the inside” -Julie Delpy

Dying, death—it’s ultimately just the absence of life, right? And do we not all know so many married couples that are lifeless? That are existing among the walking dead? These are the individuals who couldn’t escape the pretense.

That should be our only fear in life really: To wake up one day and wonder, not where we made a wrong turn, but why? To have to acknowledge or delude ourselves against our very own cowardices. For having tried to cookie-cut our souls.

“There’s gotta be something more to love than commitment, but then I think that I might have given up on the whole idea of romantic love. I might have put it to bed that day when you left” -Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke’s character declares this to Julie Delpy’s, a woman he had spent just one random night with, by accident during his youth. It was a night he never forgot, and one which inspired him to write a book, although he hadn’t seen or heard from her in ten years. And guess what? When they do see each other again, the magic isn’t lost. They’ve both settled in their respective lives since, and yet neither of them was able to forget their one night spent under the stars.

This is why I’ll never give up on romantic love. It’s why I don’t play on Tinder, OKcupid, or any other forced methods of meet-and-greet. I think romance belongs to the beat of the universe.

Because ultimately, anyone can commit, right? Commitment is born of strategy and routine, and I just don’t think we should strategize about love. I think we should be consumed by it, all at once. I want to be vacuumed into someone’s else’s world, without any time for thought or objection. Suddenly. As though it were never even a matter of choice. Real romance is like breathing: there just can be no other way.

I also don’t believe in falling in love overtime; I think that, in and of itself, is a form of settling. I can’t see how love, true love, would take time. Sure it may take time before we find the courage to express it, and it may take even more time still for it to actualize into the end-goal life together, but the emotion? That part has got to be instant.

And so as we weave in and out of relationships in our youth we would be wise to understand that,

“you can never replace anyone. what is lost is lost…because everyone is made up of such beautiful, specific details” -Julie Delpy

@FellowMillennials, what I am asking each and every one of you to do with me, is to remember just that. Remember how beautiful and specific it all it is. Remember that no one can ever truly be replaced. Let’s remember, while we still have this wonderful chance to, that our time is fleeting.

So chase down every dash of the real stuff. Drive 24 hours cross-country to go see her. Drop down on one knee while he’s brushing teeth and ask “why not do it today?”.

Let’s be the generation that both recognizes and settles for nothing less than a romantic waltz. Because that’s exactly what our relationships ought to be:

A perfect waltz.