We have trouble staying present. Whether its anxiety about the future or depression about the past, it seems culturally we have a focus outside of ourselves and our current – almost always.
We talk about our game plans for the future and the jobs we will leave, when we will move, when all the chapters that are currently building those futures will cease. We talk a lot, also, about the end of relationships.
I used to date a guy who would always say “one day when we break up”. I don’t think this was the demise of our relationship as he also peed in bottles in my attic and used to tell me and my roommate that we “stole his maturity” but I think it primed me from the beginning that it was never that serious, or to at least not take serious things seriously.
My best friends have been in a relationship for 6 years. At 23 that’s a long time – high school sweethearts romanticized. Like anything there are pros and cons to this, and even though I’m close to them both separately and as a unit, there are obviously things I don’t see, know, or understand.
I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for just under 6 months. At this point it feels like things will last forever when its good, and like it could fall apart at any whim. This is not because of him or our relationship, but because there is the behind the scenes notion that I think a lot of us experience. That feeling of no time is ever enough, no amount of experience or attachment is enough. This could be because my parents are divorced or it seems like the only reason people I know seem to stay together is out of obligation more than want. Perhaps it does come down to that. Perhaps I romanticize that I will want to be with a person for the rest of my life – not just feel like it’s my best option.
My best friends hypothesize about what would happen if they broke up. How each of them would react, how it would change them and their lives. I sometimes wonder if you have been together for so long that you stay together for everyone else – this is a thought I have about my grandparents. I understand the urge to want to still feel like we have an option at an independent life. That if something did or does happen we will still be able to be whole.
I think these inquiries into “what will happen if” bring about a lot of questions for me, most of them hard to answer.
Do I feel just as much myself with this person as I do alone?
Am I giving up experiences being in a relationship?
Am I gaining enough in return?
Would I really be able to pick myself back up again? Would I want to?
Why do I feel the need to have a sense of permanency in my relationships?
How do I keep a sense of identity?
How can I find fulfillment in the now instead of always looking to the future?
Will I be whole again if I do not have this person?
Does this person make me whole?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with thinking about the future, and potentialities in the future. I think in the way that it can be painful to link our futures with another person and to rely on them to attain certain goals, it can be just as painful to not do this. It seems like we have no sense of security – not even within our relationships. We lack security within ourselves.
A important thing I’ve learned before coming into my current relationship is that I am whole. I will always be whole, and so will my life. Wholeness does not always mean a feeling of fulfillment or that things are “large”. It means that whatever in me and my life exists wholly in each moment. My partner is not my “other half” that completes me, but my equal that creates their own part in our relationship. I exist wholly within this structure. This structure fluctuates as we both grow and let go of parts of ourselves. We are equal because we both contribute to the making of this relationship we exist it – but we are not our relationship. Our relationship is us.
This concept, or whatever you want to call it, has been revolutionary for me. Although there is balance and a sense of completion around my partner, I also feel complete by myself. In this moment. Right now. As I enjoy a glass of wine and cry at queer eye and feel totally at ease alone in my bachelor apartment. As my partner is at basketball and going to his own respective home to live out his own life for the next 24 hours in his own completion.
So, again, this brings me back to this question of why do we talk so much about endings? Why is it so important? What is so scary or unattainable right now? Do we even realize we’re in this conditioned state of making moves for an end that is just as fleeting as each moment of building, or are we willfully looking towards something because we’ve lost the ability to be in a state of wonderment at the now?
This can be about relationships, jobs, books, meals. We truly relish how things turn out. Although the uncertainty is what keeps us involved in getting there, it is also what makes the certainty we have that these moments we are immersed in special. I wonder, where is the recognition for what is so enticing about the present that is provokes us to be curious about how things turn out?
I don’t think it’s wrong to wonder, but I do think there could be more focus on what makes right now important. How this moment is also an end as the other begins. How once this glass is emptied my feelings of warm cheeks and a full heart will evolve with it. How I can sit with myself in a completely different way under my current circumstances than I would have or have fathomed a year ago.
Hypothesizing our future can be interesting, beautiful, and wondrous. But inquiring about our present and if we are truly showing up in a way that makes us proud to be the person we are in this moment I think is just as worthy. What do you want to do right now? What are the experiences you want to work towards? What are you, in this moment, willing to sacrifice? What is it you are willing to expand?
The present is amazing. Talk about it. It is just as transformable as every ending.