I hadn’t yet turned twenty when I broke up with my last serious boyfriend. It was one of those situations where everyone’s heart was broken, there was no good feeling from walking away except for the fact that I knew, deep down, one day I would be better for the decision. I had listened to “Where I Stood” by Missy Higgins and, as immature as this might sound, it triggered something in me when I realized that I understood every last word of that song. I had lost myself in this boy and was steadily losing my ability to recognize myself without him. I was fast on the road to becoming a wife, a mother, and having a life that was forever entwined with someone else. For some, that is something to be envied. For me, it was a sudden realization that I was about to be given everything I didn’t want for many, many years.
That break up was the beginning of a journey through some of the best and worst times of my life thus far – as it so often goes when you enter your twenties.
I realize now that I’ve spent five years basically single. I have dated here and there. I have met a couple of people that I was absolutely smitten with and wanted nothing more than to call them “boyfriend” but they didn’t feel the same about me. Looking back, I am thankful to them for seeing what I did not at the time – most of these relationships wouldn’t have worked out and I can see that now.
When you spend time single you go through a rollicking ride of emotion ranging from elated to lonely to indifferent to absolutely saddened. Some days you see a couple walking down the street holding hands, totally into each other, and you smile at the fact that love like that really does exist in this world. Other days you see that same couple and want to give them cut eye and scream, “PDA IS STUPID!” and then hide behind a bush.
Such is the life of a single person.
I have realized, however, something spectacular about your attitude towards love the further you get away from it: at some point, you have found that love has become so romanticized in your brain that you’re not sure if it’s the most beautiful thing that has ever existed or the most unattainable.
Love, to me, is one of the most spectacular things to ever exist. It creates such a glow in a person that there can’t be anything more beautiful than it. I was reading back through a journal of mine and found a simple sentence I had scrawled across the page: I am thankful for love and coffee and the beauty they give to life. No truer words could have ever been spoken – because what could be more beautiful than having someone that you want to share that first hit of caffeine with, lazily greeting the day in your atmosphere of sheer affection?
I’m not sure why love should become more beautiful when you’ve been so distanced by it. Perhaps it becomes so spectacular because for so long it has been like a firework – a flash of brilliance across your vision that dissipates as soon as it appeared, leaving you longing for more. Perhaps it is just the fact that what you don’t have is always more attractive than what you do.
Or perhaps that, even if you haven’t felt it in awhile, you know that love is wonderful, love is beautiful, and love is the root of everything we do.
It’s been five years since I’ve honestly said “I love you” to a boy. I broke my own heart when I left him, both of us still very much in love. But I know that one day, maybe soon, maybe not, I will say “I love you” again without ever having to walk away.