Hanging out with a bunch of girl (and gay) friends usually mean talking about ourselves. Men. Relationships. Work. Relationships. Family stuff.Relationships. Non-family stuff. Relationships. Clearly, there’s a pattern here. It’s up there spelled with a capital R.
What is it with this thing called relationship that makes us hyper-micro-analyse it? Is it because relationships are interesting to talk or gossip about? Could be. Is it because we feel the need to share what exactly we want in relationships, ours specifically? Kind of. Or is it because we are smack in the middle of unsatisfactory relationships? Getting close now. Apart from these things, the reason why we can’t help but micro-analyse is because we see a lot of relationships with untapped potential. And we ask ourselves “but why not?”
And really, why the hell not? I am not an authority when it comes to these things but I believe that most relationships fall by the wayside before they can even reach their potential because of lack of passion. Passion, not only in the sense of hungry kisses and tearing off clothes in the back of a car… but passion to be with someone you really care about. And who reciprocates your care with the same ardour.
Growing up, it was never inculcated in my mind that marriage should be a high-priority item on my to-do list. Perhaps it was because even back then I was already way too liberal-minded (or liberated, however which way you prefer to call it) for my own good, that my mom never encouraged marriage conversations. If at all, she tried to steer me as far away from that direction as possible. Not that I ever needed reminding that pursuing my individuality and sense of self is more important than, you know, reciting Hallmark-inspired vows, waiting on my husband and having babies every year. But yes, it remains on my to-do list – just not at the top of the heap.
Once before I found myself standing on a platform, waiting for the train that would take me to a destination I thought was the right one for me. I hopped on the train and for months, there was a flurry of planning, well-wishers, church-hunting and I just got caught in the excitement. Despite my doubts, I couldn’t bring myself to press the stop button and next thing I know, I’m hurtling down the highway to hell. I was 22 years old.
Thankfully, somewhere along the line, I was woken up from my abstraction and made an effort to push the red button and get off on another platform. Though not exactly the platform I intended to be in (suddenly single with a job that can hardly be called a career), but at least I was no longer on that highway which was never of my choosing in the first place. I called off the wedding and never looked back.
I have learned a lot of lessons from that experience but the one thing that really stood out was the importance of waiting for my own train and getting on it in my own stream. Before, in my naiveté, I was thinking “I shouldn’t be waiting this long because the train I wanted might not pass by this route, so I might as well hop on the first available train…” But when I carefully weighed the options and saw that the price I’m going to have to pay for in the future would cost me my life (not life per se, but you know, vivacity and the many years of learning as I pole-vault through challenges), I decided I’m better off standing on a platform nurturing the hope that one day my train will come.
I take pride in being a great risk-taker in this case. Conversely though, I see fewer and fewer of my kind nowadays. People come on the platform and jump on the first available train. And it is especially painful to watch them make that kind of compromise because they appear to have everything going for them. They can afford to wait for that great romance, but instead they choose to get off the platform and climb on to a train that will take them to the opposite direction. Maybe that’s a pretty smart thing to do, settling into a safe, stable, benign, pragmatic relationship. But nonetheless, it hurts to see that happen.
People are falling in love in a level-headed way and perhaps that’s the modern-day spin to Darwin’s theory of survival. I guess, on some level, it wouldn’t hurt to look at racial, cultural, religious, social and economic divides. After all, you cannot just walk blindly into something that can potentially change the course of your life forever. Also, I suppose there is some merit in being more practical and business-like about love these days.
The only downside I see – and I feel extremely sad about it – to this new-age love is the dwindling of great love into practicalities and the little prosaic things that make life quixotic.