If you had asked me when I was a teenager if I’d recognize the man I would be in 20 years, I would probably say yes. I don’t look all that different, to be sure, but life has a way of humbling you despite yourself. Choices we make or don’t make don’t seem to affect the often chaotic existence we experience. When we are younger, we are filled with hope for the future, and no obstacle seems insurmountable. We easily picture ourselves ensconced in the loving arms of an idyllic setting surrounded by friends and family that love us and are married to the person we always dreamed we’d meet. Life, sadly, isn’t for all of us like the fairytales we grew up believing and instead becomes a hellscape of regrets and loss and missed opportunities.
At rare moments in our lives, we meet people and can envision a future with them in our lives that spans its entirety. We can almost instantaneously perceive every aspect of our lives and what it would entail if we had that person by our side to face it with us. We see our children in their eyes, our souls intertwined in a synchronous dance that was destined by the gods and perhaps the universe itself. Some are lucky and can grasp what is in front of them, and two people become one for eternity. But, unfortunately, most suffer a similar fate as me and meet that person only to have them torn away from them either by a simple turn of cruel fate or from the choices they made in what they thought was in service of that union.
We remain forever haunted by memories of that wonderful person we lost, seeking to establish blame. We often blame ourselves because how could one so angelic, beautiful, and perfect ever be at fault in our eyes. The love never dies, and it never fades, and nothing and no one we meet can ever fill the deep chasm left in the depths of our hearts and souls. We plod onward through something akin to a dystopian nightmare, aware that time doesn’t really heal all wounds and that this burden we will bear until death and beyond should such an infinity exist for us. We walk this earth feeling abandoned and lost; our heart no longer belongs to us, but instead, it’s as if a thief came in the night and took the best of what we are, and we can never hope to get it back.
Attempts at romance feel hollow and disingenuous. How can you truly appreciate anyone or really love anyone else when your heart belongs to another? I think love takes different forms throughout our lives. Some are fortunate to meet a person like I described and can fashion a magnificent fairy tale existence that we all dreamed of in our youth. Sadly, this is not the lot most of us have in life, and we are forced to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation. We, of course, logically don’t need another individual to have a fulfilling existence. Still, it would nice to produce a new generation with a chance to succeed where their parents perhaps failed to build positive examples and hopefully a better world.
Love is a feeling overpowering and intoxicating. Unfortunately, love too many is but a word with none of those qualities, which is why this world can be such a disheartening place. One might take away from my ramblings that perhaps we should guard our hearts, to steel them against the pain of lost loves. No distant shore was ever reached without setting sail; despite the warnings of dragons just over the horizon, we must dare to challenge the raging tempest on the sea of life. Everyone can make all the right choices and have all the right intentions, but fortune or chance may not favor them. That doesn’t mean that we don’t try. It just means that even if we fail, it isn’t always our fault, and without trying, we most certainly cannot succeed. The ghosts that haunt us will be with us throughout life, sometimes bringing us comfort and other times pain, but the most critical lesson they convey to us is humility and the knowledge that we at least dared to live.
Make a one-time donation
Make a monthly donation
Make a yearly donation
Choose an amount
Or enter a custom amount
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly