“Love is passion, obsession, someone you can't live without. I say, fall head over heels. Find someone you can love like crazy and who will love you the same way back. How do you find him? Well, you forget your head, and you listen to your heart. And I'm not hearing any heart. Cause the truth is, honey, there's no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love, well, you haven't lived a life at all. But you have to try, cause if you haven't tried, you haven't lived.” –Meet Joe Black
I can still remember the first time I watched the movie “Meet Joe Black” with my dad; Anthony Hopkins reminded me so much of my father. In the film when Hopkins says to his daughter “Find someone you can love like crazy and who will love you the same way back…” I saw my own father telling me those words – encouraging me to “get swept away out there.”
I always pictured myself in an all-consuming, overwhelming kind of love. A love that would wake me enveloped in its grip and that would put me to sleep with endless conversations about everything and nothing. It was never hard for me to fall in love, just sometimes to stay in it. Looking back I can see that my first real heartbreak wasn’t the result of losing the person I was “meant to be with,” but thinking at the time that what I had was what I really wanted, or was enough.
Our definitions of enough are going to change as much as we are. One day “enough” will be loyalty and trust and the next it will be passion and adventure. My first heartbreak trailed a series of passionate adventures - hounded by footsteps of disloyalty and distrust. It took a long time before I decided that enough was enough; to realize that it was finally time to move on. Even then, in the midst of my apparent unhappiness, it took an army of all the pride I had in me to drag me by the hair, out the door, and miles away from that relationship.
It didn’t happen the day I noticed for the first time the way he looked at her or the day I found her email in his mailbox that I walked away; it was going to take a lot more suffering for me to endure before I was going to willingly push myself into more sorrow.
If you were to place before me now my former twenty-year-old self, I would find that girl unrecognizable – I wouldn’t be able to pick her out in a crowd of three. That’s what time does when you’re busy trying to get over someone; it alters your identity so much that the old you is as easy to find as the dimmest star in the sky.
Do I regret staying in something that ultimately made me unhappy? Am I mad that I “wasted” so much time on something that didn’t last? No, I don’t believe in regrets or wasted time – there’s no such thing. If everything we ever began always lasted, then we would never get to know ourselves. It’s unfortunate, but the sleepless nights, the nervous stomachs and the pages upon pages of tragically written poetry is where we discover who we are. It’s never when things are going perfectly that we think to stop and ask ourselves: “What do you really want? What would really make you the happiest?”
Heartbreak, as dreadful and undesirable as it is, acts as the entrance to a truer, more fitting partner. All the other loves that you outgrew or that outgrew you become revamped as a sort of roadmap to a love that is “passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without.”
When you experience someone who doesn’t deserve your love, you want with your whole heart to swim up against the current of doubt and disbelief; to become enthralled in something that feels bigger than you are. Sometimes that love comes in the form of simply loving yourself – loving yourself enough that, as Anthony Hopkins says so beautifully, you let yourself “be deliriously happy or at least leave yourself open to be…stay open, who knows, lightening could strike.”