Who we are today is based on where we’ve been and the things in our past that have molded and shaped us. It’s easy to lose track of time and live in the memories of the good ol’ days, thinking that we’re still the same people we were once upon a time. When it comes to love, the same rules apply.
We’ve all had loves; first loves, whirlwind loves, loves that were maybe never even loves at all. But that one love, the one that got away, the one that sticks with us no matter how hard we try to shake it, that’s the one that binds us to the past. It handcuffs us to the memories of how things once were, cementing us deeply in a relationship that has actually been over for quite some time.
We convince ourselves we will never find something comparable again, that there is no one else out there who could make our heart as whole. We root our hearts in denial and believe that our future is meant only for that one person, telling ourselves again and again that it’s just not over. That it can’t be done forever; that we are meant to be and that the stars will guide us back together one day once we’ve done our soul searching and found our paths. That love like that has a way of coming back.
And sometimes it does. Sometimes, in a scene straight out of The Notebook the love of our life blazes back into our world like a shooting star when we least expect it. When it happens, we feel it again. The love, the passion, the feeling that your heart may just explode because of all the love it contains. It’s rejuvenating and fun and the memories, they flood back so quickly and easily that you can barely catch your breath. You always knew you still loved them but seeing them in the flesh brings it to a different level and you don’t know how you could ever be without them again.
It’s easy to relive the past when the past shows up on your doorstep and melts your heart with their smile. It’s easy to remember all the good things about your relationship that ended so long ago, because it feels like not even one day has went by. Together, you don’t skip a beat and naturally pick up right where you left off. Your bodies fit together perfectly, like they always did, and you never want to let them go. It’s in that moment that you know you need them in your future–that your future will not be complete without this relationship from the past, without this person who completes your soul and makes you whole. You see the future in their eyes and want to grow old with them-and only them.
I used to be a big believer that when two people are meant to be together nothing can keep them apart-Not space, not time, not other people or relationships. Ever the optimist, I developed patience and calmness knowing that “What’s meant to be will always find a way”. I got my Notebook scene and then I waited. I waited and waited and pushed away good people because still, no one could compare. No one else was my destiny so why waste my time? I cried when the world kept pulling us in different directions and cried some more when I realized that life was passing me by while I waited for fate to take its course.
Love is a funny thing and paired with the past, it’s easy to see how our hearts and minds can become blurred. We remember only the best about our relationship and the times we spent together and that’s what we focus on. We forget the small things and sidestep the reasons why it ended. We block from our minds the annoyances we may have once had, and instead magnify all the good things about that person we came to love. We look at the pictures and see the happiness that we lived through and we think there is no way we could ever be that happy again. There is no way we could love another person that deeply again.
And the truth is, you will most likely never love someone like that ever again in your life. At that capacity, with that unrelenting devotion, with that passion. You will love that person forever and nothing will change that–Not time, not space, not other relationships. Your heart will always hold a spot for their smile, for their laugh, for the many memories you always shared. That love that you have won’t ever go away and won’t be replicated but sometimes we have to see that our futures may not actually align. That the past is the past for a reason and that sometimes it has to stay there for your future to develop.
I promise it gets easier. Realizing that you must do life without them? It gets easier. That pang of missing them that hits you out of nowhere and makes you feel sick to your stomach? Yeah, that gets easier too. Not that it won’t ever creep up on you from time to time every now and then but it does begin to wane. It gets easier to accept that maybe life has other (better) plans for you and in time you’ll start to allow new people into your heart. At first, it’ll be hard and most likely won’t work out but in time you’ll find yourself able to think of possibly loving again. Possibly creating new memories with a person other than the one who got away. And while the love between you will be different, that doesn’t mean it has to be anything less than brilliant.
Your future does not depend on your past because who you were then is not who you are now. No matter what happens, remember that sometimes there are better things waiting for you in the future than you could have ever dreamed of or planned for. And sometimes, it takes unhinging the past and living in the present to get there.