Sunday, November 1, 2009

What if Forever Had Finality?

Like a typical New Yorker, I have serious hangups when it comes to relationships. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the idea of forever. When you go to a wedding, there's always that pesky phrase, "forever hold your peace" that's thrown about. Or "as long as you both shall live." Talk about pressure. A lifetime is practically forever. Since I don't personally know of anyone who has died and returned to inform the rest of us if there is an afterlife, I'm going to stay with the premise that a lifetime is as much forever as most of us will ever know.

There are forevers you just can't change. Your biological parents. The genetics that gave you curly hair or green eyes or that big ole booty no amount of cardio can extinguish. There are other forevers that just mean "for the period it lasted." Relationships are a huge temporary fix that may seem like forever, or feel like forever. Ultimately, though, all of us end up in that conflicted grey area where we don't know what we have, don't know what we want, and are afraid to admit we don't know ourselves or others very well.

I am perhaps a great example of the typical conflicted person who wonders whether I can recognize healthy relations. It's an eternal hell to love or be in love with someone you don't know anymore. Because the alternative- that you never knew them in the first place- is more frightening. Maybe forever is a flawed concept and we should stop aiming for that ideal. Cars break down, people die and governments will change or crumble. Why do we expect relationships to withstand the test of time when even our own bodies eventually will fail us? And too our minds? Why should emotion save the day? I question myself often if I knew the person well or as well as I could know any person I'm apt to judge with rose colored glasses. I mean, don't we all judge people we chose to get involved with under different standards? Imperfections we'd never tolerate in regular folks we overlook or ignore in our paramours? Until we can't anymore because our inate sense of judgment finally creeps to the forefront and says, "ARE YOU THAT BLIND OR STUPID? YOU TRIED, IT WON'T CHANGE SO UNLESS YOU'RE HAPPY FEELING THAT THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF VALIDATION IN YOUR LIFE WHO ISN'T A RELATIVE CAN'T FULFILL YOU, IT'S TIME TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!"

Okay that was loud. Hence people break up, divorce, go in separate directions. Some people jsut have shorter tolerance periods. Others are content to be discontended. Maybe you chase that which doesn't exist. Or you convince yourself there's always more to be fufilled. Perhaps you don't know if the terror of self validation is worse than lackluster or haphazard validation from a relationship. Or you multitask relationships like work until you realize that it's become work to maintain your personal life. Work you can walk away, get away, create space, breathe. Can you do so when your personal validator becomes a job?

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