I think when we’re younger, every relationship has meaning. The are important. They give us meaning, a confirmation of who we are, and that we matter. But they tend to be ephemeral. We change so much in our 20’s, and even our early 30’s that what has come before can serve as lessons, but it’s rare these days that anything begun in your 20’s will last. Or at least that is my experience.

I know some day you’ll have a beautiful life

I know you’ll be a star – in someone else’s sky

But why, why, why can’t it be ?

Why can’t it be mine?

Those Pearl Jam lyrics played over and over in my head during my early 20’s. I sought out those I thought might complete me. Those who I thought would care and protect me. But we were all young, trying to find ourselves, and during those years finding the right mate, for life, was something that wasn’t in the cards. I discovered I had to find myself first, and get rid of the excess – the boyfriends that didn’t fit, the life that didn’t fit. I was fearless in my quest for a better life, one I wanted to live fully, without the rest of the world causing static.

But there is always static. There are always the others who want to mold you into what they envision. And I don’t mold well. Unless it is a crafted sculptor, I would not put myself in their hands. So I spent my early 20’s trying to figure myself out – I am still attempting to do that, but as you get older, it gets harder – there are more demands and responsibilities resting on your shoulders. I am proud of most of the ways I handled my 20’s, as screwed up as I was. I spent the first year out of college, trying to forget that the real world existed and lived a fantasy of being an artist, using the money my grandparents had left me to survive. Eventually, I became bored of the same boys, always wanting to party or imagining dreams they would never accomplish. And encouraging their dreams became exhausting. What had happened to my own? I finally understood, and perhaps of my bipolar, that getting out of negative relationships such as this was the best therapy for me.

There are only a few relationships that have scarred my heart. Yes, I Ioved the boy I dated in the desert town, but he was too young. And I was enamored with wrapping the Jack Kerouac clown around my fingers, but for the most part, it was just learning to live with who I was, and who I was becoming. I left them both, for different reasons, and I do not regret it. I do not regret the asshole who I felt held me hostage over money we had invested a business for years, and it took months and my growing insanity before he finally released his hold on me – that taught me a great deal about men, relationships and people in general. I still hate him, but I do not regret that I had that experience. Nor do I abhor the idiot I dated after my husband died. I will never speak to him again, if given the choice, but he was more screwed up than I was, and that is saying a lot coming from someone with a myriad of mental issues.

Until now, two relationships that had no control over their finale have been my first real “boyfriend” and my husband. My boyfriend, who fought me for months, as I rejected everything he was offering because I was terrified, was someone I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. But don’t we always feel that way about our first loves? It was a relationship during my time abroad in college, but by the time I returned home I had the “Dear Jane” letter waiting for me. It was hell. How could he reject me?

The second, of course, is my husband. That was something that no one could see coming. We were perfect. The puzzle pieces fit perfectly and our life was nirvana. If he had lived, I do not know what it would be like today, but I can assure you that I have never been more happy or content in my life than I was when I was with him.

And that leaves me with the here and now. As I listen to music from my 20’s and wonder what the future, and even the present, hold for me.  I used to be so optimistic. I feel so unsure about the future and what it holds for me and my partner. I love him. That is not a question. Does he drive me insane? Yes, at times. Will we last? I do not know.

I am listening to my youth. But it feels like everyone from the seminal music I related to is checking out. And this saddens me greatly. This is heartache, unlike knowing someone close to you. Rather, it is pain that shows us just how fragile we all are and how tenuous life is.

© Sorrow & Kindness


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