What is true love? It is loving the same person, the same place all the time? Can two people, who are growing everyday, becoming fuller and truer versions of themselves, always stay in sync of each other’s changes and stay right for each other? Is it unlikely that we outgrow the people that we love, not because they are bad people, but our growth makes us need different things at different points in our lives?
Somewhere, all of us crave for change. We want to do different things, learn different things, eat different things, live differently. However, often, when are standing at the cusp of a change, we draw back. We look hard into ourselves and wonder, is the change even required? We talk ourselves into the thousand things that are going well for us. We think about the people who are in our lives, the memories we have made with them. We think about the things that we are so used to using. We remember the usual roads that we take, the convenience of the neighborhood that we live in.
Interestingly, when we are far away from change, we nitpick and find faults with our current existence: we complain about how the apartment we are living in is not cool enough, how we have to deal with too much traffic in the cities that we live in, how the people around us are difficult. But standing at the cusp of change, those same things feel wonderful, comfortable, and loving.
For almost three years now, I have been living in the same apartment, working in the same job. I had always told myself that I wanted to travel, live in another country. Now, when the situation is finally presenting itself to me (not the foreign travel, just yet), I am feeling a sense of lethargy. I just want to lie with my face hidden in my soft pillow and wish things could go on in the same manner for the remainder of my life. I wish I was still working with the people I first met when I joined my workplace – so very few of them are now left in the workplace.
But that’s the thing – even if we wished for things to stay the same, they won’t. There was a time when people lived the same lifestyle their entire lives, didn’t move around much, didn’t change jobs, lived in the same neighborhood all their lives, became an extended family to the neighbors – cried in their sad times, were happy for their happiness – but the times have changed. People who we want to hold on to leave all the time, and we have to just sit back and accept it. Partly because, today there are so many opportunities. Partly because, today, even as young employees, we can afford so much. People delay their marriages all the time these days, so nobody is tied down by family needs. We all have invisible wings now – we all can fly away and grow roots in a town very different from the ones we grew up in, speak other languages, sing different songs, eat different cuisine.
Yet, standing in this 21st century, my heart does ache from time to time for a time when things were not-so-dynamic – when you could fall in love with one person and could just die happily being married to them, having built a family around them.
Once upon a time, I looked down upon our generation for moving from one relationship to the other, as if relationships really do not have an expiry date. However, having lived a few more years on this Earth, having known a bunch of more people, I realized all relationships have an expiry date. Sometimes, we do outgrow the people we love, sometimes, we grow to dislike the same people who we once loved. It is natural and it is not a bad thing. Change gives us an opportunity to start with a new slate, fix the things that we earlier could not.
But in all this, if we do find those people, those places, who we want to come back to again and again, even after we have ended our relationships, because even if in the short period they do not match our needs, but in the long term we realize the importance of their presence in our lives, I guess, we have found true love.