I wrote this almost a month ago but couldn’t bring myself to post it. In the midst of my Self Improvement through Attitude Adjustment month, I read this again and felt it does have a place.
I had one of those moments. We know these moments. We usually enjoy these moments. They get great names like Eureka! moments, epiphanies, or Dawning Realization. Sometimes the moments are so tremendous that we give them titles like “Paradigm Shift” or say of them “Everything has Changed”.
One of my skills is a rather intense ongoing self-analysis. In naval terms it is called ‘station keeping’, maintaining a position, knowing one’s location in relation to other fixed objects. This station keeping is normally wrapped around emotional things, my constant analysis of my feelings to see where I am to make sure I’m not taken by surprise.
And then it happens.
A moment when I realized I am no longer clinging safely to my predetermined path but instead have fallen off a cliff. Nothing to grab onto, free fall, plummeting to the ground. Completely unplanned, completely caught by surprise.
How do you know when you are in love? Love is a crazy emotion. I love ice cream but really that isn’t love. Artists, poets, philosophers have all discussed love to great length and we can know it in an academic sense, and we know when we are in love, but sometimes identifying that exact moment when one had that realization is hard to pinpoint.
And sometimes, like a car wreck, that moment happens in slow motion. So slow. Painfully slow. Because sometimes something like love isn’t a good thing. Sometimes when you see the beginning you can see the end. Love truly is a noble emotion and I earnestly believe that. I hold it sacred, probably too sacred. It is unconditional. It is self-sacrifice. And it sometimes means love will bring us great pain. I call it the “happy-sadness”. So happy for some else but so sad for your own loss.
My moment took me by surprise. I thought I understood my emotional state and then someone was in pain. Such pain. My bones literally ached. Acid built up in my stomach and I wanted to vomit. Everything snapped into focus and instead of elation, I felt pain – her’s and then my future pain. The pain of loss because unrequited love is tragic.
Just a quick side-note here. For the longest time, a lot longer than I care to admit, I thought the phrase was “unrecoited love”, assuming it related to a love that would never lead to coitus. I’m so glad I shared that.
My moment turned the channel on my life from whimsy to tragedy. I could clearly see the day when I would smile warmly as she found her own love with someone else. My sincere happiness that she found that person to care for her. Followed by the sadness of not being that man.
We cannot shirk from these moments as they offer real guidance in our lives. We cannot ignore it. We cannot pretend we don’t see it. Even if all we want… even if all I desperately want is to ignore it and make everything go back to the way it was, that is the path of greater pain. Moments of clarity, dawning realization, epiphanies are gifts that must be honored. While I cannot avoid the “happy sadness” that will come in the future, I know not to allow myself to linger hopefully.
Life is lived by moving forward, not by waiting.