Thursday, November 5, 2009

Should You Look Before You Leap?

By Astrid Engels

If this hasn't happened to you, you've at least known someone or read a book or something where it does happen: two people meet, instantly fall in love and then do something extreme, whether it's dropping their whole lives and running away to Iceland together or simply getting married. Sounds totally romantic, I know. Or does it?

I'm of two minds about this one, probably because I've been there. In my younger, yet equally head strong, days, I completely lost it over a man who was 15 years older than me. We'd been dating for just three months when in a flurry of emotion I sublet my amazing apartment, packed my bags and moved in with him.

What happened next was the stuff of nightmares not romantic dreams. He attacked me. Though I'm kind of glib about it now, at the time I felt like my world had fallen apart. Not only was I loveless, I was homeless. And on top of all that, I'd started to doubt my own abilities about feelings and instincts. It happened so suddenly and so intensely it was as though I was watching myself in a movie.

Should I have been more discerning about what could possibly lie ahead? Perhaps. But seeing as how I did make it out alive, I'm not sure if I would do things any differently if I could go back. Sometimes putting a buffer on happenstances of the heart like this also puts a buffer on the amount of emotion you get to experience.

I think that's the way a lot of leap before you look lovers look at things. Whatever may come, they risk taking the good with the bad. They never sacrifice the good to same themselves from potential bad. Without taking a chance on anything, the reason, you'll just end up an old sad bundle of middle ground. Life is simply too short not to chance an occasional extreme.

Like everything, there are two sides to this debate. Sure, I'm all in favor of following one's heart, especially if it leads you to some unexpected places away from your chosen path. But there is a world of difference between being someone who has a chance encounter with someone amazing and someone who makes it a habit of thriving on the drama of falling in and out of love.

People like this most certainly exist. I call them "love-bleweeds". They make a life out of tumbling around, building up one relationship and life, only to completely uproot and reconfigure when the next one comes along. After you've done this for long enough, it's very possible to forget how to be calm, comfortable and exercise any follow through.

I suppose some people are happy like this and if so, more power to them. However, there are lots of casualties surrounding someone who lives like this: they have friends and co-workers and lovers and neighbors and pets and a life that gets set up. When you drop everything at the sight of the next "soulmate" who comes along, there are bound to be a heap of people in your wake who are going to feel something missing when you're gone.

It's a rare thing full of unspeakable joy when you fall in love hard, fast and intense. You simply have to go for it. And if you're really lucky, and you've had some experience, perhaps you'll master doing so and keeping the rest of your life intact without having to sacrifice any of love's intensity.

About the Author:


Post a Comment