In the comments of my review of Whom Not To Marry, I believe Wendy was getting the impression that I don't draw enough from own relationships - that I learn a disproportionately large amount from others and their thoughts, their feelings, and their opinions. While it is true that I am always trying to learn from those who have advice to offer, I also do a good deal of inward analysis and self-exploration. The problem is, I don't much share the latter with you. I wouldn't say that I don't get personal; after all, I discuss programming non-stop - this is my love, this is my passion. This is who I am. But, there is a lot more to me.
In college, there was a girl that I was very much in love with. It was a young love - a naive love in some respects. And I remember, one night, we were driving in her car down Professor's Row (probably headed to a movie) and she mentioned something about a party. I don't remember what lead up to this; however, Professor's row was where the fraternities were, so it's quite possible that she simply saw something that sparked the conversation.
In response to her comment, I said something to the effect of, "Well, you can always party another night." And to this, she said something that I will never forget. She said, "That's what Saturday's are for."
This might seem like a totally innocuous statement; but, when you are young and your love is all encompassing, it is devastating to hear that there are parts of someone's life that you just don't fit into. When all you can think about is loving this one person and then you find out that they have consciously cordoned off parts of their happiness that don't pertain to you - well, that will mess you. And it did; it completely broke my heart.
This was a defining moment for me. Once the initial hurt of it wore off, I was able to calmly and logically evaluate what I had felt and what it all meant. What I realized was that my pain came from the sudden understanding that her happiness wasn't based entirely on me and that she, in fact, had whole areas of happiness that didn't involve me at all. While I am sure that I knew this on some superficial level, hearing it confirmed by my love was not something that I was necessarily ready for. What can I say, I was young - my views on love were naive, absurd even.
What I slowly came to realize was that she had done nothing wrong. While it may not have been the nicest comment, its intent was factual, not malicious. Her happiness should have never relied on me. I do hope that I influenced her happiness - that I added to it; but, it was unfair of me to ever suppose that her happiness hinged on me in some critical way. That would be a standard that no one could ever live up to.
Once I fully embraced this concept, it not only matured my views on love, it completely changed the type of person that I felt attracted to; suddenly, passion was unbelievably sexy! And, I don't mean carnality - I mean a sheer joy of life! I found myself drawn to the people who wanted to get up in the morning - to the people who wanted to attack the day with determination. It was as if the only people that I wanted to be happy with were the people who were already happy on their own.
And you know what? It was probably one of the better things that has ever happened to me. She may have broken my heart but, she left me a much better person.
It is quite a bit past my bed time; so, I am unable to come up with a powerful conclusion to really take my point home. As such, I will end on whimsical note, quoting Harrison Ford in Six Days, Seven Night: "It's an island, babe. If you didn't bring it here, you won't find it here." Ford's character was referring to love between people on island holidays. To me, however, this could just as easily be about happiness and relationships - if you don't bring happiness to a relationship, you're ain't gonna find it there.