'Tis better to have loved, lost than not to have tried

Hearts can easily snap, but relationships worth weeks of potential pain

 

Boy meets girl. Girl likes boy, and boy likes girl. Girl falls in love, and boy falls out of love. Then it all starts over again. Boy meets girl. It’s the circle of life.

We’ve all been burned by love, no matter what gender or sexual persuasion. It is a side effect of loving someone. Someday, somehow for some unworthy reason, your heart is bound to be broken. Not every relationship is like Corey and Topanga of “Boy Meets World.” Love is more like … water skiing.

You strap on the skis and brace yourself to be pulled behind an out-of-control boat. Most likely you’re a little excited, butterflies and all. Maybe you stand for the first few seconds, or maybe you’ve got enough talent to stay up for a while, but eventually your legs, your arms or both will give out.

And before you know it, you’re being pulled facedown through the oncoming tide. Bruises and scars are all hazards of love. We know this going in.

Just like you know at some point you’ve got to let go of the rope and fall back into the freezing water.

Unfortunately, if you’re like me, you are most likely to quit skiing as soon as possible. No one really enjoys getting dragged through the water.

And then one day, boy meets girl again. (As in my previous column, male pronoun will represent the unisex). Maybe he’s that mysterious guy in your class with the beautiful eyes. Maybe he’s your best friend from work. He could be that guy you see in passing every other day on your way to class.

Whoever he is, however you know him, those past transgressions, healing scars and hurt feelings hold you back. You never say hello to Mr. Mystery. You pull away from that great guy at work. And every other day you walk past Mr. Could-have-been.

Letting go of fears is hard. After all, getting back into the water after falling on your face can be difficult. Sure, you never really know when that crush will turn into another broken heart or end up being the guy who makes you laugh, not cry. But you don’t want to be like Rusty the narcoleptic dog and let the world pass you by while you keep waiting.

Part of love is pain. It wouldn’t be worth it if there weren’t a little bit of uncertainty and thrill. Take that old saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Stop being so afraid. Most of us have fallen on our faces or let go of the rope at some point in our tumultuous love lives. If you keep running away or waiting for love to find you, you will miss what is right in front of you.

Alas, a cornucopia of love could be right there at the other end of the rope. Let go of the dock and jump in, the water is fine.

 

(Originally written 1.25.2008)

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