As I was walking back from the beach, along the path to our campsite one night, I saw an older couple with hiking boots on, walking side-by-side. Their skin was slightly weathered from the sun, their clothes was maybe not the most fashion forward, but for some reason this couple made a positive lasting impression on me.
I had seen countless other young couples on the beach earlier that night wrapped in their blankets, snuggling up next to the fires, watching the sunset over the ocean. So many people, young and full of love. (Or more likely lust if we’re being honest and maybe slightly cynical.)
You see, when I saw the younger couples I automatically equated them to the dates I have been on, the men I have known, or the relationships my friends have been in. And it seems as though in the majority of those situations, commitment is avoided. Monogamy is a thing of the past. And “long term relationships” have an expiration date, because nothing lasts anymore.
But this older unassuming couple walking down the dirt path were different in my mind. This older couple was a euphemism for everything I would want if I decided to put myself out there again. I don’t want Netflix and chill or even just a couple of good years. I don’t want to grow out of love, I want to grow into love. I want someone to grow old with me. Someone who wants to spend time with me and take me on adventures. I want someone who will weather the storms. But most of all I want to be someone’s equal. Not walking in front or behind, but along side them, just like that older couple was doing.
Unfortunately, I have all but given up on that. People tell me not to let one bad relationship spoil it for me. But the thing is, it’s not one bad relationship that has spoiled it for me. The bad relationships are all around me. From the friends that tell me they just need to find a chick to sleep with. To the men that act interested in me without knowing a damn thing about me. To the guys who drop off the planet if you “friend zone” them. Its the hookups I see at the bars. The volatile relationships 1/2 of the people I know are in. It’s all of those things and more.
Then there’s the simple fact that I often wonder if I was just not made to be in a relationship. I have realized it’s easier for me to forgive when I’m single and I hold less grudges when I’m not with someone. My anxiety and depression is always more under control too. And I think I am just better at loving people when I’m not “in love.”
So maybe not everyone will be lucky enough to have lasting love. Maybe some people won’t even give it a chance. Maybe I am one of those people. But on the off chance I ever do decide to put myself out their again, I sure hope I find that “older couple” kind of love I saw that night at the ocean. I know it’s pretty damn rare. But it’s also really damn special. And if you’re blessed enough to have found that, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.