I’m going to deviate from my original list of 5 topics to write about this instead. This comes from a live observation and I figured I didn’t need to wait another day to post about this. After all this is a blog, so there should be no agenda really. 🙂
This morning I was in line at Starbucks, the local coffee shop here when I overheard a conversation between a mother and daughter standing ahead of me in line. The daughter, from what I gathered was a freshman in college. She was talking to her mom animatedly about this boy she has been seeing and how he is (my words not hers) “the best thing since sliced bread”. Now I’ve been a teen before (obviously) and have been smitten too but I guess life has jaded me. I thought to myself, this child is so naive. Then I look at the mom who is trying hard to not roll her eyes at her daughter’s description of “God’s gift to mankind”, and I had to stifle my laugh. Guess I’m not the only one jaded here.
What got me though was how simple her outlook on love was (I’m paraphrasing). “He meets me for coffee after class every Wednesday, helps me with my homework and doesn’t make jokes at my expense or mock me when I do something stupid.” While my first thought was that he is doing all this because he has ulterior motives, I also realized that these are some of the basic things we all look for in love. Someone who cares about us, makes time for us, respects us and while they may tease us, they don’t belittle us. As we get older, we get more world-wise and maybe a little more hedonistic. Ofcourse, you can’t be all dovey eyed in love either. Love doesn’t pay the bills. But often in favor of security and a comfortable future, some of us settle for what might not be true love. We justify to ourselves that the love will blossom eventually or it is not needed as long as we can have a satisfying lifestyle. Then there are those of us that staunchly hang on to the notion that love needs to take first place and everything else from there can be managed on will and hard work.
I know someone at work who just got married for the second time and her expectations were clear. She wanted someone who was financially secure if not well-to-do so she wouldn’t have to worry about how she handled her paycheck. He needed to be one that loved her more than she loved him and he needed to support her hobbies – she rides horses and loves to travel. Being in the early 50’s with grown kids, she had already been through the phase where she made compromises on how she lived her life and was not willing to settle for any less. The first time around, she had married early and while the marriage didn’t live up to either of their expectations, they stuck together for the sake of their children. With the children all grown and moving out, they each realized they deserved a chance to find someone to be truly happy with and parted ways amicably.
As I stand in line, I mull over the differences in how the teenager and my colleague differ in priorities. Maybe if the teenager were the same age as my colleague, she might have a different outlook on life? I have several friends that married their childhood sweethearts and experience marital bliss every single day, so I cannot discount that all early marriages fail, nor am I trying to. There are an equal number of statistics to prove that second marriages might end in failure as well, despite the experience they bring. It’s not the metrics I’m trying to focus on. I just wonder if we miss out on that innocence that comes with finding someone you love early on when you wait, because life gives you lemons all the time and soon you get tired of making lemonade by yourself and want someone else to help you with it. Maybe as we jade with age, we stop looking for those core elements of love and settle for an option that yields the least compromise. I don’t see anything wrong with either viewpoint. I’m just lamenting over the loss of naivete.
In the meanwhile, I hope no one bursts this child’s bubble. She might be one of the few lucky ones that has found her soulmate early on in life. I wish her the very best and who knows, I might be in line several years into the future, with her, her mom and this love of her life, listening to them all laughing and swapping stories as they wait to get their coffee.