“I’m gonna stop looking back, start moving on, learn how to face my fears. Love with all of my heart, and make my mark, I want to leave something here. Go out on a ledge without any net, that’s what I’m gonna be about, yeah I wanna be running when the sand runs out.”
– When the Sand Runs Out by Rascal Flatts
Life is short. I know this and you know this. We all have something that causes the idea that “life is short” click in our heads. You might be able to pinpoint that moment, and you might not. For me, I can’t really mark when it clicked, but there were moments that would have if I had not already had that moment. Maybe I had it when I was younger and my uncle passed away. Maybe it was something I almost always knew because it had been something that was said around me a lot as a kid, as a reminder that our lives are fleeting. What matters is that I know this and now I have to decide what I’m going to do about it.
What kind of life do I want to live? What do I want in the life that I’m living? What am I going to do to get it? I know that I want to have an epic life, one that is filled with no regrets, no fear of the future, and lots of love. After a heart break people fear falling in love again, they don’t want to feel that pain again, and really, who wants to ever feel that? It’s a crappy feeling. After mine, I was determined not to feel that again because it absolutely sucked, but that also meant locking my heart away from potentially experiencing something even more wonderful than what I had previously. I don’t want a mediocre type of love, and I don’t want to live in fear of having my heart broken.
I think that C.S. Lewis said it best when he said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
The idea of being vulnerable with someone scared me for the longest time, and I wouldn’t let myself feel that with anyone until my last relationship happened. I saw myself open up and grow, I saw my heart begin to soften and left it open to be broken. It was the first relationship that I actually wanted to work on, that I wanted to see where it would lead. It was the first time I was absolutely vulnerable with someone, first time being in love with someone, the first time I said, “I love you,” to someone that wasn’t family or a close friend and meant it. Now that that relationship is over, I look forward to having these moments with someone new.
Despite what I may feel at a particularly low moment, I truly do not regret any moment I had with my ex. I came out stronger, happier, and with a better sense of what I want in someone. I don’t want someone who won’t show me who they are, what they fear, what makes them feel insecure. If I’m going to open up about this part of me, I want someone who will do the same for me. I want to be the safe place for someone, and I want to have a safe place with someone. None of this hiding behind bravado or a mask out of fear that I will stop loving you if you show me who you are. I want someone who is compassionate and humble, I’m tired of dating guys who fit into the category of narcissist. I’m tired of dating the Tony Starks of the world, the Logan Echols! This Pepper Potts is done with it. This Veronica Mars isn’t having it anymore. I don’t expect perfection, but I do expect honesty and equal effort being put in.
Since my break up I’ve seen so much personal growth. I’m picking up my camera again, I’m sticking up for myself, I’m getting better at managing my anxiety, I’m making goals and I’m meeting them. I’m living with no regrets, and when something hurts or upsets me, I’m learning to let it roll off my shoulders quicker. I’m loving more and loving deeper and not being worried about who might walk into my life next. I’m putting up much needed boundaries for the people who have overstepped their right to know what’s going on in my life and though sometimes those conversations suck, I’m happier. I’m experimenting with making things (I made homemade hummus and it’s awesome!) and I’m working hard to pay off my student loans so I don’t have to worry about them anymore.
There are still so many things that I want to do before I’m ready to get serious enough with someone to want to marry them, and that was something that I learned as well. I want to have my own place, and whether it’s on my own or with a roommate, it’s something that I want. And I don’t want my roommate to be a significant other at the moment because it’s just something I want to experience in that part of my life. I want to travel a lot before I get married, and if I have someone in my life at the time, they’re more than welcome to tag along, but also understand that I’m doing it for me. For the adventures I’m seeking before I’m ready to settle into a married life. Though, I know I’ll want to travel a lot after I’m married too.
When the time comes, I know I’ll be ready. I’m a firm believer that you’ll know when the time is right for you for all of that serious stuff. My parents knew so early on into their relationship that they wanted to get married. They were engaged by six months and they’ve been married for 28 years (though mom will joke and say it’s closer to 40 with the windchill,) and I’ve never seen people who work so well together. So, I’m not too worried about when I’ll get engaged or married, when the time is right I’ll know that I’m ready. None of this setting a timeline in a relationship that puts pressure. Like, “Within a year of us being together, I hope to be married.” That just adds pressure to the people who may not feel that they’ll be ready in that year. Leaving it open to when you’re both ready works way better for me. So whether I’m ready three months in, or three years, I’m not too worried and don’t want the pressure.
I’m also excited to work on being a little less cautious. I know I can be quite protective of my heart, which to be fair, I should be, but I’m also willing to take risks now. I’ve got some of the scary stuff out of the way, and I’m still standing, ready to fight. I don’t want to look back at my life and think, “I didn’t put my heart out there to find something awesome.” and I’m not even talking about romance. Loving people in general. Building friendships, putting my passions out there, not being afraid to show my talents off. I feel that with my photography, when I’m putting it out there, it’s part of my heart being exposed, and so sometimes I get nervous of putting that out there for everyone to see. Especially when some of the stuff that I shoot is personal. I want to be able to say I put it out there, and I went after what I wanted.
So, when my time comes, I hope that I’ll be chasing my dreams. Bringing joy and light to the people in my life, and just living joyfully. Going after the things I want, seeing the world, and just loving deeply. Like it says in Proverbs 31:25, “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” and that’s just part of what I want when it comes to being a Proverbs 31 woman. So, here’s to my future where I hope to live without regrets and to be running when the sand runs out.