Do you believe in soulmates? I asked her. It was one of these pensive Sunday mornings, the apartment empty as usual. I’d been contemplating life and love and the many layers in between over (at least) three cups of coffee, and suddenly needed to know what she thought. I believe in sublime connections, absolutely; her answer bridged 3000 thousand miles of Atlantic Ocean and 8 hours of time difference. That alone told me that sometimes connections are deep enough to work, even transatlantic. Thank God, I thought, and then: I knew it. Her words were soothing like Advil or a mug of hot chocolate. Why do you ask love? She wanted to know.
Well, why did I want to know exactly? For one, I’m an over-thinker. I love to think about things – be it the question whether or not it’s really necessary to have light products of things that aren’t supposed to be light to begin with (such as frosting – really, who wants light frosting?) or the question whether or not soulmates might possibly exist, I’ve thought about it, at least once. Simply thinking about questions doesn’t give you any answers, of course. So after I’ve spent quite a while thinking, I tend to look for the answers in books. No how-to manuals, of course. Any book really. I believe that if you come across the right book at the right time it can tell you something. Maybe even if you come across the wrong book at the wrong time it’ll tell you something. I’m not sure, though – I’ll have to think about it some other time.
I’d also been doing some soul-searching for a while and had just finished reading a book about soulmates. A bit esoteric but not too far out there and strangely gripping. I stumbled over it on one of my many amazon binges. Actually, a friend had recommended the author to me almost two years ago and for some reason I had suddenly remembered him. I almost ate, slept and breathed the book until I was done. And although I was out to find answers, it just handed me a bunch of new questions. Maybe that’s a type of answer, too. Of course, a book is just a book; it’s not an oracle, not a life-line. Especially with this book, I had my doubts anyways. I imagined the author’s smirk as he typed the epilogue, bedazzled by the fact that he can make actual money by making shit up as he goes (who wouldn’t love that?).
The problem: I’m a cynic and a believer, all at once. Like everyone else, I certainly would like to return a couple of things life’s handed me down the road. I’ve had days (weeks, months) where I felt like kicking and screaming: was this really necessary? At the same time I’ve always had hope: there’s got to be a reason for all this; it’s got to get better eventually. It just had to. It was the same with the book: I wanted to believe, I just didn’t really trust it. In the end, however, I decided a little more belief and a little less doubt couldn’t hurt. If we’re honest with ourselves: who doesn’t love the idea that one or maybe even two or three soulmates exists for every one of us that we are destined to meet (what is done after the meeting, of course, is free will – (un)fortunately?). Not because the book had convinced me to. Just because I wanted to. I guess, that’s what believing means anyways. Also, because the book left me with so many questions, I’d just found my own answer: another soul that agreed with me and made me feel a little less crazy about it all. A soulmate, maybe?
Sometimes I mean to write about one thing and in the end I realize I’ve been sidestepping the entire time like a rabbit with ADD (that, for some odd reason, knows how to type) so the result is something completely different.
This post’s one of those.
Ladies and gentlemen, your entrée.
It’s not that he broke his vow. There were no vows taken, no rings exchanged. Is a broken promise alone something worth crying over? Does it mean anything at all? If hushed between dusk and dawn, between dinner and dirty dishes, between then and now, without witness.
To some, it doesn’t mean a thing; they just gather (or scatter) their belongings and leave without as much as a good-bye, cracking invisible rings, not breaking vows but breaking nevertheless, breaking only without witness.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If the sky falls in your backyard an no one is around to hear it, does it make a difference? The eternal question, ever unanswered.
If children break bones, they say healing is quick. The younger the faster the better. I can’t say that’s true for all that breaks. What if the first time your heart was broken you didn’t even know how to write your name? What if the second time your heart was broken you didn’t even know about heartbreak, but you knew how it felt?
I’ve never broken a bone, sometimes I wish I could go back in time and trade; get a cast, in my favorite color, have people sign it or draw cartoon characters all over my arm or leg; also, everyone’s a lot nicer when they see you’re wearing a cast.
What if there was a cast for all kinds of things that break? What if it came in your favorite color, and people could sign it and draw things all over? What if we treated each other as if each of us had broken something?
Because I’m sure we all have.
If you’re still curious what I wanted to write to begin with, I have to tell you … what are we talking about again? And who are you? What am I doing? I should really start writing lists.
It’s a Wednesday night and I’m in my sweatpants, drinking wine as I’m writing this.
I’d actually planned to go to this after-work-thing to be a little less anti-social with my colleagues but it was cancelled last-minute – thank God! Now I can be anti-social while pretending I’m not: sorry you guys, I would have loved to go out, too bad it’s not happening (did this sound too sarcastic you think?).
Now I’m officially free to do all the fun stuff I would have preferred to do all along and I don’t even have to feel bad about it: wear comfy clothes, eat in front of the TV, listen to any music I like, blog. Cause that’s fun, right?
Or am I getting lame these days? Is this what I should be doing? Shouldn’t I be out partying after all? Meeting interesting people and stuff? Is this why I’m slowly but steadily approaching my mid-twenties, still half (or three-quarters) in school, half (or one quarter) working, single, home alone tonight? Am I missing something? Was my mother right (and what’s her most important advice again – why can’t I remember this)? What am I doing with my life anyways?
Oh dear, is this it now – a quarter-life crisis?
No, I’m not helplessly neurotic – just a tad bit. Here are a couple more of my most recent thoughts on being (almost) 25.
Vocation or occupation or something else entirely?
Six-year-old me wanted to be a writer when she grows up. And seven-year-old-me, too. Eight-year-old me wanted to become a vet until she found out that they don’t just get to pet the animals all day long and decided to stick with writing after all. Now I’ve almost finished grad school, on the best way to become a teacher. What would six-/seven-/eight-year-old me say? Would they kick my stupid grown-up (and maybe too reasonable) butt? What do I really want? Do I even know?
Of course, being a teacher doesn’t mean I have to give up writing; I could always write on the side (like I’m doing now) – that is, if I have enough nerve and time. Or I could become bitter and cynical and just keep telling my future students about the novel I was writing and eventually going to publish, without ever actually writing anything. And then, 24-year-old me thinks, just because we make a certain decision at one point in our life, it doesn’t mean we can’t make another decision some other time.
I think, if six-/seven-/eight-year-old me made a fuss about it, I would probably turn to them and say: do you remember how one year all you ate for breakfast was Coco Puffs and then one day, you decided you wanted to try out Froot Loops because they looked really good? This is kind of like that, too. There would be a brief moment of silence and I would nod wisely and finally agree with myself. Hopefully.
Also .. what about love?
As my Mom loves to (accidentally?) point out whenever my sister brings her husband and two boys over for lunch on Sundays: I’m still single. While people around me seem to be procreating like rabbits (boy, it must have been a very cold winter last year and what’s with this biological clock everyone’s talking about?), I am a rock, I am an island. I’m going to tell you this much, though: it’s not because I just can’t let go of my precious freedom. I do believe in love – the heart-wrenching, earth-shattering kind; this incredible love that you can feel to the tip of your fingers. I’ve felt it. And then it left me.
Maybe it was just a preview, though. Maybe it didn’t mean what I thought it did. Whenever this silly feeling deep in my gut rears its ugly head and wants to tell me to get real, because life’s not a movie or a fairy tale, that there’s no such thing as fate and that, by the way, Santa Clause doesn’t really exist, I decide not to listen to closely. It’s not that I’m a hopeless optimist/romantic – I’ve just decided that if
everything turns to shit life gets rough, nodding your head and mumbling I’ve known it all along doesn’t help you, either. You might as well have a little hope – even if it’s all you’ve got.
So much for my latest random thoughts. You may or may not want to call this a quarter-life crisis; probalby it’s just an almost boring reflection on life the way people like Socrates already did it way back in good old Greece (in the golden days, when they weren’t bankrupt or so much as knew about the concept of bankruptcy yet). And anyways, what’s in a name, as Juliet would say. No matter the label, it still feels the same.