Holding back is something that I think I’ve managed to do quite well over the course of my life. I make it sound like if this is some sort of achievement. Well, it is in some ways, and in others, it’s not necessarily. I had a Skype chat with a good friend of mine about a month ago – one of those good friends that are constantly scheming or threatening to set me up romantically with someone, worried that my current life is too boring. Anyway, the conversation made me quickly go over the list of people I’d dated in the past and think about what those relationships were like. We talked about the two things that stood out for me as a result of conjuring up this list: 1) the list was short, and 2) all the relationships (except for one, which lasted two years) were short. With the one exception, they all lasted no more than a couple of months. It occurred to me that it was all about holding back, even then. Holding back from exploring each relationship further, from waiting to see how things would develop, from giving the relationship time, because it seemed clear (either before the relationship ever began, or a few weeks into it) that it couldn’t possibly last. So, why bother? I would wonder, and that would be the beginning of the end for me. Even in the two-year relationship, there was evidence of holding back (which eventually led to it dying a natural death).
This isn’t an account of regret, though. Merely a new observation. I spent much of my life holding back and holding out. Holding out for what I thought would be the real thing. I never saw the point of investing time and energy in relationships that clearly couldn’t be more than temporary.
This inclination kept me out of a lot of unnecessary trouble (thank goodness!), but it did little to enhance my level of wisdom. As I’ve alluded to before in many previous blog posts, ‘getting wisdom’ is a whole other process.
There’s a young person in my life who has a slightly different approach to her relationships: some holding back, but without necessarily holding out. Because why hold out for the unknown (my words, not hers – just my personal analysis of her approach)? In other words, why not enjoy the process of getting to know the person that’s in your life right now, regardless of where it’s meant to lead? Why not take interest in a person simply because they’re a person, whether a relationship with that person will lead you to the altar or not? Sounds quite reasonable, actually, but it’s a completely new thought for me.
Hmmm … I have no personal answers right now; I need to think about this some more. These are just some fresh thoughts for further consideration. In all your ‘getting,’ though, get wisdom – whatever your stance on the issue.