Letters To Myself
Romantic Love

Hey amigo. How’s it going? Things a little rough? I get that.

Let’s see

You’re 22. You’ve been on your own for a few years. You feel like an adult. You made a lot of grown-up decisions and no one stood in your way. No one offered you any advice you couldn’t easily ignore. Way to be your own man!

You dropped out of school. That’s cool. You move around regularly, trying to find that place where your dreams will materialize. It’s all about finding that place. Nothing is really your fault. Things will be better when you find the place; they’ll be perfect.

Last year, you were very much in love, but your life was in constant turmoil. You couldn’t save your relationship. You recognized on some level that the situation was hopeless, that capital “L” Love, despite what every movie, song, and book said, was not enough. It fell apart, then you fell apart. Maybe it happened the other way around. It’s hard for me to tell from 2017.

Holy shit, Love isn’t enough

That fact is shocking and scary to you, harder even than when you let go of the idea of God. You keep fighting for it like you fight to find that special place. It wasn’t love that failed, it was her or you. Love, when it’s perfect, is still the most powerful force in the world. You can do anything if you love it hard enough. And when it’s right, it’s easy. Real love should be effortless.

I love you man, but you’re wrong

Not completely wrong. Love is indestructible, but you aren’t. And two people don’t live inside love, the feel it for each other. It’s what makes them undertake a relationship, which after a honeymoon period, is work. It’s a crazy-constant tug-of-war between that amazing feeling of love and the near infinite requirements of life. You also fall in love as strangers, which is something else entirely. It’s an idea, your idea, and it’s not the life you will live together if you go the distance. That has to happen outside your head.

You’re going to make this mistake again, and that’s fine. Actually, spoiler alert, you’re going to make it like six more times before it even occurs to you to look inward and recognize the things you need in there that you’re projecting on all these other humans, humans who have qualities of their own you’ll be blind to as you superimpose your needs on them.

It’s alright. I forgive you. And hey, they’ll do the same thing to you. Years from now you’ll be an idea to them and the “Matthew” that exists in their ever-evolving memory will bear no resemblance to who you were or are. They loved you as surely as you loved them, but you’re a character now in the story of their life. All is fair. You screwed each other up, probably equally. Everybody is fine now.

So younger self, meet future self

You’ll be happy to know you’re in a loving relationship in the present self. You’re doing pretty well, but there’s still room for improvement. You really suck at holidays and birthdays. Sometimes you go above and beyond, but if you can’t go above and beyond you tend to half-ass it. Come on man. Also, do more things you aren’t initially excited about. The more you work on that precious comfort zone, the harder it will be to step out of it. Scare yourself a little. Embarrass yourself some too. It means a lot. Listen more, and if you don’t hear anything, ask questions. Don’t talk so much about yourself and your feelings. There’s a whole world outside of that crap, and it’s a lot more interesting than you. Be a part of something more often, instead of the whole something.

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