Thinking about forever...
I've been doing a lot of that lately, having conversations with coworkers and strangers about what they think forever entails and what they hope to accomplish with it, if there is anything to accomplish from such a fluid idea. And so far, I haven't gotten the most thought provoking answers from anybody, but I have surprised myself with what I used to think, and what I think now.
As a kid, forever was something I knew didn't exist. In the movies, the "forever after" part came when the movie was over, so, forever meant the end to me in the sense of "okay, this is over now." Forever was what I said when things were taking a really really long time. Forever is what I said when asked by my friends how long we would be friends. Forever wasn't a tangible thing, it wasn't an actual thing, it was just a word you said to symbolize a really long time, or until the end.
As I got older, my idea of forever was tainted by bad experiences. My family was supposed to be together, forever. I was supposed to be friends with the people I met in high school forever. I was supposed to go to college and get a degree and a good job that would last me forever. Forever became one of those childish things, in my mind, that I no longer had the time or patience to ponder and believe in, kind of like love (because as that point, I was sure I'd be single forever). It wasn't possible, forever. It was just something people said, like "Congratulations" when a woman becomes pregnant (even though that's what she's essentially designed to do) or "I'm sorry to hear that" when a person gives you some bad news about themselves that you either could really care less about or don't know how to respond to. Forever became a filler word without meaning.
And now...I've worked around to thinking about it again, to believing in the possibility of forever. I could say that it's because I'm with a partner whom I love deeply and can't really see a life without now that I have him. I could say it's because I've been best friends with the same person for almost four years now which, for a military brat and a loner like me, is super impressive. But the truth is, it's me.
I feel like I have changed for the better through understanding myself and what it is I want. I feel as though time has done me the service of providing wisdom and insight that I didn't have before. Forever was a fallacy, a dream made up by Disney and parents who wanted you to believe that "happily ever after" was true. But it can be; it's a distinct possibility that happily forever after does exist. The question becomes, how much work are you going to put in for it?
Are you going to let every step back steal your joy? Are you going to let some ex-douchebag ruin your potential happiness with someone else, let alone yourself? Or are you going to believe that joy is possible? That dreams don't die, they merely change? That forever isn't just a word people say?
That's what I'm working towards, the possibility of finding what my "forever" is. Is it moments where I find myself smiling despite myself? Moments where I'm with the ones I love? Moments where I'm left alone to contemplate nature, and humanity and God? I believe that forever is in those moments, the laughing until I can't breathe with best friend W, the arguing over fictional casting of a comic book movie with best friend Tony, the walking in the rain with Tarzan. Those are pieces of what I want my forever to look like, but it's not promised to me. I have to work to make those moments happen, organically or otherwise. I have to understand that the pursuit of happiness is just as important as the happiness itself. I can't be afraid to find out that my forever isn't what I thought it would be, but that it's exactly what I need it to be.