Either Way, I’m Jumping In

Aug 1, 2015 by

          On Thursday night, my blind date and I were talking about the importance of doing your own thing while in a relationship. Maintaining interests and passions outside of a relationship keeps your definition of happiness broad. Without them, you’re in danger of defining happiness as a person. When that person leaves, he or she leaves with your happiness, because you let him or her become all of it.

          My date told me he felt that way when his high school girlfriend broke up with him shortly after graduation. He had been with her for much of high school and, laughing as he said this, thought he was going to marry her. When they split, he didn’t know what he was supposed to do without her.

          “That’s when I really got into music,” he said. “That’s when I realized that music was it. That’s what I was supposed to be doing. That’s what I was missing while I was with her.”

          He’s been interested in music since. He’s been more than interested; he loves it. He went to school for audio engineering, and now he’s in a band and produces music for other artists.

          I shared that I found my passion for writing in a similar way. At the time that I began writing, my best friend wasn’t in my life. Because she and I were so close and had been living together since we were teenagers, I felt lost without her. She was my person. I felt like she and I were in life together, because she was my family. Since she was my only friend at that point and I didn’t have her, I was down to no one but my laptop to talk to. As I typed words into sentences, as I found happiness by myself, I realized my friendship with her wasn’t it. It wasn’t everything.

          I talk a lot about how happiness needs to be self-created to be sustainable. I tell stories that reiterate this point to encourage independence. I’m not looking for someone to do everything with. What I want out of a relationship is a partner. I’m looking for someone who is in life with me, but does his own thing while I do my own thing. I want emotional connection and commitment, but not dependency.

          “If he wants to go to China for a bit and I don’t want to go to China, I want him to go to China anyway,” I told my date.

          I want someone independent, because being in life together doesn’t mean being reliant on one another. It means being there for each other, and not always literally. It means he has dreams and I have dreams, and we support each other’s dreams. It means building a relationship, not bolting a lock.

          “It’s like jumping in a pool,” my date analogized. “We can jump in the pool together, and you can hold my hand or not hold my hand. Either way, I’m jumping in.”

Happiness Tip: Don’t place your happiness in someone else’s hands.

 
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