to make do?
I’m sitting here on a particular Sunday morning, enjoying a slice of pear tart that just came out of the oven, watching the cloudy sky outside from the comfort of my home desk. Sometimes random memories would gauge me in the early morning hours, and today it is one that I had a couple of weeks back at the office with a male colleague.
This male colleague, I must first press, is a catch. He was one of those nice guys with an even nicer smile, and he was seeing a lovely girl whom he knew way back when in college but has just started dating. In short, he was the sort of guy who could’ve just ventured out there and become a hot commodity. But instead, we had a conversation about the idea of ‘settling’ or to ‘make do’, which I strongly suspected was based on his current situation.
This subject is one that have left me stirred countless times. How do you know if the one is The One, and at which point do you settle? In fact, this subject bothered me so much that I went to the extent of interviewing all of my happily (and unhappily) married girlfriends, in an attempt to better understand this idea. Of course, whenever you’re in love you will tend to think that the person is The One, until he isn’t. Or perhaps it is just a mediocre relationship where everything is stable but not necessarily mind-blowing – is this the part where we settle?
What I ended up with was a string of answers, which to be frank didn’t help me much. I have a girlfriend who swore it was love at first sight for her, seeing her now-husband from across the room and nothing was ever the same again (we’re jealous of her). There is also one girlfriend who got married after six years of courtship, anchoring on the fact that they’ve been together for so long and would probably never find someone else better. And one other girlfriend was an expression of true bravery. After years of searching and not finding what she was looking for, she settled with a decent man that she was set up with by her relatives. No butterflies, no jitters, nothing. But now it’s a year later and I swear she has never seemed happier.
Like this male colleague of mine would eventually emphasise, are the butterflies-in-the-stomach overrated? Perhaps it is not necessarily what everyone would experience when finding The One. Perhaps instead of focusing on the euphoria of love, one should find goodness wherever they can, and accept that love isn’t necessarily manifested in the feelings of your feet not touching the ground, the excitement to the point of sleeplessness, nor the jitters whenever you see each other’s faces.
This male colleague seems to have a fair point. I thought about this for a while. It is true that some people find happiness through ‘settling’, and by that I do not at all mean making do with someone who is below your sub-standards. Rather, there are people who chose to proceed with having faith that good is enough, and find peace in life liking each other and being nice to each other. Some people are even lucky enough as to find that through this, they eventually fall in love and the rest are fireworks.
That’s really great. Really. But this morning, as I sat here through my half eaten dessert, I recall the times I fell in love, and then the times where I tried to somehow force myself to fancy somebody, out of the pressures of people, or even out of the pressures I gave myself as a result of self-assessing that I was probably being choosy. And what I recalled was this; those butterflies-in-the-stomach? That can’t-live-without-you kind of love? Those moments where everything dissolves around you except for yourself and the one you’re fond of? I live for that kind of stuff! It is a beautiful feeling, the sort that leaves me feeling as though all those years that weighed me down with age doesn’t seem to matter anymore. In fact, I couldn’t imagine anything else for myself except for that kind of stuff.
So by the end of this little research I did, I came up with two conclusions. First, companionship comes in a variety of ways. One is not better than the other, whether it’s voluntary love or something that evolves as a result of trial. Second, if one has a clear conscience of which route he/she is to take, so be it. Whether it is to settle or to keep finding those butterflies, one should be brave to get out there and find whatever it is that one is searching for. Even if it can sometimes seem a bit bleak, like this morning sky I’m looking at. But as always, grey skies never last forever.