THE AGONY OF WAITING
I was in a long-term relationship. He was my childhood sweetheart.It was a typical small-town-childhood-love-story. We were doing just fine until he left to work abroad. That’s when my miseries started. He left me for someone else. It was devastating. I cried my eyes out to sleep every night. It was as if my world has collapsed, while everybody else around me was living their lives. I was young and madly in love. So I chose martyrdom. I chose to wait for him.
I was very determined that i can do it, no matter what. However, it came to a point where i was already exhausted waiting and yet still, i did not know how to let go. Like i was waiting for the right time to stop waiting. It was as if a voice within me kept on cheering me on to wait some more. Knowing when to stop waiting is, for me, the real challenge.
It’s true what they say that patience is a virtue. But it’s also true that too much of everything will kill you! It took me sometime to realize that there is a thin line between patience and foolishness.
Along the way, I learned that the hardest part of waiting is the uncertainty that comes with it. I was waiting while he had all the freedom to try other options. And the poignant fact? I was just one of those options.I was miserable. Everything was uncertain. The moment you decide to wait for someone, you are putting your life on hold for that person. Before you make this huge sacrifice, perhaps you should ask yourself, “Is that person even worth the wait?” If yes, then be patient. More patience won’t kill you. If not, then move on and never look back. There’s more to life than just waiting.
Waiting is easier if you know that a day and time certain will definitely come as planned— like waiting for a conference that you have to attend to. Days and time are specified. Hence, you can make other plans before or after the event. You are still on track, still on schedule.
But what if you were waiting for an uncertain day to come? You do not have even the slightest clue whether the person you are waiting for or the moment you are dreading for will come or happen today or tomorrow or the day after that. Even worse, you are waiting and yet, you are unaware that there’s nothing more to look forward to. The moment you come to know that you have wasted all your time waiting in vain, that’s when the pain and the hatred set in. You will start to despise that person for betraying you. You will lose your self-esteem and zest for living. Then you look for someone to blame, hoping that passing on the blame to someone else will lessen the pain.
The question then is who should I blame? Should I blame him or should I blame myself? Then I go on by asking ,”Did he force me to wait?” or “Is waiting for him a decision that I made for myself ?”
PASSING ON THE BLAME
It is our human nature to pass on the blame to someone else, especially when we are in a lot of trouble. I did that. I blamed him for everything that had happened. I thought it was taking the burden off of my shoulders. But I was wrong. Because the more I blame him, the more I dwell on the pain.
I was bitter and enveloped by grief. I guess that’s the downside of being in a long-term relationship. Lovers who have actually known each other for years will develop a certain bond and familiarity that they will start to dream of their future together. They would start to make plans and silly lists, like tomorrow is certain before their very eyes. We were like that. That’s why it was so hard to move on. I felt like I’ve wasted a part of my life making plans, just to be crushed eventually.
THE TURNING POINT
Time came when I realized that to wait, or not to wait is a choice that only I can make for myself. Nobody can force me to wait if I do not want to, because this is my life and nobody owns me. We make our own choices in life.
People around you will give you all sorts of advice. But the truth is, moving on is something that you have to learn for yourself– at your own phase and time. There will be times when you feel like the pain is never going to end. But it will. Eventually.
But that realization did not dawn on me in an instant. Moving on from a failed relationship, long-term at that, is definitely not a walk in the park! It was heart-wrecking! I spent my days crying myself to sleep; I was disoriented for months. I read countless self-help and inspirational books; I watched sad movies just so I’ll have an excuse for crying; I listened to love songs hoping to find answers to my miserable existence.There was this crazy incident. I was inside a jeepney. Suddenly, “Muling Ibalik”, a Filipino ballad, was playing on the radio. Without any shred of shame, I started to cry. Good thing, I was the only passenger. I’ve been there, the whole ordeal!
When I’m with some friends, it was as if I wasn’t really there. I was a mess, and I knew it. But I didn’t mind, because I was in pain. Until I started to believe that I was already moving on. But I wasn’t really moving forward. I still looked at his pictures before I go to sleep. That is, if I ever sleep at all! My grades declined drastically. I was in total trouble! But I didn’t mind, because I was in pain. I thought the world has stopped because I was miserable. But it didn’t. And when the pain finally numbed me, I was at the losing end.
It took me months, even almost a year, to finally come to my senses. Soon I realized that “Waiting” and “going back” are just chunks of the many choices we make in life. I chose to wait. He chose not to come back. Who should I blame then? Blaming myself wouldn’t do me any good. And so is blaming him. I chose to wait because I thought that was the right thing to do. And whatever his reasons are for not coming back, that’s all up to him. But I couldn’t blame him because he too, had the choice. That, I have to respect no matter how selfish it may seem.
THE LESSON THAT COMES FROM THE PAIN
We all learn the hard way. And sometimes, we only appreciate the sunlight after a long stormy night.
I am no expert when it comes to love. But from that painful experience, I learned that to love is to love myself first. I shouldn’t depend my happiness on somebody else, because he may eventually walk out of my life. People come and go. We’ll never know. My friends and family stood by me during those trying times, but it was I, who ultimately picked up the fragments of my life. It was all up to me. I needed to help myself if I wanted to start anew.
Yes, it’s true, I waited for nothing. But I did not end up a loser after all. Because along the way, I learned to value myself more, to love myself more and to appreciate the people around me, who stood by me through all the pain and glory. I lost one person, but I gained more friends. I lost myself once, but I emerged as someone far better and wiser. I also learned that I can’t have everything in life all at once. Things are given to me at the right time. Because the moment I force my way into life, demanding the things that are not really meant for me, I will end up living my life in misery. I will never have enough in life; I will never experience the happiness that only peace of mind and contentment can bring.
At the end of the day, I also came to realize that life is a battle that we have to fight everyday. However, winning is not all that matters. Sometimes we have to lose, for us to humble ourselves. We may not always win, but it’s enough that we always try to give our best shot. Life is full of unexpected failures and victories. But should we be afraid? I don’t think so, because those are the things that make us more human. Not knowing what tomorrow has in store for us makes us work harder and teaches us to appreciate the present.
I’ve gone a long way since then. Now, I am back in law school, and I’m doing just fine. Looking back, I even wonder what possessed me then to do the silly things I’ve done. All in the name of love. Well, those were the days. I once read somewhere that from our mistakes come some of our life’s greatest lessons. I couldn’t agree more. Whether or not it’s a mistake that I waited, it doesn’t really matter anymore. All I know is that I learned to love myself more. And I couldn’t be happier.
Along the way, we must learn to forgive the people who hurt us. Nobody is perfect! We forgive them, in the same way that we expect to be forgiven by those we have offended. By forgiving others, we gain inner peace and self-respect. There’s a saying that goes: “Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself.”
It’s only after we learn to forgive ourselves that we can truly let go of all the heartaches and bitterness that are keeping us from moving on. We must forgive ourselves for failing to do the things we wish we could have done. The past is past. Agonizing over it will not make it right. It just holds you back from living your life. Life should be about looking forward to another day and not about regretting the past that we cannot change.
Waiting is not at all discouraged. However, there are things and persons worth waiting for and there are those worth giving up. Knowing who,what or when to give up makes all the difference.
People come and go. Losing someone we love will shatter our world. But believe me, the pain won’t last forever. Time will come when you look back and realize that you’ve made it through the pain, and you are ready to fall in love again. Love is a risk– sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. So despite all the heartaches that I’ve been through, I didn’t lose my faith in love. I still believe that the right person for me is out there. And he is definitely worth waiting for.