Do you believe only the long-term can be deep and meaningful? Krystal Baugher shares some of her tips on how to start embracing short-term relationships.
“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is sign on as its accomplice.” —Tom Robbins
One of the biggest crushes I ever had was on this free-spirited, dare I say, hippie.
Yeah, he lived in his van for awhile, but he did not smell weird nor did he have long hair or smoke a ridiculous amount of pot. He found joy in life, the big things and the small things. I remember cooking dinner with him once when out of nowhere he exclaimed how great it was that garlic came in individual wrapped packages, like tiny flavor presents (I swear he was not high).
Later, while we were eating our flavor presents, he brought up a novel idea—at least novel in my mind. We had both just gotten out of serious relationships and he suggested the concept of a one-year “romance” contract.
“Imagine having only 365 days to spend with someone you were totally into. It would propel you to make each day count.”
Fuck yes! I thought. It was sort of like a no-strings-attached long/short term relationship. Of course, when I proposed that we actually do it, he just laughed and smiled his beaming white smile, which nearly broke my soul in a million pieces—but that’s a different story.
A few weeks later he escaped to some gorgeous Asian island location and I was left with just his idea. An idea that has never quite escaped me.
When we find romance, why do we have to attach so much attachment to it?
Why does every entanglement with another human have to be so serious?
The thing about our individual lives is that we have the ability to write our own scripts—and within that script we get to write our own love stories.
Sure, there are societal norms—scripts that have already been written that we could follow—but why? Those scripts are boring.
Yes, they give people the ability to easily find belonging and acceptance by following what everyone else does, but that doesn’t mean that the path is a happy one, or even a purposeful one.
Why be afraid of passion? Lust? Possibility?
So, that handsome soon-to-be lawyer is only in town for a summer internship?
So, that sexy spanish man has to fly back home tomorrow?
So, the curvy fierce woman in your yoga class graduates next spring and plans to move to Albania?
Both of you notice the spark, both of you feel a connection, do you walk away because you don’t “see a future,” or do you embrace the moment and let life unfold in its own magical way?
There are very few things that never expire, honey, diamonds, cheeze wiz, as examples; romantic involvements rarely fit within that description.
Why be uptight about the length of time they last?
Meaningful entanglements can last a night, a week, or maybe 50 years. Who’s to say at the beginning how it will end? Why run away at the start just because you can already see the expiration date?
Sure, I never began a romance one-year contract with hippie crush, but I did enjoy the time we spent together and that crush will live on in my heart forever; there’s something rather beautiful about that.
Meeting people, taking risks, enjoying the experience, whatever it brings—that’s something I want to do more.
We often talk about mindfulness, meaningfulness, deep connection, as if it can only happen after a long period of time. Do we really have to run a romance marathon each time we want something profound, something authentic? Can’t we have sprints, races, and jogs too?
Embracing short-term relationships really come down to making your own rules, writing your own story. Of course there is value in something long-term, but we shouldn’t discount the short just because the clock didn’t tick tock along for a specific allotted time period, a length that other people have deemed “worthy” of “meaning.”
There are a million ways to live life, why pick the one everyone else has already picked?[image: via Nan Palmero on flickr]