Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

My "Perfect" Life - part 18


And so I moved away that August, to a new town, a new school, to make new friends.

The next spring I discovered the new school held an annual prom. I remember thinking the term 'prom' sounded dated, unsophisticated. But it was a big deal, particularly for the  graduating class, and anyone - or any couple - could go.

B and I had stayed in touch throughout the year. So I asked my parent's permission and then I invited him to the the Prom. He - and his parents - said yes, he would come. And so he did.

I think the visit lasted 3 days. He must have arrived on Thursday, because I remember he came to school with me on Friday. I felt proud to have him accompany me to class.

And that weekend I fell in love.

It wasn't that my green dress and his brown suit complemented each other. It wasn't that he was taller than anyone else in my class. It wasn't even that the Prom was romantic and a 'perfect' evening, though it was nice. Rather, it was that we sat for hours by the hi fi in the living room, holding hands, listening to Olivia Newton John sing "I honestly love you" and saying very little to each other.

For the first time in my life, I felt peace.

I wouldn't have called it that then. Then I called it love. But now I think what innocent, uncomplicated, mutual first love is, is precisely this: a sense of safety, calm and peace with someone you trust and admire and who you know feels the same about you. It's passionate, sincere and deep, yet without any demands or overpowering urges to deal with.

The love I felt for B was not based on an appreciation for his character. If it were, perhaps the relationship would have been sustained or revived later when we became adults. But I was too young to notice character. Nor was it lust that I felt. Instead, it was somewhere in between - a romantic place where personality and attraction meet without any judgement and with the only expectation being faithfulness.

Sometime that summer I received a letter and B confessed he'd started dating someone else. He'd been faithful for nearly a year and even then, in his letter he asked, "Please don't break up with me." I could hear his heart. I knew he was sincere.

But I heard my heart too, and it was crying out to local boy, a good friend who wanted to be more.

I phoned B to break up with him, rather than to write. He was disappointed and I believe I tried to sound pragmatic rather than unforgiving: "We could not sustain this relationship forever and sooner or later we'd have to stop"... or something like that. Though I never told him about the local boy, he was the real reason for my breaking off with B.

I've seen B twice since then. I know we'd never have been a compatible life match. But I have tremendous respect and fondness for that, my first love, and I wish all my relationships could have been as uncomplicated and sincere as the first.

Now I'm married to a lovely man - completely different from B or anyone else I've ever dated. But I like to think that the first relationship set the bar and it is only with my husband that I have managed to rise above the height of that first measuring stick.

Thank you B for being a part of my history.

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