When You Love Something Let It Go: What I Learned On Turning Thirty
On recently turning thirty: I felt wholly middle aged. I did not feel young at all, but I knew I could hardly be classified as old either. Being in the middle, for me at least, felt unnerving and I felt adrift in a sea of uncertainty.
He set the coffee down on the night stand in our room and walked out again. I didn’t appreciate the gesture because I really wanted to snatch up the cup and throw it at him. I never would act out like that, but I desperately wanted to. He was leaving, not just the room we had shared for two years, but he was leaving us and I knew it. It seemed more like a cruel taunt than a kind gesture. I wanted to call him names and shake him furiously, but deep down I knew he wasn’t a jerk or a bad guy of any kind. I hadn’t spent two-and-a-half years of my life with a cruel unkind man.
It did seem supremely ridiculous that he was bringing me this hot drink, under the circumstances. Was he taunting me or was he really just trying to be nice? Even the memories of better times were wrapped up in those vanilla lattes. He knew me so well and the things I liked. I didn’t want him to leave the coffee and then leave me.
We were happy once, weren’t we? Asking him would be fruitless now. He wanted to leave and there was nothing I could do about that. I wasn’t about to beg. I didn’t touch the coffee, discovering it still sitting on the night stand several days later, a reminder of how I had failed once again. I was alone at age thirty and I had to take on the future all on my own.
My twenties were a lost time for me. My health had been bad and I was unable to complete any post-secondary education like I always assumed I would. I still felt like a teenager, like I was ten years delayed in so many ways. I approached the end of the decade, spotting a light at the end of the tunnel of lost wanderings. I was battling an internal struggle, the balance between putting everything into a relationship and focusing on myself and what I would do with my life. Sure, being blind from birth adds to all of this. It adds an extra layer of complexity that I thought I was managing. I had found love and acceptance, the two things I feared I would never find. Holding onto them isn’t, I’m discovering, quite as simple.
“About the concert…you should go,” he said, trying to sound practical and generous, like he was perfectly willing to give up both concert tickets we had been looking forward to using for weeks. Another gesture that I didn’t want him to make and of which I wanted to throw back in his face.
“I don’t want to,” I shot back. I wasn’t going to give him that satisfaction. Those were the last words we would speak to each other and then he was gone.
I write and muse on the three topics I most marvel at: birth, love, and death. I wonder how love works at different stages of life. Having been in love twice, both times I thought I knew what I was doing. I put all my focus into the relationship, and when an end came I had no choice but to figure out what it is I wanted. It felt like hiding out, something or someone working to expose me and my hiding spot, so I no longer had anywhere to run.
Ever since becoming an adult I felt like a fraud. I am often confused as being younger than I really am by strangers. I felt trapped between my youth and my adulthood. I was making many adult decisions, but often it was still easier to put the more unwelcome adult things in someone else’s hands. Being in a relationship allowed me to do this.
I can look back on my twenties and see how far I have come, mistakes and all. My thirties loom up ahead of me, for better or for worse; we’ll have to see yet. Again I am by myself and I must take full advantage of that opportunity. It’s only natural that we give up a part of ourselves when entering into a relationship. The trick is finding the balance between that and the pursuit of the goals that will be beneficial to ourselves. I feel like I am at a fork in life’s road, standing at a precipice of life choices. I am not a rash person and I don’t make impetuous decisions. I am surrounded every day by the things that remind me of the broken relationships of my twenties and I am glad of it. It’s just the thing to keep me moving forward, rather than holding me back.
Being a visually impaired woman in a mostly visual world, Kerry Kijewski uses writing to make sense of her surroundings, in life and in love. Kerry is currently working on her first novel, which she wrote during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). She writes memoir, fiction, reviews, and interviews. She loves all things literary and she uses her blog to speak up on the issues and important causes that matter to her.