There are some ‘rules’ that I don’t like to follow. I do follow and respect laws on the road. I do follow social etiquette, such as – not calling loved ones at late times in the night. I believe in acting appropriately in personal and professional situations. But I don’t agree with treating dates and relationships like a ‘game’ by enforcing rules. I don’t agree with waiting a specific number of days before calling someone after a date. I feel that when you take this kind of approach, you end up taking life too seriously. You end up doing what everyone deems ‘acceptable’, rather than what feels right for your situation. I got engaged to my husband only one month after we met. I’m 26 now and he’s 27 – we’ve been married for almost 6 years and have three children together. If we’d followed the ‘rules’, our relationship would be quite different to what it is today. I believe that sometimes we need to forget the ‘rules’ and do what feels right for us. Sometimes we need to stop taking life so seriously.
Taking on a more ‘fluid’ approach
For most of us, we’ve lost and gained relationships as time has gone on. We’ve discovered who our true friends are, who we no longer have anything in common with, who no longer deserves to be a part of our lives.
But have we ever stopped and thought who might deserve a spot in our lives again?
About two years ago, I had a best friend who I drifted apart from. We became different people and no longer valued the same things. But when we stopped talking, I didn’t just lose her. I lost contact with her partner and her children. I lost the relationship our family had with her family.
Recently, I reconnected with her partner and I thought to myself, “Is this right? Should I not be friends with this person?” Then I realised, this is my life to live. This couple is now separated and my choices aren’t hurting anyone. My children are now able to spend time with their old friends, and my husband and I can see their father again.
This situation helped me gain insight into why taking a more relaxed approach to life is so important.
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Who says we should wait 3 days to call someone, when our first date with them went so well?
Who says that we can’t connect with people in random places like supermarkets and become good friends?
Who says that we should never allow someone back into our lives, just because we said goodbye to them once before?
Not always the right time
Last year, I stopped talking to someone very close to me. We both decided we were better off without each other. At first, having them leave my life was difficult. But then I came to the conclusion it was the right thing for both of us. Given how much we’d been through, it was really hard to let go of this person and the memories that we had together.
But lately, I’ve been contemplating the idea that one day they may become a part of my life again. That maybe too much has happened for us to be friends now. That sometimes people just need time apart to do what’s right for them.
Who says that you can’t reconnect with someone after many years apart?
Life is short
I recently saw some of my older cousins for the first time in 8 years. As a young child, I would visit them and we would bake cookies and lasagne together. I would help my Aunty fold her washing and pull weeds out of their garden for $5. Until I reached high school, they were all a massive part of my life. But life got busy – I spent a lot of time with friends, was busy with my studies, then settled down with my husband and children.
When they finally met my husband and children last weekend, I realised how right it felt to be around them again. That family will always be family – despite the fights, the arguments, the busyness that is life.
And although we can’t take back the time we’ve lost, we can do what we can to appreciate the time that we still have now.
A more fluid approach
Of course it’s important not to rush into dating someone. Of course it’s important to let go of toxic relationships. Of course it’s important not to let our feelings cloud our judgement.
But at the same time, we can’t let ourselves and our lives be bound by ‘rules’. We can’t stop ourselves from living a life that makes us happy, because we fear making someone else unhappy or seeing disapproval in their eyes.
I knew who I wanted to marry at only 17 years old. I said ‘I love you’ even before we got together – he actually said it first. We know that according to conventional standards, our relationship moved incredibly fast.
But life shouldn’t be bound by rules or what others normally experience.
We should always think deeply about the consequences of our actions, but we can’t let society dictate how we live our lives.
Let those ‘rules’ and suggestions guide you as to what you could do, but let your own thoughts and judgement make that final choice.
At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to look at their own reflection in the mirror.
And you are also the one who’s allowed to be proud that you made the ‘right’ choices for YOU.