“The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
I read this quote while scrolling through instagram, and it would’ve been the ideal moment to record me doing the mannequin challenge. I stood frozen, staring at my iPhone, and ironically, thinking about the past and about how much these words resonated. We allow memories to shadow our movements, and we also go about our daily lives with an eye to the future. This is the human experience. However, the distinction lies in the extent we, as individuals, focus on the past and the future. Dwelling on the past could be harmful, and allowing our expectations and fears of the future to permeate the present can be equally destructive. Of course, these notions are dependent on the context of the situation. The circumstances are not always dangerous. For example, the past provides opportunity for reflection and growth, while the future gives us hope and inspiration.
I stood still, ruminating over the quote because I knew in my heart, that it defined my first romantic relationship. I reflected on our beginning, when we would profess our affection for each other despite the odds against us. She was healing from her recent break-up of a long-term relationship, while I was simultaneously struggling to trust that she had moved on and was ready to love again. We fought over and over again. We knew the amount of fighting was not normal, especially as a new couple. We cried after intense nights, promising that things would be different, that we were meant to be together and trying to find comfort in saying that we met at a bad time.
She was my first girlfriend. I was stubborn and immature in my understanding of relationships. It took me almost a year to accept that she had an ex, someone she used to love the same way she loves me now. I felt threatened and jealous by her previous relationship, and I allowed those feelings to persist and seep into our most precious and beautiful moments. She loved me unconditionally, while I felt I could only love her under the condition that she had absolutely no feelings for her ex. I thought about her past relationship and about the unwarranted possibility of her ex coming back that I was losing sight of what was right before me, an amazing and gorgeous girl and the chance to truly love and be happy with her.