One evening at Bembos, over Argentinean burgers and black coffee, a friend postulated on the sundry failure of relationships. She believes that people are too impatient and immature to actually invest time and energy into something. From professional initiatives to health resolutions to personal choices, they expect instant results. They can’t focus on a bigger vision, so they feel slighted by every little thing that doesn’t go their way. They opt out too quickly. It’s a fact of life that things change with time, but no-one’s willing to give the time.
“They are just so keen to move on”, she said. “It’s sad, really…nothing matters…people just move on.”
Now, given my experiences, I too have wondered about this – whether I opt out of things too quickly or whether I stay stuck in them longer than is healthy.
But the way I see it, the problem is definitely not moving on. If anything, I think that people do not move on. They stay stuck. And that is the problem.
Like, if you have not got attention and love as a child, you may expect it out of every relationship you have. And because that relationship is bearing the cross of unforeseen or unknown expectations, it breaks. There’s so much pressure but you don’t know where that pressure is coming from.
A person, I believe, lives according to a memory legacy map. If one has had a good experience regarding something, he or she will go ahead and repeat the task. If someone has had a bad go at something, he or she will constantly second-guess that option. The person will constantly be looking for evidence of a situation being ‘too good to be true.’
Also, to truly move on, one needs to forgive – every thing, every one. And for me, at least, that is the toughest thing. I may probably go from one experience to another, giving the impression that I am this phenomenally resilient person, but in the back of my mind, I’m always thinking of proving a point to those who slighted me. (Or those who I think did that.)
I spent 3 years winning moot courts to prove an elocution teacher wrong. One time, she’d told me I couldn’t elocute because I lisped. I stopped entering elocution competitions after that. But there was a resurgence of vendetta in law college, and it turned out that I wasn’t half-bad. So, six years later, there were prizes and there were moments of ‘Who’s speaking well now?’ and there was no elocution teacher to respond to the vindication. She had moved on, I hadn’t.
Moving on involves making peace. It entails disassociation from whatever happened. It requires taking responsibility without accepting blame. It means being truly truly being able to give another experience a fair chance.
It requires so much more than simply getting out of one thing and getting into another.
Our problem is that we move on too quickly? I don’t think so. Our problem is that we don’t move on soon enough.