I’ve never gone halfway in my life.
Call it insanity, drive, stubbornness, passion, any other word you can think of that describes balls-to-the-wall behavior. It’s evident in how I set a goal and go after it and always achieve it.
Even now, I’m sitting here, thinking of sour cherry balls. I’m talking about the ones that have that hard outer shell, with a gum drop type interior. They only were available to purchase around Valentine’s day, and I’d stock up. I used to buy those, put one in my mouth, and let it dissolve until I could apply the least amount of pressure to let the exterior crack slightly, releasing more of that sour cherry flavor I loved.
I had to have been around eight or nine when I once ate a whole bag. I can remember laying there on my childhood bed, my stomach aching, mouth watering as I fought the urge to throw up, promising over and over to not eat a whole bag again, if I’d stop feeling so sick.
The past two years of my life have brought about more changes than I ever thought possible. That balls-the-the-wall, full-on passionate drive is still present, although it’s been tempered some what due to my completing a fast track (what else kind of program would I enroll in?) yoga instructor certification program in November of 2017.
Yet one thing remained in all that.
About six weeks ago, a dear friend of mine who moved to another state called me and asked if I minded being his emergency contact on the Snug app. Snug is an app that allows you to set a time to check in; if you do not check in, the app contacts those listed as your emergency contacts. I agreed, and I had actually forgotten about that conversation.
Until this morning.
I received a text from the app, alerting me my friend had not checked in. I called him, and sent a screenshot of the text from the Snug app to my friend telling him I hoped I had nothing to be concerned about. Half an hour later, with no response, I called his local police department and explained the situation. Half an hour after that, I was called back by a police officer who told me that the house was locked up and his car was not in his driveway, and as hard as it might be, remain calm and wait forty-eight hours, then I could file a missing person’s report.
An hour after that, I received an email from my friend, letting me know he was fine, but had left his phone at home. Two and a half hours after I received the text from Snug, my friend called and apologized for worrying me. When I told him I had actually called the police, he responded with, “Good to know you’re on top of things,” amusement in his voice. To which I responded, “I can hear you smiling through your voice. Stop it,” but I wasn’t actually angry. I was relieved, but still in the post adrenaline panic mode that happens when there’s a near miss.
I might have slowed down my work hours, learned moderation in everything from what I eat to what I drink to how I spend my energy in these last two years. Yet, I can’t go halfway when it comes to a person I love. Especially when it’s a person who has been there for me and supported me in a way very few people have in my life.
And I’m not even sorry.
I read somewhere once that when you start dating someone, the reality is that you’re either going to break up, or one of you is going to die. I think what the person who stated that meant is that it’s all going to end, might as well love as hard and as true as you can while you have that person in your life.
The same is applicable to our platonic relationships: someone’s going to leave, or someone’s going to die. End of story. Even further: one day we all will die. Everything we have is temporary, despite us wanting to believe otherwise. The clothing we have, the roof over our heads, our very bodies: they’re all on loan to us. One day, we have to give them back. The people in our lives, they’re only temporary. Sooner or later, they’ll be gone.
And for that reason, I love hard. I love fully. I love deeply, unconditionally and without reservation. I say “I love you” as often as I can, because we are only one moment, one phone call away from losing that which we love.
In The Return, Part 3 last year, I wrote about how despite the pain caused by over stressing my knee on a 14 mile hike, the pain was worth the experience, as well as how given the chance to miss the heartbreak of losing my dearest friend Marcus earlier that year, it was worth the pain his death caused to have experienced twenty amazing years of friendship.
Some things in this life, we need to moderate: how much we drink, how much we eat, and (yes, believe it or not) how much we exercise. Love? Love, do that as hard as you can, as fully as you can.
Today, while waiting to hear from my friend, my mind went back to the last time we had spoken on the phone. My mind scanned over the conversation, and I remembered that I had, as I always did, ended the conversation with, “Hey, I love you….”
There will come a day, sooner, rather than later, when a loved one of mine won’t get back in contact with me, either because they have chosen to leave my life, or they have passed away. And it will hurt. But when that day comes, I’ll know I said what needed to be say, that I loved without reservation. That I’ll be Snug in the knowledge I went balls-to-the-wall, hard core, passionate and fully in my love for that person.
And that is the only way I know to be.