When it comes to love, I don’t believe in promises of forever.
I’m not bitter. I just turned 23, and at my age, I still drift to Neverland from time to time like a child. I just accept the reality of time. At some point, we will all fade away. Humans have yet to devise a way to bypass or expand the space-time fabric.
Given all this, the concept of forever is still a favorite choice for love songs, poetry and romance. It’s cute and cuddly. But when it becomes a promise, it becomes tricky.
Philosophers and Fairy Tales
Some may argue there is eternity after death. I will not debate about religion. Our views will differ with each system of belief. I personally believe there is eternal life in Christ. Yours may be different. But let’s focus on this world where we live and breathe in. Trust pop songs to tell you there is a forever in relationships.
I’ve loved you forever, in lifetimes before, if Justin Timberlake and N’Sync are to believed. I can wait forever, if you say, you’ll be there too, according to Air Supply. Forever’s not enough for me to love you more, says the wide-eyed Sarah Geronimo.
I’m sure you can name more.
When couples get married, they vow to stay together until death — essentially, a promise of forever. I don’t intend to question the honesty of each promise spoken, not even the motive behind each sweet nothing. But how much of these are within an individual’s control?
Most promises of forever sound poetic as though these were dialogues in a fairy tale. But time and again, we’ve heard stories of people who broke these promises. It’s careless to leave important promises to a word so uncertain as forever. We do not realize we are actually creating unrealistic expectations to people who matter to us the most.
Many fail to acknowledge one thing that has been proven constant through the ages: change.
What do we really tell a person when we promise forever? It means an unyielding, unwavering, unending, and continuous act of delivering our promise, towards infinity, disregarding whatever it is that may come our way.
Forever has become a knee-jerk expression used to end any reasonable doubt. It is the easiest assurance one can say to an anxious lover. It’s nothing short of sugarcoating or hiding human limitations.
Instead of promising forever, try to be more specific:
- How difficult is it to tell a person you love that you will love him for as much as you can, for as long as you can?
- What is wrong with telling a friend that he can rely on you through thick and thin, through ups and downs?
- Why not tell a loved one that time and distance will not diminish your love for him or her?
Will all these promises and expressions of love be less truthful or less acceptable if we don’t mention the word forever? It is so convenient to rely on forever to make things come true for us. But it is a time we have yet to reach or experience.
An Excuse to be Complacent
Some people take for granted their loved ones because of the idea of forever. They always think they have time. Like VIP moviegoers, they think they have reserved seats to a blockbuster movie. But eventually they discover they still have to put effort to come to the venue on time, to avail of their reserved seats.
Life does not work that way. Tomorrow will not always come. What we will always have is today. Our youth and vigor are not limitless. They will wear off sooner than expected. Before you know it, your time is up. What did you make of the other days that passed you by as you were waiting for forever?
A Curse and a Cure
Many people have equated the thought of forever to something beautiful. It’s the ultimate goal for most of us. Anyone who does not spend his or her life working for it would appear heartless or jaded.
But it’s not that bad. When you do not rely on forever too much, you realize the good times will not last for long. You learn to enjoy these as they come, to live in each moment. As in the good times, bad times will not haunt you for the rest of your life as well. It’s comforting to know that whatever heartbreak we’re in, whatever horrible circumstance we’ve gotten ourselves into, it will not last forever.
Yes, change is constant. The celebrated author C.S.Lewis nailed it:
Humans are amphibians — half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals, they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for as to be in time means to change. — The Screwtape Letters
The thought of forever can breed fear and hope. It can be the rain on your parade or the rainbow after the storm. It’s a concept that can be useful both to the disenchanted and the starry-eyed. Some people say life is short. For others, like the convict serving his sentence in prison, or the child waiting to open a Christmas gift, a minute may seem like a year.
Do the plans you’ve been postponing for so long. Live with all your might. Love beyond what’s in sight. Before you promise forever, dedicate TODAY.
[Entry 50, The SubSelfie Blog]
About the Author:
Dawnavie Dadis is a Segment Producer for DocuCentral, the special projects arm of ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs. Doing the laundry is her form of mediation. The shower is her territory for musings. She is a story and a story-teller. She previously worked for GMA News as a Segment Producer for News TV Quick Response Team (QRT) with Jiggy Manicad and as a News Producer for the morning newscasts Unang Hirit and Kape’t Balita. Journalism 2012, UP Diliman. Read more of her articles here.