The title of my blog is The LITMO Life. LITMO, for those of you who may not be regular readers of my blog, means “Live In The Moment Only” and it’s something my dad used to say to me to remind me to get the fuck out of my own head when I was a child. Over the past 8 months, as I’ve been traveling around after quitting my job, I thought I had finally started to learn how to really LITMO. I hiked mountains, and boarded down volcanos, and took surfing lessons, and did some drugs, and had a bunch of sex and generally, felt great about life. I thought I was living in the moment only, all the time.
It turns out, though, that I have no fucking idea how to do the very thing the title of my blog advises us all to do. I have no idea how to live in the moment when it really matters.
You may be wondering how I’ve come to such a definitive conclusion. And I’ll tell you, happily, that like most definitive conclusions in life, this one came from a place I never even expected.
I fell in love. Deeply, wistfully, earth-shattering, soul-bearing, he’s-perfect, must-have-him, I-feel-so-lucky-he-even-exists love.
I loved kissing him. And touching him. And playing with his hair. And looking over at him only to find him already staring at me. I loved the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled. I loved his laugh. I loved that he gleefully chased fun and always remembered how to have it. I loved that he was so passionate about his career. I loved his brain. I loved the way he treated animals. I loved the way he treated humans. I loved every minute I spent with him and I loved the minutes I spent daydreaming about the future minutes I would get to spend with him. I loved everything we did together. I loved that he didn’t seem to want to change me or mold me. I loved that he wanted to understand how I felt about monogamy, instead of judging it. I loved that he didn’t think twice about making plans with me. I loved that he was always honest with me. I loved that he was (is) the kindest, most beautiful soul I’ve ever met in my entire life.
I loved, in a nutshell, every fiber of his being.
And then, I did the most logical thing of all: I bounced.
I, in fact, quite literally drove/walked/ran away from the best man I’ve ever met in my life.
Why? Because I truly have no idea how to live in the moment. I am really good at teaching others to do so. But when it comes to me, I just know how to fuck shit up.
You may be wondering if I pulled the plug because I was worried he would impact my desire to travel. And to be one hundred percent honest and forthcoming, not one part of me was worried about that. I knew he would impact my desire to travel, I knew it the second I saw him walk into the coffee shop where we met for the first time. But I didn’t care. Because, to me, everything is an experience and I built my life the way I have not just so I could travel the world full-time, but also so that I could be free to pursue whatever I wanted at any given moment. Maybe I would have put my travels on hold to be with him for six months and then maybe it would have ended. Maybe he would have come on the road with me for a bit. Maybe I woudn’t move to another country, just to be with him in this one. Who knows? All I did know was that I was absolutely fine if my plans changed for him, because I was ready for that at this point in my life.
But that’s not why I ended it.
I ended it out of sheer, unadulterated cowardice, and since I’m introspective and generally pretty clear about why I’m doing what I’m doing, I can be honest about that fact. I ended it because there was the possibility I would put my heart out there and get it handed back to me, smashed. And I didn’t want to take that risk. I ended it because I know how to LITMO when it comes to doing drugs or having sex or driving to see a friend or quitting my job. But I have lived a long enough life that I don’t know how to LITMO when it matters. I have lived a long enough life to know that happy endings aren’t really a thing. Unless you build your own happy ending alone.
The really fucked up thing about all of this is that as I was doing it, I knew what I was doing. I could see myself unraveling the possibility of any kind of future with him – a future I really wanted with him – just because I wasn’t strong enough to put my heart out there. And I did it anyway.
So, what does that say about me? Not only that I don’t know how to LITMO, but also that I don’t know how to let myself be loved. Sometimes, things happen that change you, for better or for worse. My marriage changed me for worse. My ex-husband spent a pretty good chunk of time convincing me I wasn’t worth it. And that I was unreasonable. And too much headache. And for better or worse, it got in. So now, I have a pretty firm belief in the fact that I can only be adored for short periods of time. The more you get to know me, the less I seem worth it. And miraculously, that’s not a pity party. That’s the honest truth about how I feel about myself. Not that shit doesn’t work out sometimes, just that I am inherently not that loveable. My ex-husband is a pretty big asshole. And a pretty good convincer.
So those are the lessons life has taught me.
And now, I have no idea how to give my heart away to the one man in the entire world that I’m really, really sure deserves it.
Photo: Wiktor Kettel/Flickr