I was in my car the other day, listening to the radio, and this song by Whitney Houston came on.
“And I…I…will always love…youuuu…”
Suddenly, a thought careened into my head, almost blowing me off the road:
Stop waiting, Alex.
Waiting for what, you ask.
To be happy.
Creeping into my subconscious, and slowly building a home there (unbeknownst to me) like a parasite, was this idea: “When I find my person, then I’ll be happy.”
There it was, staring back at me, and I couldn’t deny it. In my semi-depression over not having many close friends in South Florida, of feeling starved for physical intimacy, of hating the reality of having to fit myself into the capitalism juggernaut of success, and of feeling tragically misunderstood in this world, I made up this idea that once I found my life partner, my soul mate, I would be happy.
Even writing that out makes me feel dirty.
I was living a cop-out existence, waiting for someone to make my life great. And I loathe the idea of waiting!
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with wanting or dreaming of an amazing partner. But what I was essentially doing was using my lack of a partner as an excuse for having a lackluster (read: crappy) life. I was abrogating my responsibility—my agency—to create a great life, instead putting it “over there” and out of my control.
So, in that moment, I decided: no more waiting.
Waiting for someone else to (finally) be happy is a load of sh*t. If we want it, we have to create it.
Thanks to Whitney, I woke up in time to see that this thought had infiltrated my OS, my operating system, and was insidiously running and ruining my life. And a subconscious operating system can be a dastardly destructive thing.
In that moment, I made a pledge to myself: I am now responsible for making my life great. My happiness will no longer be contingent on someone else.
Did this automatically give me a great life? Hell, no! But it left me feeling empowered.
Remember that what parasites do is furtively feed on the host, getting nice and plump while the host is left feeling lethargic. That’s what this little bugger of a thought had been doing to me. And once we identify the bug in our OS, we have a responsibility to root it out—to banish it. It’s like that scene from the Matrix: “We think you’ve been bugged.”
The fundamental lie in my belief was that someone else would magically show up and make my life happy, when the truth is that we all need to show up for ourselves. Then, maybe someone will enter our lives.
And if or when they do, we won’t be waiting.
We’ll be living.
Don’t chase love—chase life.