Hi Daria! Thank you for this.
A few quick balls to toss into the air. One is that the right person — the timeless person, as you put it — is truly rare. Like, RARE rare. Not surprising (at all!) that you haven’t encountered him or her.
You may not have to. I have a friend who at age 29 joined the crew of a restored clipper ship and spent nearly two years circumnavigating the globe, with all the breathtaking perils and glories of being alone at sea with only her wits, her hands, and the trust of her mates to sustain her. Before she departed, she expected upon her return to marry Mr. Right, have two children, and live happily ever after.
But she returned a changed woman. Marriage was off the table. “The world,” she said (and I paraphrase), “had become my family. My mates had become my family, lifelong friends, my heart and soul.” That was 20 years ago, and today at 49 she’s happily single, never married or even romantically attached, at least that I’m aware of, and, I think I’d say, in love with everyone.
You mention being “cracked open.” The book Getting the Love You Want, which was for me an excellent but somewhat difficult read, argues that no matter how deeply in love one falls, the just-right person doesn’t truly exist, that at some point you look at your spouse and think, “I’ve married the wrong person.” It’s at that point, the book argues, that your real life actually begins, that love becomes less about feeling and more about work and risk and sacrifice.
In my experience, true inner transformation — that finally getting away from yourself — is found on the path of descent, downward, not upward — through vulnerability and failure and loss. This is opposite what most of us seek, which is control, power, success. But it is a great teacher, if you surrender to it. I’ve been married to the same girl for 43 years, and I can tell you that our natural cracks, differences, and disagreements have defeated both of us. Like, fail. Dead. Sobs. Despair. They have also, at the same time and paradoxically, changed us, transformed us, raised us into new life, different from when we began. Our young selves that we couldn’t get away from have died, and new, free selves have been born in their place, better than we could ever have imagined or manufactured on our own.
Thanks again for writing this. Life is unimaginably big. There is much ahead of you. All the best.