It’s funny the things we tend to romanticize. A lot of folks romanticize danger. Living on the edge. The thrill of hunting something precarious. Finding someone who’s hard to get. Hard to keep.
There’s a rush in the conquest, they want us to believe.
And for a long while, I thought that was where it was at. But that was only until I experienced its flipside: Feeling completely safe with someone.
Understood, accepted. Secure.
And once I had experienced that security, danger and the chase really paled in comparison.
I couldn’t go back to seeing things the same way ever again, once I had known acceptance and stability.
It’s hard to even imagine it before you experience it. We’re led to believe that only people who are perfect deserve safety. That acceptance is only possible if you’re exceptional. If you’re the best… whatever that’s supposed to mean.
We don’t learn that you can be accepted even if you’re imperfect. (This idea would be at odds with the financial aims of all the companies who are trying to sell us things to fix our imperfections, lest we end up ignored, alone, unappreciated.)
And a lot of us certainly aren’t taught how to love someone else in spite of their imperfections. (And sometimes maybe because of them.)
But the possibility is there. The potential within us.
I’ve found solace in the people I can say “do over” to. Who when I mess up, and it’s a genuine accident, I can call a mulligan and we can proceed as though it never happened.
Like all those times I spend minutes and then hours that stretch into days trying to think of a good response to a powerful message someone sends me, and then before I know it, too much time has passed, and now I’m in the position where I need to do an apology tour. For being inconsiderate. Leaving someone on read. Not being there.
And I go to explain, and instead of holding my feet to the fire, they completely understand. Aren’t fussed. They’re like “yeah, do over.”
It’s that kind of grace. That kind of acceptance.
Being able to say “do over” and move on.
And it’s something I try to extend to those I love.
Perhaps I sometimes do it imperfectly. But I try.
Maybe it lacks the frisson, the dramatic tension of a higher-stakes social game. But I prefer a scenario where it makes it easier for us all to “win.”
The people we can say “do over” to are the best. If you have people like that in your life, don’t take them for granted. And don’t abuse their grace.
Books by Page Turner: