Yesterday my Mum got married, and it got me thinking about relationships, romance, and more importantly, the idea of soulmates. It’s an idea that I feel is perpetuated a lot in the media. So many films, books, and T.V. shows revolve around the idea that there is one perfect person out there for everyone. Two halves of a whole, that person the completes you, that gets you better than anyone else. I mean there’s a whole movie genre dedicated to it.
Sometimes, usually in the world of fanfiction, this idea is extended further, and often taken all the way into the extreme. There’s a whole ‘soulmates’ trope that is redone in a multitude of ways. Usually it revolves around the idea that people are born with soulmates and they have some way of identifying them. This can take many forms, identifying tattoos, writing on your skin appearing on theirs, feeling things that they feel, only seeing in black and white until you meet them, to name just a few common ones, but the underlying theme is always the same. That one day you find that one person who is perfect for you, and you’ll know exactly who they are.
However, real life rarely works like that. Relationships are complicated, messy, and very rarely perfect. Relationships take hard work and a lot of effort and it took me a long time to figure this out. I used to think that there was a deadline on that sort of thing, that your life needed to follow a perfect timeline of events. You know the whole, meet someone in your early twenties, get married mid-twenties, start having kids by the time your thirtyish. Now I’ve realised that that’s kind of just a whole lot of bullshit.
It’s not that I’m saying it’s a bad thing if your life does follow that path, if it does and it works for you then that’s absolutely fine. But if it doesn’t work that way? That’s fine too. I feel like society puts a lot of pressure on us to live a certain way, for me trying to meet these deadlines, these goals, these societal expectations, made me ridiculously unhappy. These days I’m trying to spend time working on my own happiness first and foremost. Shaping my life the way I want it to be and doing the things that I want to do. I want to travel, to see the world, to explore new places, to have adventures, and to meet as many new people as possible.
That doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a relationship ever. Would I like to someday meet someone, get married, have kids, then whole nine yards one day? Yeah, it’d be nice. But if that never happens, would my life really be any worse off for it? Honestly probably not. And truthfully, I really want to get to a point where my answer to that question would be definitely not. And I really went off on a tangent there, whoops.
Even in the world of fanfiction, when people actively write about the idea of soulmates, two people that are made for each other, there are often characters written in that hate the very idea. That it removes free will, that it’s just as messy and complicated. What if you meet someone who you love, that you could imagine spending your life with, but they’re not your soulmate? What if you meet your soulmate and you hate everything about them? Some stories even explore the idea that within your lifetime you can have more than one soulmate.
Personally, I don’t believe that there’s one person out there that’s perfect for you. I think that there are people that you meet that may be right for you at the time, that you get on with, that you’re attracted to, that you mesh with. When you meet that person, people often say, “don’t ever change.” But something I learnt recently is that change is a constant, people are always going to change. That’s part of life. I’m not the same person I was 6 years, or even 6 months, ago and overall, I think that’s a good thing. For me, “don’t ever change” really means “don’t ever lose those positive qualities I admire in you.” Forming a relationship? That’s easy enough. Making a relationship last? I reckon that’s the hardest part. Do soulmates exist? Maybe. Personally, I think it’s about finding someone you can be happy with, and can grow with, rather than apart from.