I’m nearly positive that the worst education ever would be one consisting solely of information from the personal experience-rich columns on this page. Just as you wouldn’t take car advice from someone whose barely-running 1985 Honda is “just fine” in its owner’s opinion, it’s probably best not to take some of the information I dish out on relationships seriously when my own haven’t lasted more than a few weeks, including many awkward post-breakup meetings. But it is wise to take my advice on one relationship-related topic: seizing the moment, throwing caution to the wind, biting the bullet and overall risking making a fool out of yourself for the simple possibility that the romantic quandary you’re currently in could just score you “the one” (I know, I know, but it will get less laughable and Dr. Phil McGraw-ish).
This kind of leap of faith becomes much more important around this time of year (the traditional time of graduation), and the stakes are higher than they might have been if you faced an unrequited type of love situation in high school. Upon graduating at age 18, everyone stays in the same city; people get drunk and tearfully say at the lame all-night grad party, “Oh my god, we’re never gong to see each other again!”
A week later they’re still meeting at the same local hangouts, and all go to the same community college a couple months in the future. By that time, you know you still have a chance with the person you liked all through high school, especially if you’re both staring down the barrel at a decade in community college classrooms (or, if you’ve managed to move up in the world a bit, a couple decades at CSUN). It’s the coward’s approach to romance and relationships: due to proximity, the lovestruck party is being given a second chance with whoever they perceive to be Mr. or Ms. Right.
But when the person you’ve been liking since January (or, for the really sad cases, January four years ago) is graduating, and the only words you’ve exchanged with them are of the “thanks for letting me borrow your notes” variety, you need to step up to the plate. (I promise that will be my only tired relationship-as-sports metaphor.)
Think about it: What’s the worst that can happen, really? Best-case scenario, the other person likes you too (possible relationship), or can tolerate you (drunken hookup the night before graduation). Worst-case scenario, they don’t feel the same and you move on with your life and are still able to wake up in mid-June without kicking yourself for not saying something. Sure, it might be a frightening idea; but real life is pretty damn frightening and frustrating as well.
Currently, I like a couple of people; some are staying in Northridge past this semester, some are graduating and moving away for quite some time. Will I take my own advice? We’ll see. Should I? Should you? Of course. Feelings in “adulthood” are harder to explain or work through; there’s more risk involved than there was in high school or even six months ago, “more important” things to focus on.
But isn’t life all about taking a chance like this? Unless you’re an emotionless human being or astonishingly well-adjusted, you’re likely to remember what you didn’t do more vividly a decade from now.
So what are you waiting for?
Lauren Robeson can be reached at email@example.com.