Love or responsibility? Contribution or burden?

Two hearts remain two – Pantai Tapak Paderi, Bengkulu City

“Now, that I am no longer with my ex husband, I can focus on continuing my studies.”

“Now, that both of my parents have passed away, I can travel wherever I want to.”

“Now, that I am no longer working nine to five, I can pursue my hobbies.”

Sounds familiar? It is VERY familiar to me. Some were – in fact, were actual quotes – clearly spelled out, most were quietly spoken. Even without words, subsequently a persons behaviors didn’t lie.

I am – emphasize this – not against relationships: work, friends, romance, and let alone family. But the idea of relationships that push me from doing, and what I am not aspired of or holding me back from doing what I want to – sometime I need to – has been off my mind long time ago.

A friend who has lost her mother – her father died several years before – seemed to travel much more often than before. She even joked about where to go during Idul Fitri (holiday) is now no longer REQUIRED to visit her parents.

An acquaintance pursuing her long time dream of studying tourism, because she didn’t have the luxury of time to do so, while she was married. Now that she is divorced, she said her daughter will be safe with her parents and that she could continue her dreams of study overseas. Wasn’t her daughter SAFE in her husband back then? I wondered.

Another acquaintance has been enjoying his nomadic lifestyle since he was left his ‘boring’ nine to five jobs. Recently, he told me he hated his ‘virtual’ colleagues who insisted on working by schedule. I giggled but then firmly told him that he was ‘INFLEXIBLE’ as well.

And I looked at myself.

Ten years ago, I was the biggest complainer in my office. I’d told my HR – yeah, I used to hate what I am doing today, hahah – that I wasn’t doing what I signed up for.

Ten years ago, I would travel only when I have money left in my pockets after I paid my – and some other household’s – bills. I used to envy those perpetual backpackers who can spend – and make – money by hopping from one place to another (Digital Nomads).

Until I decided, eight years ago, that my career did not design my life.

Until I decided five years ago, that my relationships – family and romantic – did not direct my life.

Until I decided two years ago, that my social life did not shape my life.

Until I decided a month ago, that the newly relationship I entered into a commitment to grow. It would not become a responsibility, let alone a burden. It would become a positive influence, not a mold my life. It would help me and my partner grow.

I – well, we – also decided that this relationship would not make the two of us become one (except when we are having sex, of course #grin). It would, however, help us to become the better version of ourselves; better than we were yesterday over even last year.

Q: Will I travel less after committing to this relationship?

A: No. In fact, I now have my travel buddy to satiate my wanderlust.

Q: Will I work less now that I spend more time with my partner?

A: Nope, in fact it has always been my dream – and, sssh plan – to work synchronously with my partner.

Q: Will I learn less now that I am with my partner?

A: Absolutely not; in fact, I just enrolled in more studies because he inspired me to embrace what I feared most (finance, to name one hahaha).

Because relationships do not hold back, they liberate.

Relationships do not lock in, they provide safe harbor to set sail and return to refuge.

Relationships do not keep the person the same, they should contribute and help one another to grow.

Or else, why stay in one?

PS: this post was a collaboration between monkey and panda :)))

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