college, opinion, writing

Of lists and principles

Random obvious fact: loneliness can be a bitch to deal with. Whether you already have a significant other to call your own or not, it doesn’t exclude you from the hordes of hopefuls waiting for that one bigoomph that will catapult one’s life from the pits of depression into sheer relationship bliss. We all have lists and we all want a perfect happy ending.

A certain hopeless romantic recently let me in on his secret when it comes to “finding the one”. He fondly calls it the “pie principle”: for a person to make it to the next level, she (in his case) has to satisfy the physical, intellectual, and emotional requirements set by the one in search of The One. Back in high school over a decade ago, my best friend and I made The List. It had specific qualities and attributes we wanted in a boyfriend. It had everything—from “wide reader” and “good conversationalist in English” to “athletic” and “incredible sense of humor”. She ended up with a gambling drummer ex boyfriend with the emotional mood swings of a PMS-ing teenager. I, on the other hand, had to go through a bi-curious fella and an over-achieving relationship doofus before I got lucky with an okay mate nine years my senior. What’s up with that? Is setting relationship goals considered idealistic? Can’t we enjoy the entire pie?

We all want a perfect happy ending, and that includes the perfect person to share it with—the complete package. So what does a person usually do until that scenario presents itself? Go on countless dates. Flirt like there’s no tomorrow. Collect and select. Whatever it is, people do it armed with the hope that someday, all that’s going to end with a Kodak moment and a surefire answer to the ultimate dating question: is this it?

Good sense and high hopes tell us that love, companionship and joy are for everyone. However, we each are wired differently—we see from many points-of-view and choose to take different paths. Some see the logical mathematical equation: you plus me equals we, provided that you plus your goals is equal to me plus mine. Some are driven by either that incessant butterfly fluttering in their stomachs or that nagging voice inside their heads. Whatever the motivation, the destination is still the same—a happy life shared with someone.

We are complicated beings. Most of us have strong tendencies to want what we don’t or can’t have. We send out mixed signals and we choose to read between the lines. One of the reasons why so many people have a hard time looking for love, happiness and everything else in between is because of high expectations—they ruin relationships, especially the ones that haven’t even begun yet. Instead of inviting people in, they build walls. They delay the pursuit of happiness and prolong the excruciating pain of loneliness.

No one is completely alone, though. I’d like to think of life as one humongous jigsaw puzzle, and the world populated with literally billions of people waiting to be the put in the right place. If you meet someone who doesn’t quite cut it according to your standards, don’t fret and immediately close the door on that opportunity. Pie principles and lists of qualification don’t determine a person’s worth to be part of your life. Give it a shot and be the one who brings out the hidden qualities in that person that will ultimately make the pie whole, the complete package.

Lists honestly don’t matter in the end—eventually, we find someone who’s the only exception.

(Published in The Benildean, the official college paper of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde)