Saturday, July 28, 2007

The meaning of "forever"

Taken out of context, I am almost 100% sure everyone who reads this blog will define the word forever pretty much in the same way as Dictionary.com would: "without never ending". I think just about everyone would agree with that definition. Forever would mean sort of "till death do us part". In recent years, I have learned to use this word sparingly, even though I know I love hearing it, particularly in the context of friendships or romantic relationships.

Guilty as charged. I have used it in the past without any degree of measure. The phrase "I love you. I always have, I always will" was frequently uttered by yours truly (and in the same way, I loved hearing it). Yep, I used to be the one who promised to love [XYZ] forever. The key word here being forever. Nevertheless, I never thought about the fact that forever is a bloody long time.

You may ask yourselves "why do you ask yourself this question? why now?" ... well, honestly, this is not something I just started thinking about today. As a matter of fact, my life at the moment is really fulfilled in many ways. No, the thing is that recently, I have become keenly aware that geographical distance, time elapsed and bi-directionality are factors that influence the meaning of forever (whenever used in the context of friends and romance). Can you really love someone forever if that someone is thousands of miles away from you, you haven’t talked to him or her in a very long time and the relationship was pretty much unilateral (where you loved them more then they loved you)? I would doubt it.

In promising someone that you’ll love him/her forever, I would argue that you are implicitly forgetting about the potential challenges that may loom in the horizon, particular circumstances that may separate you from the loved person, etc. The truth is, things change, and we change. And expecting people to love us “forever”, while extremely sweet in theory, is somewhat impractical. Now, the problem is that saying “I love you for the time being” isn’t really that practical either. Would somebody propose an alternative to saying “I love you forever” or “I love you, I always have, I always will” that would work? I’m listening …

PS – Remember to click on the link at the top to sponsor me for Blogathon … I’ve seen a few of my fellow bloggers offer prizes, rewards and goodies… I’ll think of something throughout the day.

3 comments:

Jeff said...

Forever is a long time. I'm more of a fan of time in hours, only 24 hours to Blogathon. I'll be monitoring you, best of luck. :)

Raul said...

Thanks for dropping by, Jeff! Well, the first two posts are published, so here we go... for a good cause, I hope it works out!

jana said...

Well.. this topic caught my attention...
[soundtrack to this comment: Radiohead, How I made my millions]

I completely agree with you that those words are often used without having thought of the promise one makes. I became suspicious of this comment in highschool when people were promising eachtoher to remain friends forever.... i just gave them a skeptical look and kept my thoughts to myself.

that comment is not something i take lightly. I have, to this date, not said it in a relationship context.
I think it's not only important to end up with a person that one loves, but one that evolves in the same general direction as you. And that's hard to gauge (for me).

And now one for those the reincarnation camp: if you say you love someone forever, this promise does not only extend for this life, but all the ones you will choose in the future, and chances are the nature of your interactions will change. i.e. your previous lover might end up as a close friend...instead of your partner...can you still love them? yes, but the love will have be of different character (i'm frustrated with the english version of this word being so ambiguous).
I've encountered circumstances where I thought I knew (really to really know) someone from before.. it's only happened about 3 or 4 times, where my sentiments were shared. and that just amazes me because I wonder of the origins of that. so maybe it's love that continues on.

And in my mind the wisest of people say that love is the only thing that remains (romantic love being only one of many forms of love). Love is the only thing that lives on forever -I find to be a beautiful thought, and find truth in it. Love, and all that it accomplished lives on, as opposed to fame, status and fortune [see Ozymandias, Shelley].
After all, truth is beautiful (and beauty truth, by definition.. if you're to entertain that allusion).

So here's to everlasting love.
JH