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No More What Ifs


“There is freedom waiting for you,

On the breezes of the sky,

And you ask “What if I fall?”

Oh but my darling, What if you fly?”

-Erin Hanson

On our way home on the train, my friend was telling me about a girl he had been talking to for months. They met in Taipei, both were visiting friends and it was a chance meeting.

She was based in Hong Kong and him in Singapore. How he described her really paved the way of our conversation, “She’s wife material man”. I knew immediately she was someone special.

So I asked him, “So why aren’t you guys together?” His response, “No way. What, we’re going to fly back and forth between HK and Singapore? Plus, this is basing it off two meetings?” I told him, “Two meetings and still talking constantly even if it’s just through text and snapchat (Yes, it counts) for the past 6 months is enough.” He just shook his head and said, “We’re just realistic people. You and me.”

My friend and I have moved a lot our whole life, 7 different countries/cities to be exact. We consider ourselves Third Culture Kids (TCK).

Just like any other TCK, we don’t really have sense of a physical home. We’ve learnt to assimilate so well that anywhere we go we can call our home. Ironically, for us TCKs, moving is our comfort zone. To what may seem daunting to others, to us it’s our norm.

With an expiration date looming in every city we move to, this has made it really difficult to commit - to jobs, to dreams, and specifically, relationships.

It is easier for us to pick up and start fresh in a new city with new people and experiences than to truly open up and get close to someone. It is easier to keep people at arm’s length, remain friends than to explore the idea of something more. I’ve said goodbye to a lot of close, amazing friends, each time full of tears, and all I can imagine is how much harder and painful it would be with someone I actually loved.

I’ve convinced myself that if I’m moving away eventually, nothing could work out long term, which means there has to be an end to everything and so I’m protecting myself from potential heartbreak, right?

It has always made sense to me until I heard my friend make the same excuses as I would, then it just sounded wrong, more than that, it was sad. I realised being “realistic” had become an excuse, a safety net, and not a reason.

In times of transition, everything is changing and NOTHING is guaranteed. There is no such thing as realistic. Anything is possible. We just have to decide, either to go for it or remain, as we are, in my case, alone. I think of my friends who are in great relationships, they are not less practical or “realistic” than me, the only difference is that they made a decision.

To try it. To put themselves out there, no matter the circumstance. Because the only thing worse than not having ever felt the feeling of being in love is a life full of “What ifs”.

As I got ready to get off at the next stop, I told my friend, “I don’t want to be realistic anymore. I know it’s easier said than done but I hope one day, soon, when we do find that someone, we take a chance on them.

They’d be super lucky to know people like us.

By Johanne

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