I remember sitting under a blanket of summer stars questioning whether or not I wanted to hold his hand for the rest of my life. He had bought the engagement ring; we had been together and best friends for over four years. I was comfortable and I was in love. Even though I was happy, I was not complete.
Romantic relationships, I have come to learn, are double edged swords. They provide you with the emotional and physical fulfillment that singlehood cannot match; however, they have the potential to blind us from making rational decisions about our future.
I was twenty years old at the time, and everyone in my life was rooting for me to marry my boyfriend of four years because we were in love, and it just seemed like the next logical step.
But what about adventure? What about following my dreams to travel the world, become fluent in Arabic and live in Iraq? What about my career goals? Can our passions coincide for the future? Every time I seriously adopted the idea of marrying my boyfriend at the time, these questions popped up in my head.
Summer was ending and a new season of life was about to begin. I kept experiencing a feeling that was like watching storm clouds roll in over a mountain. After a brief heart to heart with my best friend, I knew what I had to do.
Sitting before me was the love of my life, the closest person to me in the entire world. I knew him like the back of my hand. We fit together like a puzzle and I could not be more comfortable with another human being.
I broke up with him. It took all my courage, but I knew it had to be done. My friends and family were outright shocked, and frankly, I was surprised I had the guts to go through with it too.
A part of growing up includes understanding that certain people are meant to be in your life for certain seasons. It takes discernment, self-control and courage to walk away from what is comfortable and run towards your dreams.
I can say with confidence that breaking up with my boyfriend at the time was one of the best and most difficult decisions in my life thus far. It felt like ripping a part of my body off. We had grown so close for so long that I could not imagine life without him. Or could I?
I have learned that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought possible. I am not bound by expectation or fear. I am not a complete woman because of any romantic relationship. I stand on my own experience and wisdom.
I choose to share this integral part of my life with you through story because I want to challenge your sense of comfort.
For many at CSU, a new season of life is about to begin with graduation, moving, summer and internships. Regardless of how this past semester went, you have the ability to make a change in your life. I am not saying to go break up with your significant other right away. I am saying, however, that if you have a passion for something in your life make sure you chase it.
It is two years after the fact, and I am living my dream because I stepped out with courage. I am leaving to study abroad in Morocco and Jordan after this semester. I acquired a job to teach and live in Iraq for a year after graduation. I have been lost on the streets of Istanbul, Rome and Zuric yet found myself in such adventure. I am well on my way to becoming fluent in Arabic. I am joyful and I am single.
If it is meant to be, your passions will not be trumped by what makes you comfortable.
Editorial Assistant Brooke Lake is a senior international studies major. Her column appears every Monday in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.