A guest column in the Dec. 16, 2015 Islands’ Sounder, written by a high school student advocating for easy-access condoms, is still on my mind because it embodied the same message our culture taught me as a kid: instant gratification.
I believe that we are here to help each other, not to shroud our past choices and show our best angles on Facebook. If you are in middle or high school, I speak to you personally.
Growing up, I wanted to save myself for marriage. In 8th grade I could count on one hand how many kids my age had had sex. By 12th grade I could count on one hand how many kids hadn’t.
In college I met someone that was everything I could ever imagine. Assuming we would be together forever, I didn’t wait until we got married. After almost eight years of being inseparable, he wasn’t sure what to do with his life and felt he needed time to figure it out. He went off in search of himself.
Pause here. After loving someone with all you have, you don’t flippantly move on. The other person’s affect on your heart never goes away. In fact, the first boy I ever kissed is still a part of me. I was just 13 but because he was the first person I ever felt incredible chemistry with, I often dream of him even though I don’t consciously think about him in daily life. Hearts are neither casual nor forgetful.
Once I had given myself away, I couldn’t get it back. It was also a lot easier to give myself away again. I got into another relationship and over two years later I realized I was no closer to having a lifetime mate. Ten years of relationships had gone by and all I originally wanted was to have and to hold someone all my life – the same someone.
When I met the man who was to become my husband, living for the now characterized my past. Not his. To top it off I was thousands of dollars in debt from chasing my dream job and he was an accounting professor who personified delayed gratification and preached against debt. I instantly felt his tangible concern that for us to blend our lives would take a big leap of faith. Fortunately he jumped.
Pause again. Once you’re married, you bring your past with you. It can take years – even decades – to navigate assimilating each other’s incongruous expectations and consequences of past decisions into a graceful, devoted union.
Every influence in the media is telling you to go for your whims. Resist the urge to give yourself away. Remember, too, that your dream guy may not want to be the last in a line of guys who got to you before he did. Nor may you want to be the last in a line of girls he had sex with before he met you.
When you’re even later in years, you will still be with you. The you of 25 years from now might wish that the you of today will value foresight and hold onto your innocence as long as possible.