If only someone was there with a camera to capture the look on my mother’s face when she saw it. It was Christmas, and I was home for the first time since I had left for college in August. Her eyes drew to it like a magnet. It was quite possibly the first thing she saw, or didn’t see.
“Alycia, where’s your purity ring?”
Yes, I came back from college with a left ring finger void of the promise I had left home wearing on it, but contrary to my mother’s, and probably my current reader’s assumptions, I had not committed any act that made me unworthy of wearing the ring, I simply no longer agreed with the words I had nonchalantly been wearing upon my body.
Don’t get me wrong, the idea of purity until marriage is something I find beautiful. It’s a goal I long ago set for myself, and intend to keep. There is nothing about this idea and aspiration that bothers me. I find it to be an incredible virtue. I find it to be a rare gift that I would love to give to someone I adore, and I would be honored to receive as well. The meaning behind the ring carried nothing I could possibly detest, it was just the words.
“True love will wait,” it read…. The problem for me is in the connotation of the word “wait.” I hate the idea of pausing life for anything. So in my mind I am not, never have been, and never will be waiting for anything.
I feel like we way too often fall into this “waiting” mentality. We see something, and we know we want it, but we’re also practical enough to see that it’s not in the agenda for our current phase of life, so we decide to wait on it. The problem is, how much are we missing when we’re waiting?
My life kept moving, pretty rapidly, actually, with or without a guy in it. We underestimate how much life we can live while we’re waiting for out next life to begin.
We can save parts of ourselves. We can keep that book idea in the back of our notebook until we have the education and experience needed to be a great writer. We can keep that red bull in the back of our refrigerator until final exam week. We can keep our plans for a life with someone we love in line of our dreams.
We can just preserve these things.
We can keep the book idea fresh, maybe read over our notes some, and edit our characters as life gives us ideas, but we don’t have to make that book, that won’t be published until the future, the center of our present. We can keep that red bull cool in the refrigerator for the time we’ll need that all nighter, but we still need to study for the quizzes before finals. And yes, we can keep our feminine dreams of love, and marriage, and families, and romance, saved on our secret pinterest boards, our pillow talks with our roommates, and our hopeful thoughts of tomorrow, but we must live today until that comes.
That’s why I’m not waiting. That part of me, represented by that little ring, is saved for a day worthy of it, but until that day comes, I’m going to live. I’m going to keep driving on to wherever this road takes me in the meantime, and I’ll try my hardest to enjoy every long hour of the trip.
The thing is, I’ve never had to stop driving, contrary to my former belief. I’ve never exited this road God has me on. I’ve never had to pull over on the shoulder to wait for anyone to catch up, and I’ve never really had to speed up to catch up with anyone either. I feel like life merges people onto your road, and you merge onto theirs. You just keep driving, and they just keep driving, and eventually your two lanes of traffic increase and all these other cars that happen to be going in your same direction surround you.
And maybe some of them will eventually take a road east while you keep going north, but wasn’t the journey with them fun while it lasted no matter how hard the goodbye was?
And maybe some will just keep going with you, and they’ll stay on your road for many miles, and you’ll build friendships and relationships you’ll value forever.
And maybe some roads will merge again and you’ll find yourself back with people you thought for sure you had lost.
And maybe, just maybe, he’ll merge onto your road one day, and your maps will parallel for a while as you get to know each other, and then you realize that neither of you would ever want to continue the journey without the other, so you plan together, and you take the road that fits into both of your plans.
And you just
Save it, save yourself, but don’t wait on the world while you’re at a place where you can live.
Photograph by: Julia Holladay