Sometimes all it takes is taking a step back. Love and its counterparts always seem to be getting muddled and messy, and generally harder to decipher up close. You get sucked in. You convince yourself that okay things are amazing and horrible things aren’t so bad. You start to cross lines because they don’t look like lines anymore. Or they do, but you’re already so far gone that you stop believing in consequence.

I’m not blaming you for anything; I’m not saying you or I or anyone is in the wrong for falling hard or fast or recklessly. When you spend all of your time with somebody, it’s easy to forget about the brake pedal. It’s easy to lose track of things like morals or boundaries when life feels so good without them.

It’s so easy to let love ruin you. Trust me, I know.

Only in the last little while have I grown up enough to understand the value of taking a moment to step away and take inventory. Be alone. Miss people. Look at your friends and lovers and ask yourself how everyone is doing. How are you doing? Take a break. Write down the things you want to say but wait to say them. Mull things over. Decide whether or not happy is the same thing as busy. Take a look at your limits and notice who’s pushing them. Are you okay with doing things the wrong way? Will you hate yourself later if you break a rule or two right now? Or will you hate yourself if you don’t? Stand up straight and notice everything around you. Notice what you tend to fixate on, and notice how small it is amidst everything else.

Once you’ve done this, dive back into your life. Go slow or full force, whatever feels right. If you’re anything like me, you’ll still make mistakes, you’ll still cross a few lines. And who knows, maybe they’ll lead you to everything you ever wanted. Or maybe they’ll turn out to be your biggest regrets. But at least you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you paused. You were able to hold off your impulses long enough to consider them, and that’s more than most people can say.


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