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“A soulmate is …the mate of your soul!” I once childishly proclaimed to the world at large, sometime during my third year of undergrad. At the time we all laughed about the silliness of the statement and even included it in our ‘stupid shit people say’ board, a sacred, never-to-be-erased public document displayed ever so proudly in the living room of our crappy Hamilton student house. Back then, with term papers, bachelors’ degrees, and grad school applications hanging over our heads, we couldn’t care less about defining such an outdated and loaded term. Our late twenties and early thirties were eons away, and this soulmate business with its very obvious association with marriage was the last thing on our commitment-phobic minds.

I don’t know about the rest of the twenty-somethings out there but I personally struggle with this term today. It doesn’t mean the same things it used to, and that confuses me. Younger Prutha fiercely believed in the chic-flick definition of soulmate, complete with the ‘one destined person for everyone’ detail. Slightly older Prutha believed in it too, but grudgingly, freshly reeling from the sting of recent heartbreak. Slightly older still Prutha laughed at it, because COME ON. How could you keep thinking every new relationship is with a soul mate? The whole concept seemed silly. Also, slightly older still Prutha kind of hated men, so I guess we can exclude her opinion on those grounds anyway. Today’s Prutha decided it would be smarter to ask other twenty-somethings, assuming they’d figured it out way quicker than her. These were some of their responses to ‘What is a Soulmate?’:

“Someone you can sit beside, not exchange any words..just simply hold hands and gaze at nothing..yet walk away thinking you had the most amazing time.”

“Someone who can put up with you for a looooong time.”

“Someone who will stand by your side no matter what.”

“Your soul’s recognition of its counterpoint in another.” (stolen from Wedding Crashers, I realize, but still a GREAT definition)

“Someone you’re connected to beyond logic or reason, have been with in past lives and took care of each other, and someone who is able to get to your core and change you for the better – either through painful or pleasant methods. The bond is eternal and can’t be broken and can be felt even when you aren’t with the person. A bond that stays lifetime after lifetime. Sometimes you’re together and other times you aren’t, but in the end you always help each other through some way or another. Also, they have the capacity to emotionally hurt you more than almost anyone else and help you more than almost anyone else because you implicitly know each other without speaking.”

“People who connect quickly and effortlessly who maintain that connection and understand one another ideally in other lives.”

“If both people are committed and love each other as a couple more than they love themselves individually, then you can turn your mate into a soulmate. I don’t think they’re destined, they’re made by people who work at it.”  

Honestly? These are brilliant responses. And I’m proud to be part of a generation that seems to truly understand the simple logic behind the term. I am a little tired of Hollywood and marketing campaigns (jewelry stores!) making the term interchangeable with spouse or romantic partner. Yes it would be WONDERFUL if the person you end up marrying also happens to be a soul mate, but I truly believe that does not always have to be the case. In fact, many relationships are successful and very happy because the couple has fantastic chemistry and work hard on their relationship, keeping it a happy and healthy one.

I can think of at least five people who I am confident are my ‘soul mates’. I.e. I connect with them without really trying, can go months without talking to them and still pick up where I left off with them, can depend on them to understand my troubles without really saying much to them to explain it… you get the idea. I believe my soul knows theirs from a previous life and that they’re in my life now to help me through obstacles that I may be struggling through. They may be anyone – a brother, a friend, a teacher, a temporary boss, a romantic partner. They may not even be in my life for too long – just long enough to help in some way and teach me something about myself.

I don’t know if I will be lucky enough to you know, ‘end up’ with a dude who’s a soul mate, but I’m not planning to sit around waiting for someone like that to fall into my lap. It’s just not practical. Like I said, I’m sure he (and possibly several more like him) exists, but he may already be with someone else who he has amazing chemistry with and who makes him happy. Why mess with that?

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