The truth is, you will wake up and realize the old life you had, as you knew it, is gone. And the truth is, you will want it back. You will want it back with all your heart, and it will hurt, because that is what loss feels like.
The truth is, even if you did find a way to go back, things are never going to be exactly as they were because you aren’t exactly the same person anymore. Neither are the people you left behind. There will be parts of you that you recognize, the core of you that makes you who you are, like your love of books, of adventure, of the absurd, and your ability to put things down and walk away for good. There will be parts of you that you will lay to rest, like your need to writhe unabashed under flashing lights with strangers, to stumble home with addled wits and equally addled friends. There will be parts of you that are new and surprising, like your increased capacity to compromise and the true extent of your caring. The truth is, the march of time is inexorable, and the change it brings is inevitable for you, and for everyone else you know.
The truth is, you will get tired. Of each other. Of the sameness. Of the monotony. You won’t always like the same things, and want to do everything together because the truth is, sometimes sharing space – your space – with another human being gets claustrophobic.
The truth is, you will have fights. Big ones. Little ones. Knock-down, drag-out ones, with tears, and screaming, and snot, with broken things and half-heartedly packed suitcases. And the truth is, some days you will wonder why you bother.
The truth is, you will question yourself, and the choices you’ve made, and the things you’ve done to get to where you are today. And the truth is, sometimes you are going to ask yourself if you should’ve gone left instead of right, down, instead of up.
The truth is, without sadness, there is no happiness. Without pain, there is no joy. The push and pull between light and dark exist because one cannot exist without the other. What is contentment without longing? Togetherness without solitude? How can one understand satiation without knowing what it’s like to be hungry?
The truth is, life takes work. Love takes work. Sharing pieces of your life with someone else takes work. And the truth is it’s worth it. It’s worth it when you wake with a start, not knowing where you are, and you turn your head and he’s beside you, sleeping like a baby, and you realize you’re home. It’s worth it when he holds you as you both stand on the balcony, watching the sky change from grey night into orange dawn. It’s worth it when he sees you off as you start your work day, the lingering imprint of his lips fresh on yours. It’s worth it when he offers his tummy to warm your cold feet, worth it when he lets you have the last french fry, worth it when he covers you with a blanket because you’ve fallen asleep on the couch watching Shark Tank.
The truth is, there is no happily ever after. There is only “ever after.” The “happily” is up to you.