Pining Away

September 15th, 2011

by Elizabeth Spannuth

I took advantage of Borders’ going-out-of-business sale and picked up the book, Us: Americans Talk About Love. It is a compilation of interviews with Americans from all walks of life covering the topics of relationships and love. There were no limits on the ages of the participants or how long that they had been in a relationship. The broad perspectives are a mix of entertaining, horrifying, and inspirational.

I just read one that reminded me of my younger days. A 17-year-old girl that was being interviewed described herself as “the kind of girl that pines.” When I read that line it took me back to not only my teenage years, but also my early 20s. Those years were fraught with the explosive combination of overactive hormones and the angst of unrequited love. Looking back on it with older wiser eyes, the pattern seems so ridiculous. As a teenager, I used to spend hours pining for a love that I could dote upon. How can you pine for something that you haven’t even experienced yet? I’m not sure exactly, but I did it! I think it’s actually the kind of thing that teenage girls specialize in. Then I fell in love with my first boyfriend, but we were separated by distance after about a year. Bingo! This gave something concrete to pine over; something I could hold out for and measure everything else against. This pattern continued on and off for several years, until one day, with the help of a hallucinogenic-induced epiphany, I realized he wasn’t what I wanted any more. I was released! Unfortunately, I just moved on to pining over someone else…

Eventually that pattern broke and when I think of these times now, I laugh. Don’t get me wrong; during that time I was feeling real emotional pain, but it all seems like a waste of energy now. I simply took every interaction far too seriously and too personally. Shaking hands with a man would get my mind going, much less going on an actual date. Would we fall in love? Would I have to work while I was pregnant? What would our babies look like?

When I read this young woman’s story, my heart went out to her; since I had “been there and done that” I knew that she was feeling some pretty raw emotions. But I also wanted to reach out and shake her. Wake-up! Get over it! Don’t take everything so seriously! You are not destined to be with every person that you have a crush on or even every person that you date. And when you look back on it in about 20 years, you will be pretty grateful for that.

Elizabeth Spannuth believes in love as a driving force in our lives. She is continually amazed by the humor at work in the universe and approaches things with a wry witticism. She firmly believes that love takes many forms as she herself has had many different kinds of meaningful, relationships.  She has said “I do” and signed “I don’t” and thanks the powers that be for giving her the grace learn from every experience. She has a varied professional background that includes performing arts training, event planning, sales and marketing planning and execution and serving as a whipping girl in corporate America. She is currently the Love Evangelist at Good Clean Love.

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