February 18

Becky and Tom

The first time, I remember, was when I was 15 years old.

A certain girl and I had just gone steady a couple of days ago and, not wanting to make a big fuzz among the community, we had tried to keep it low for the time being.

My mom certainly noticed something was going on and was blunt enough to make me uncomfortable asking me what my business with her was.

At first, I tried to deny it but, hey, it was my mom asking so I decided to open up and spill the beans right then and there. My mom listening all the time with that face that most moms have when they are measuring up what you are saying, somewhere between bemused and condescending.

My brand new first official girlfriend was older than I and it seems that was a bit of a problem, given our circumstances and the belief system we grew up in. We were both children of the military and we both knew that we would eventually have to part ways.

My mom, being my mom after all, decided to introduce herself to my not-so-official mother-in-law. “Good afternoon. Did you know that your daughter is my son’s girlfriend? Because I just found out…”

Yikes! My mom always had a knack for saying things in the most matter-of-factly way…

I felt betrayed by her, for not keeping it to herself. I know she had the best intentions, but I still remember the feeling as if it had happened yesterday…

From there, adults started keeping a watchful eye on us, beginning a search and rescue operation if we went amiss for more than a couple of hours. We were underage after all. Me a little more than her, anyway.

After 8 months, the dreaded notice arrived. Her dad was being relocated to another base… First split, first heartbreak, first lesson… We saw each other a couple of times months later but it was never the same again.

I lost track of her a couple of years ago and, judging for what I have found by my own research among friends, it didn’t end well for her. A side of me is quite reluctant to find out more. I prefer to remember her the way I do. Perfect in every way.

October 31

Find Yourself A Lover

Many people have a lover and many others would like to have it.

And there are also those who do not have it, because they do not want it and those who had it and lost it, or decided to lose it.

Mysteriously, these last two groups are usually the ones who come to my office the most to tell me that they are sad or have different symptoms: insomnia, lack of will, pessimism, crying episodes or the most diverse pains.

They say that their lives go by monotonously and without expectations, that they work only to survive and that they do not know how to occupy their free time.

In short, words more, words less, they truly feel hopeless.

Before telling me all this, they have already visited other medical offices in which they received a secure diagnosis: Depression. And the inevitable prescription of the current fashion antidepressant.

I, after listening carefully, tell them that they do not need any antidepressant drugs; what they really need IS A LOVER.

It is amazing to see the expression in their eyes when they receive my verdict.

There are those who think: How can a health professional happily give such an unscientific suggestion!? They make silence out of decency, look at the clock waiting for the end of the consultation and leave.

There are also those who, scandalized, say goodbye right then and there and often never return again.

What is a Lover?

To those who decide to stay, I give them the following definition:

“A Lover is anything that we are passionate about, it is what occupies our thinking before we fall asleep with a smile and that which, at times, does not let us sleep. Our lover is what makes us distracted from the environment, which lets us know that life does have a meaning and a motive.”

A lover may be our partner, if we dare to find him or her there.

Or it may not.

But a lover not always is a person. Sometimes, we can also find it in scientific research, in literature, in music, in politics, in sports, in work when it is vocational, in the need to transcend spiritually, in friendship, in good food, in our studies, or in the obsessive pleasure of a hobby that monopolizes our attention at every free moment we have.

In short, it is “someone” or “something” that disturbs our conscience to the point of drawing a smile at the thought of separating us, even for a moment, from the sad destiny of just enduring life.

To endure is to just last and, deep down, it is the fear of truly living. It is to spy on how others live, it is to wander through doctors’ offices taking our blood pressure at every chance, to take multicolored remedies, to get away from the perks of life, to watch with disappointment each new wrinkle that returns the mirror, it is to worry and take care of the cold, the heat, the humidity, the sun, the rain, and any strong emotions in our lives.

To endure is to postpone the joy of today, using the uncertain and fragile reasoning that maybe we can do it tomorrow.

Please do not insist on just enduring life, get yourself a lover!

Be yourself the lover of someone or something. Be the protagonist of your own life!

Death will come for sure. Death has a good memory and never forgot anyone, after all.

Meanwhile and without hesitation, get yourself a lover!

The tragedy is not dying; the tragedy is not encouraging oneself to live at its fullest.

Psychology discovered a long time ago that, to live happy, active, and satisfied, you need to have a motive.

Today, I call that motive a lover.

You have to become a boyfriend or a girlfriend with life and you have to love it with the passion of those who are genuinely in love.

So, your assignment for today: get yourself a lover!

This article was originally written by Jorge Bucay. Translated from Spanish by Luis Herrera.