The One That Got Away

This morning I woke up with a song stuck in my head. I’m not sure why or how this happens, but every once in a while, my first thought of the day isn’t even my own – it’s the words of someone else.

A couple weeks ago, my friend played me the acoustic version of Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” and after all these days, I woke up with this song playing in my head. Even more puzzling was that fact that I couldn’t stop analyzing the lyrics of the song.

The one that got away. It’s a phrase completely coloured with regret. It’s the go-to anecdote for every parent giving their heartbroken teen advice about their first love. We’ve all heard or experienced it before. It’s the one relationship that should’ve been perfect, but wasn’t… Until months or years later, that is. The-One-That-Got-Away is suddenly realized as being the one for you, or rather, the new and improved version of you. We don’t even recognize the importance of that person until quite a bit of personal growth has occurred.

It’s easy to forget that while you’ve been busy evolving and growing as a person, so has The-One-That-Got-Away. They probably have new likes, dislikes, and habits by now. They probably moved on and fell in love with someone else. Maybe they switched careers or friend groups. The-One-That-Got-Away is a whole new person now, just like you. And there’s no guarantee that the people you are now would ever have been able to last in a relationship.

I propose a movement to stop romanticizing The-One-That-Got-Away. It’s a fantasy that makes the past seem better than it actually was. Nostalgia’s a great way to reflect from time to time but regret isn’t. So in an attempt to eliminate a generation that wrinkles with worries of regret, I suggest everyone enjoy the relationships they’re in and consciously remembers that there’s a reason for the ones that have ended. There’s a reason The-One-That-Got-Away, got away. No matter how much it seems like they would be perfect for you now, it’s simply not true.

Rather than resisting the truth, welcome it. You’ll be surprised at how free you feel without dragging around the weight of a past love. Accepting that a relationship is over opens you up to new ones and new experiences. You’ll be less afraid to fail again, knowing that you’ve dealt with the hurt before, and survived it because you allowed yourself to. The choice to yearn for The-One-That-Got-Away is all yours and so is the choice to let them go.

I’ve mentioned this quote before and I’ll mention it again: Trust the timing of your life.

But I seriously need to get this song out of my head.

– S.

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