Young love is never worth ditching your goals and dreams

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN


Anthony Zapata, Staff Writer

Every young person has been head over heels for someone at least once, but that doesn’t mean you should drop everything to try to be with that person.

I would know. I flew to New York at 20 years old with my hard-earned savings to visit a girl at college I thought would be my future.

At the time, putting aside all my priorities to pursue a potential relationship seemed like the rational thing to do. After all, the relationship itself was the priority. As a result, I left behind my life in California, and dropped everything to move to New York when instead I should have focused on going to school and my career.

As I stood on a random block of SOHO, New York, I asked myself how I had gotten myself into such a tangled mess.

It was the middle of the night when the plane landed at JFK airport. I received a text from the girl asking if I could find my way to her apartment with the directions she provided. Hesitantly, I said yes and headed to the subway with my over-packed bag.

After an hour long ride and walking around for about fifteen minutes, I finally found the right building and got to the elevator. A surge of excitement and emotions raced through me as I walked down the narrow hallway to the apartment door and I finally knocked.

She opened the door and I saw the same eyes I remembered saying goodbye to over the summer. Except there was something different that I couldn’t wrap my head around.

She received me with open arms, but the hug was anything less than real. I thought to myself, “Okay, it’s a little awkward just because you haven’t seen her in a while.” We had a short conversation and because it was almost one in the morning, she headed to bed, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling something was off.

The first two days were definitely the highlight of the trip. Everywhere I walked my head was crooked up looking at the dizzyingly tall buildings. I went to NYC Comic-Con, ate the local pizza, and rode the subway everywhere. You know, the works.

The third day while riding the subway through Chinatown with my love interest and her friend, another red flag appeared. They kept trying to convince me to go out and walk around the city alone. Against this idea, I said that I was fine going back with them, but they persisted. I caved and walked out into the October heat.

Aimlessly wandering from Chinatown to SOHO, the feeling in my gut continued to fester. I sent her a text.

“Hey I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel like you’ve been acting really strange, and… I feel like there’s a weird vibe in your apartment so I think I might just find a hostel or Airbnb to stay in,” I wrote.  

Her response made my stomach churn.

“Honestly you’re the one that’s been acting weird and you can do whatever you need,” she wrote. “I didn’t want to tell you but I can’t hold it in much longer, the week before you came I got a boyfriend… I didn’t want to ruin our friendship.”

The last two days in New York were spent going to the few tourist attractions that I could afford. I decided to send her one last text explaining how I felt about the situation and tried to clear the air, but the message was left on “read.”

A wise man once told me that love is like holding a piece of paper right in front of your face. You lose sight of everything. That day I realized that I did not heed the advice, and that oftentimes blooming relationships aren’t meant to last.

If down the road this girl is meant to be in my life, then so be it. But at 21 focusing on my education and career is what matters the most, not chasing a girl. Alas, I believe my lesson is universal: don’t overpack, take in the views, and don’t drop everything for someone losing sight of yourself and what’s important.