One night I had a dream that I was walking along the beach.
I came upon an 80-year-old version of myself lounging in a beach chair lazily, with a drink in (my) hand, eyes closed, basking in the warm glow of sun on my skin and listening to the sound of waves crashing to the shore.
Looking around, there was no one else to be found and I approached—hesitant, but curious. I discovered that the weathered lines on my forehead were deeper, the freckles on my skin had turned a tad darker, and my frame was a little frailer and smaller.
I could tell that I had lived a life. There were things that kept my mind occupied and woke me up at night: questions about love, sex and life. I wanted to understand everything that this older part of me knew to unlock the mysteries of the fear and doubt that plagued me. And so a conversation began:
Younger Me: Does true love really exist and did you ever find it?
Older Me: True love? It does exist. But, not in the way we expect. For true love is not found in another person. It comes from within. There are many connections we can have in this life, found in many different people. Some are stronger than others. All of them lead us back to ourselves. I have been lucky to have amazing love—love that has changed me through people that I claim as pivotal points on the line of my life. Love that broke me. Love that awakened me. In the end, the ones that love us through the darkest parts of ourselves are the ones that teach us to love even more.
The more we are able to love ourselves, the more love we can give to others. It is all a circle.
Younger Me: What is the best sex you ever had?
Older Me: The best sex I ever had was the sex I had in each moment. Sex can be mind blowing or mediocre. It can be f*cking or making love. It can be obligatory or transcendent and everything in between. Sex is life—highs and lows and plateaus—it is how you feel and how you are with the person you are having sex with and an extension and connection of the relationship you have with them as well as with yourself.
Younger Me: Who was your greatest lover?
Older Me: The greatest lover I ever had brought me to places in my mind, my heart and my soul that no one else has before and taught me that I am my greatest lover. For we can not fully love another until we have learned how to love ourselves—until we have truly felt our own bodies, given ourselves pleasure, understood and unlocked the mystery of exquisite pleasure that can exist when we learn how to accept and lovingly touch the skin that carries us.
Younger Me: What’s the key to a happy life?
Older Me: The key to a happy life is to…let it be. Most people think that learning to let go is the answer but I have found that we often confuse letting go with giving up when things are too hard. We feel that letting go is the noble thing to do and so we walk away from jobs, families, loves, and passions, believing that we are somehow setting ourselves free.
Sometimes we are trying to influence a situation and we give up when things are not turning out the way that we have directed it to go. By letting it be, we accept what is and can love what is, and learn how to adapt to the things we cannot control by bringing ourselves into alignment with what is right for us, without expecting anything or anyone to become what we expect. Then we can love others exactly where they are—and for who they truly are. The world becomes a more fascinating and curious place with the ability to surprise us with wonder instead of fear.
Younger Me: Do you have any great sex tips or secrets?
Older Me: Sex is like meditation. Let go and feel. You can buy a hundred books on sex. You can take sex workshops and listen to podcasts on how to ignite passion. You can visit a doctor for medical issues if things are not working properly physically or hormonally to bring those things into balance. You can understand consent and boundaries and safe sex practices. But, the secret about sex is to just let go in the moment, and feel.
There is no script and formula or special secret. It is to just connect and be and feel with the other person that you are connecting with, or just with yourself. It is to feel your hearts beat together, glide your skin in a dance, enjoy every sensation and touch and kiss and movement that transports your mind and body from reality to another plane and existence. It is to f*ck hard or make sweet love. It is to cry or laugh or play or collide.
It is to just be and feel whatever the moment allows and to be curious.
Younger Me: What are your regrets?
Older Me: I regret the times I gave up when I should have given in. I regret hurting myself by telling myself lies. I regret hurting those I loved and myself by holding them to unrealistic expectations. I regret the times that I let go, when I should have let be.
Younger Me: What one piece of advice could you give me about sex and love and life?
Older Me: Live each moment by loving as if it will destroy you. Breathe. But above all trust yourself, for only you know what is truth for you.
Author: Stephanie Parry
Image: simpleinsomnia/ Flickr
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren