Relationships have never been easier to come by. We live in the age of Tinder. One right swipe and you have a date for the evening. Didn't work out? One more right swipe and you can land your second date by nightfall. It's that easy, these days. But is that what we're really looking for?
For all the casual dating and hook ups we might prescribe to, deep down we all know we're secretly looking for 'the one'. The one we can hold hands with and go for long walks with, the one we want to grow old with, the one we want to spend the rest of our lives with...
Ted Mosby and his group of friends entered our lives over a decade ago and frankly, we loved every bit of it. The show title, How I Met Your Mother, suggested that we were in for a sappy love story, but the show turned out to be so much more than that.
The five friends had their own character traits but it was the story's central character, Ted Mosby (played by Josh Radnor), who most of us identified with.
Marshall and Lily were the mushy couple; the mush got a wee bit annoying sometimes but we all knew that they were meant to be together. They gave us relationship goals. Barney Stinson and his womanising ways were far from reality and Robin, the love of Ted's life, was the coolest girl we knew of. These characters were fun to watch on television but we knew we were nothing like them. They existed in a story that provided an escape from reality.
But the guy we identified with was Ted Mosby. His cluelessness and confused nature was something that rang a bell deep down. We've all been there. Most of us still are.
When his best friend got engaged, Ted decided it was high time he put his life in order. We all know that feeling, right?
After years of being the third wheel, Ted embarked on his quest of finding the one and voilà, he met Robin! He was too hasty in finding the one and settling down, so much so that he confessed his love for her all too soon. And that freaked her out.
In fact, Ted was hasty in all his relationships and that's the main reason most of them didn't work out. But it wasn't for want of trying. All Ted wanted was to find the one, settle down and start a new life together.
After a few failed relationships, I realise that's what happens in your 20s. You don't want to give up easily. With people around you getting hitched and making babies and instagramming the shit out of all kinds of couple photos, you start wanting the same things. And after a few devastating break ups, finding the one starts seeming like mission impossible. The search intensifies but patience starts running out and panic sets in.
What if we never find the one? Am I meant to spend the rest of my life alone? At least, in Ted's case, you knew all along that he eventually does find someone. But what if you don't? After all, unlike Ted's life, yours isn't scripted.
Ted never stopped believing, not even after Stella left him at the altar.
Remember when he wooed Stella with that two-minute date? It was one of the most romantic things we had ever seen. Which is why it was all the more heartbreaking to see Ted get stood up at the altar. But he didn't lose faith. Instead, he bought a house for his future family and believed that some day he would have a family of his own, something he had always wanted.
And that taught us to hold on no matter what and to keep on believing.
It was a case of bad timing and deep down, Ted knew that too. The emotional investment in a relationship sometimes takes us so far away from reality that even if we know there's no future, we still cheat ourselves into making it happen and that's what Ted did in Stella's case. He saw his friends having successful relationships and that made it all the more harder for him to be alone.
If you're single and all your friends are in steady relationships, you totally know what that feels like. Even though you know there's nothing wrong with being single, the idea of having a partner pushes us into relationships that we know are not right for us.
And in his heart of hearts, he always longed for Robin. She was the one he loved more than anyone else and the thought of her marrying Barney was heartbreaking to say the least. After Robin found out she couldn't have kids, Ted held her hand and told her he still loved her. He understood her in ways Barney never couldn't. Remember those Robin 101 classes?
That is a lesson that sometimes what we want the most is not what we eventually end up with. And that's perfectly alright. Not everything falls into place. And life still goes on.
But what made all the difference was that when he was done moping and feeling bad about how destiny seems to fuck him over time and again, he got right back up and dived right back in. He knew that what had happened was not in his control but he had a say in what was going to happen.
He never stopped trying and that's how he met Tracy, The Mother!
The roller coaster relationships often make us lose sight of what we're looking for. The focus changes so swiftly that it becomes harder to understand what you want after a while. But the moment you put your guard down, life is ready with all the surprises it can offer. Watching Ted finally have the life he always longed for, gave us immense joy and hope that no matter what happens, life will sort itself out. All we have to do is keep trying.
Ted Mosby was the guy we identified with because his struggles felt like our own.
He got dumped, cheated on and got his heart broken over and over but that did not make him a loser. In fact, it made him stronger and turned him into the guy who could face all the odds. Ted Mosby definitely wasn't the funniest or the coolest guy in his group of friends and that's what connected us to him. He was one of us, the guy who was looking for love and was never shy about it.
Ted Mosby was the guy who truly believed. And it's this belief that helped him find The One.