My mother always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be. I could love whomever I pleased. I could live wherever I chose.
I was raised to believe that independence is powerful and deliberately sets you apart from the rest. Yet, I see friends of mine living with significant others far too soon. I witness people relying on their partners to help make every little decision, from the color of their home furnishings, to their internet provider. I feel like people are terrified to go through this life alone, when we all know that we came into this world alone, and we will leave it alone.
Sure, it is comforting to wake in the morning and see someone lying next to you. It can soothe you to sleep knowing that there is someone on the other end of the phone who would do just about anything for you. But, I think it’s important to remember that your decisions are still your own, and shouldn’t be dictated by a person you choose to spend your time with. Our own ability to make choices for the betterment of our own lives is the key to happiness.
My aunt has been stuck in a marriage that has only given her a burden to bare. She has a sadness in her eyes that makes my knees feel weak when I am in her presence. I have always wondered why she didn’t walk away? Is it the fear of being alone? The fear of being forced to be ultimately independent?
You should have the power over your own life to be your own person. If you want to take a vacation from your life on a Saturday and only seek comfort in the words of a great book, do it. If you want to treat yourself to a movie and dinner out, do it. If you have a date with a bottle of wine on a Monday evening, do it, and don’t be ashamed. It is your life. Do with it as you please.
Now, with that said, I understand that for some it is the right time to move-in with someone, or to start that “next chapter” of their lives. But, just be sure that it is a decision for you, and you alone. Not for fear of the person abandoning you because you aren’t ready, or because society has thrust the idea upon you that it is the right time. There is no statistical “right time” or “right way” for anything. The decision is yours. Own it. Don’t let anyone take it away from you.
I’ve come realize that I’m the kind of person who claims to know a lot about life–and love. So I am gong to continue to assume that I know everything about love … here goes.
I don’t understand those who dive head first into a new relationship with no regard for life they had before, particularly the people that were in their life before. Isn’t it amazing that we give up handfuls of friends for the companionship of one person? Endless evenings drinking wine with your best girlfriends, dancing around the living room in nothing but your underwear with your roommates, rollerblading through the streets of Minneapolis in outfits that would make a carnival act look twice, are all thrown away for the assumption that what you have with this person is going to last you a lifetime. My fondest memories are those that I had with my friends. I have a lifetime of memories with the same people. They aren’t my back burner friends, they aren’t my just-in-case friends, they are my forever people.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the warmth of sleeping next to him body and waking up to a kiss. But even despite my wildest fantasies, I cannot predict the future of this, or what it will become. There is no telling that we will both love each other as fiercely as we do now five years from today, or even five months. It’s all a reflection of love’s precariousness.
A friend of mine started dating someone last summer. He’s a good enough guy and they seem happy. But her life is no longer centered around being their for her friends, something she used to claim was the most important thing to her. Her days now are lived out in the solace of her bedroom with only him to hear her words. It’s all just fucking weird, right? She hasn’t known this person for a year, she is 22, and is moving in with him planning out the rest of their lives together. He has lost all the people he used to call his friends, and her friends are quickly dwindling in numbers. It all seems so lonely.
I can only imagine what my home will look like someday. A small, vine-covered cottage, perhaps? Or one of those alarmingly modern boxes, full of windows, somehow resembling the life of a goldfish? I don’t know the material it will be made out of, or the neighborhood it will reside in. But, I know that I want it to be full. Full of all the people in my life that I love, and that have stuck me through it all. I don’t want to walk through that door and see only one person. I want to see a family of people. People who remind me where I came from, how I’ve grown, and give me comfort that they will be with me for all future days. That’s what I want to see on my way home.
For some reason I woke up this morning thinking about all the ways that my life has changed over the past year. A year is such a short time. 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,765 hours and 525,949 minutes. Well, I suppose when I put it like that it feels like an eternity. The point is: some people don’t accomplish much in one year, but for me this past year did just the opposite. I remember writing on New Years before we were graced with 2013 and I was begging the year to bring me something good. I wanted to be able to rid myself of lingering feelings for that unattainable newspaper reporter and I wanted to find pleasure in simply being me. I wanted to become someone or something that I could be proud of.
While my feels for said reporter lasted longer than I would have liked. I finally found peace with it. I no longer resented him for the way that he unknowingly led me on, or the way that he came to me house to cry over his ex girlfriend. I let it go. I let it all go.
I started to forgive myself for mistake that I had made in the past, and began to think of all of those one night stands/rendezvous as moments to learn from and move past rather than dwell on and feel somehow slutty or tainted.
Friendships with unlikely people began to sprout up in every facet of my life. I didn’t feel embarrassed to invite strangers over or to start spending time with co-workers. It didn’t take long for me realize that everyone is looking for a friend or someone to spend time with. If you make a gesture, it will be returned.
Many evenings in 2012 and early into 2013 I spent with tears in my eyes as I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough. It took a beautiful leather bound journal a new fountain pen, and many evenings tirelessly writing to realize that this wasn’t the case. I was looking at it in the wrong way. I was looking at everything in my life as a measure of self worth. Why was it that when a boy told me he wasn’t ready for a relationship I took that to mean there was something wrong with me? Or, when I misinterpreted signals coming from a friend of mine to mean something more, when they didn’t, I spent days blaming myself for being such an idiot. I was always too hard on myself.
Somewhere over the past year I stopped blaming myself and being so self critical. We are human. We make mistakes. There is no sense persecuting ourselves over them.
I don’t really know where I was going with all of this. But, there it is.