Lately since I’ve had some time away from work, I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to reflect upon my life to date. I think back to my younger self and where I expected to be at 24-years-old. When I was a child, I was very involved in theatre, loved the spotlight, and dreamt of being an actress. I was that little girl who would practice her academy award acceptance speech in the mirror while putting on my mother’s lipstick. I think back to myself during college as I carefully planned out the major milestones I saw ahead, largely because they were what was expected of me next: career, marriage, and a family. Did I think that with nearly a quarter-century of life under my belt, I would be single, broke, living in a studio apartment with no where near enough closet space, and in between jobs trying to figure myself out? Wasn’t exactly in my plan.
It’s amazing how our desires and dreams change so drastically during our different phases. I’ve discovered just how hard life truly is. You are going to break down and you are going to feel incredibly alone as certain seasons, comforts, and people come and go. But as each rough patches end, there inevitably comes a lesson learned and a change that is embraced as a result.
For the last two years, I haven’t been aware of it or even wanted to admit it, but I’ve been healing a very broken heart. I got drinks with an older man several weeks ago and as we enjoyed a few cucumber martini’s, he decided to open up the “ex-file.”
“When was the last time that you really were in love?”he asked.
I explained to him my story and didn’t hold anything back. I found myself able to be incredibly honest with this man and myself for the first time in a very long time.
“Wow, he really hurt you…didn’t he? But I can tell that you two really loved each other, just by the way that you talk about him,” he said, with sincere yet sympathetic eyes.
Coming out of my last serious relationship and being thrown not only into the dating world, but the real-world simulateneously forced me to learn to cope with more emotions than I knew I was even capable of feeling. My journey started with looking to fill the void of my ex, with things that I didn’t experience during college: regular trips to the bar and meaningless one-night stands here and there. Through it all, I’ve learned a lot about what I want and don’t want. I’ve also met some amazing women along the way who were walking in the same shoes as me. We have been there to hold each others hand through bad dates, bad jobs, really bad hang overs, and all of life’s disappointments.
Back to the conversation with the older gentleman, prior to discussing the ghosts of our relationships past, he mentioned casually that usually he didn’t date blonds. Being about as blond as you can get, I decided to pry for details as to why he was interested in me.
“There was just something about the way you carried yourself that was different, especially in women your age. There was something endearing in the way you walked, there was something very innocent and natural about it. You seemed so comfortable with yourself and who you were. There was a certain glow about you and because of that, I knew I had to talk to you,” he said.
Granted he may have just been hoping to sleep with me (for the record, he didn’t), something about his comment actually resonated with me. What he was described can be summed up in one word: confidence. I am comfortable and happy with who I am. While I may not have the life I had planned for myself several years ago, I have something better: a healthy, happy relationship with myself. I do not look in the mirror and critique all the things I’d like to change about my body. I do not restrict myself from enjoying desert, or go on excessive shopping trips to feel good about myself. I have learned the importance of doing what really makes me tick and making time for the things I know I need to feel centered and at peace. I make time to run when I feel I need the physical and mental escape, but don’t obligate myself to it daily. I spend hours on the couch vegging out with a movie and chinese food when I know I am getting burnt out. I sleep for 12 hours if I know my body needs it. I call in and take mental health days when my intuition tells me I can’t handle work. And when in my heart I know that someone isn’t right for me, I back away. These are qualities that I did not possess two years ago when I was last in love. If it felt amazing to love someone and be loved in return in my younger, much more insecure state, I can’t imagine the joy I will feel once I experience love again.
Last night, I found myself very drunk and upset that Philly sent me a sketchy text message saying he was “just going home,” after I had invited him out so he could meet my friends. I went to his house for the first time Friday night and met him room mates, so it seemed to be an appropriate next step. Am I even sure that I want there to be a next step? I’m still trying to figure that out. After it was obvious he wasn’t going to meet up with me, I found the next group of attractive single guys at Peso’s to flirt with and of course, to give my phone number to. They were only going to be in Seattle for a week and were graduates of elite Universities from all around the country biking for a cause of some kind that clearly I was too intoxicated to now recall. Leave it to me to find a guy with the most random story and who was the most emotionally unavailable in the entire bar.
Tonight, when he didn’t call to hang out like he said he would…something inside of me snapped a little bit. I have been questioning my commitment issues this weekend, and I realize that trust is an area I am going to struggle with in the next few years. With that said, it also dawned on me that I am truly ready to be with someone again. My best friend is in a relationship where her happiness is just written all over her face. Her boyfriend is affectionate, thoughtful, and has an obvious devotion of being involved in all facets of her life. I want that and it’s refreshing to see someone I love so dearly finally find someone who deserves all that she has to offer.
This constant giddiness and love shared between them got me thinking a lot about my dating life. While I always have entertaining stories to blog about and free meals out on almost any night I want, it is getting very old. I don’t want to have to get all dolled up to see a guy. I don’t want to have to kiss with my mouth closed the next morning because I’m worried about morning breath. I don’t want to feel awkward asking questions about his past because I don’t think we are serious enough yet. I miss that comfortable feeling you share with someone when they love you unconditionally, even on your worst day. I miss staying in bed all morning without a care in the world. I miss cooking meals at home and enjoying a bottle of wine with one another. I miss having inside jokes, laughing uncontrollably, and feeling completely understood by someone else.
Sorry blog world, but 30 dates in 30 days is no longer my priority. From this moment forward, I am going to be even pickier about who I give my time to. I know I deserve it and that in order to grow in the direction that I want, I owe it to myself.
Have a happy and restful Sunday!