The last time I wrote…and yes, I’m cringing guiltily over here because I know it’s been a while..I talked about tests (and drunk men). Things were going oh so swimmingly with Josh and I was cautiously opening myself up to the idea that he might actually stick around for a little while and I might actually let him. This idea was slightly terrifying, I will admit..but he was different from anyone I had ever been with before. Maybe it was time I changed things up a bit right? I remember asking him once why, at the ripe old age of 34, he thought he was still single. It seemed like a fair question since a pretty significant amount of people our age were either in a serious relationship, engaged or married. My college roommate was already on babies #2 and #3 (twins..bless her heart) and my 28-year-old self was feeling vastly out of the loop.
Josh thought about my question for a half a second and then replied. “I guess I don’t want to be in a relationship just to be in a relationship. I’m fine being by myself.” He told me confidently. “I’m actually a really independent person. Sure, I’d like to find the one I’m supposed to be with, but I’m not going to jump into something just because I don’t want to be alone.” I honestly think it was the healthiest answer I have ever gotten to that question. And the thing was, I finally felt like I was in the same place. The place where having another person in your life is a WANT instead of a NEED.
I get this thing sometimes. I like to call it FACEBOOK ENVY. You know, when you are scrolling through your newsfeed and with every sugary sweet post about their adorable new baby, or their fab new house, their stunningly gorgeous new life in Spain and the dream job they just snagged at MTV.. you start to feel this anxiety build. “Holy crap”..you panic in your head..”my life is so lame! I’m a 28-year-old chick living in Richmond, Virginia..I’ve only been to two countries out of the US (and please…Canada when I was like 12…and Mexico last summer..and I was only on the island for all of three glorious hours..do these really count??)..I work as an English teacher in a pretty rough school..rent my house because guess whose savings account was emptied paying off her slimy and irresponsible ex-fiance’s multiple credit card debts?..and I am just starting a NEW relationship with no guarantees that it will be the LAST relationship. So…Who wants to trade lives? Anyone? ANYONE?? BUELLER??”
Yeah yeah, I hear you crickets…that’s what I thought. Sigh. But the thing is, that’s the FACEBOOK ENVY talking. Silly rabbit. That’s not reality. I’m sure there are plenty of people on Facebook who are looking at my “life” and thinking it is pretty freaking awesome. And the thing is, sometimes, it is awesome. Sometimes it’s crappy, but it is also awesome. That green grass is all a matter of perspective.. I once read a piece of literature written by William De Witt Hyde. It was called “The Art of Optimism” and there is a part I will share with you. Maybe it will give you the “yes!” moment it gave me.
“for whether you are a pessimist or an optimist doesn’t depend on whether the world is wholly good or wholly bad, or whether you have a hard lot or an easy one. It depends on what you like, and what you want and what you resolve to be. Perchance you are the most fortunate and happy person among my hearers. There are thousands of people who would be miserable were they situated precisely as you are. They would make themselves miserable because that is their temperament, that is their way of looking at things. And even in your happy and enviable condition, with all your health and wealth, and hosts of friends, and abundance of interests, they would find plenty of stuff to make their misery out of.”
And here’s my point. I have one, I swear. Scrolling down that newsfeed, it is easy to get caught up in the snapshots that are your friends’ lives. It is far, far too easy to believe that somehow your life hasn’t quite caught up to everyone else’s…that you are the tortoise and all of the hares are already at the finish line drinking margaritas with frilly umbrellas sticking out of them. Just remember this: Those snapshots are just that..snap shots..small moments of life..sparkly, shiny moments of life, that people want to share. No one wants to talk about the grimy stuff..the every day stuff. I’m sure there are plenty of people on my FRIENDS list who look at my Facebook life and wish they could trade, just for an hour, or day, or whatever. And when I say “plenty,” I mean probably like ten.
“What I would give to be single again!!”
“Dating must be so fun! Think of all those guys you get to meet!!”
“You live by yourself? Oh my God you are so lucky!!”
“You can go out on a Tuesday? (loud dramatic sigh) I remember going out on Tuesdays.”
So enough swimming in the deep end of the pool, let’s get back to Josh..Good lord this man was so different than me!
I am –
A social butterfly
Adventurous food eater
A collector of things..pretty things, soft things, old things..
I want –
A big family
To travel the world
To believe that the glass is half-full
Has a small circle of close friends
Sticks with what he knows (we’re talkin’ pretty much meat and potatoes here folks)
prefers a minimalist approach to decorating. (He does have a whole table full of family photos…fun fact – Tom Brady is in a frame right behind his sister and nieces…He showed me all of the pictures, pointing out who was who. “Nanny and Papa, Genevieve with Macon and Riley at the beach, Jarrod and Delaney..oh…and Tom.”)
He wants –
A small family (ie. one kid – uhhh…yeah…we might have to talk about that at some point down the road)
To stay close to home ( I mean he is 34 years old without a passport)
To believe that the glass is half-empty
We obviously had enough things in common to make us want to date one another in the first place, but these were pretty serious opposites. I tell you these things because it is easy for me write about the men that I have dated, in a way that puts them into a certain box. Dreamy or Douchey. I don’t always have time to show you (nor have I always seen) the many sides to them. Josh has been pretty dreamy so far, but he also has flaws (thank God) and things about him that made me put on the breaks a little until I figured out if they were deal-breakers or not. While I was a little nervous about the differences, I also know the value of BALANCE. In one of our first conversations I described going to the Hollywood Costume exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (which I am lucky enough to live just down the street from) Josh joked, “See! That’s what I need…someone who will push me out of my comfort zone and make me try new things.” I agreed with him. “And I need someone who will make me slow down…spend a night on the couch. I’m always so GO GO GO!” Could it be that he and I were just what each other needed?