For the past 9 months, I’ve had the great fortune of experiencing a wealth of love and travel but have had no idea how to translate it onto digital paper without sounding full of myself. And admittedly, unless I’m talking to my friend Sukanya who is really really good at asking specific juicy questions, I’ve been pretty mum about it in real life as well. Because honestly, do people really wanna hear about good things happening to bad people with good hair?[To catch up those of you lame-os who don’t follow me on Instagram: my winter romance transcended the Atlantic. He visited me. I visited him. It’s been great.]
But perhaps more accurately, it makes me a little uneasy to write about love and relationships from the perspective of someone in love and in a relationship. We can chat all night about a string of catastrophic first dates or awkward run-ins with old flames and I’ll be sure to throw in a shout-out to Netflix, Ben and Jerry and my ten cats to be more relatable. For the past five years, this was the tired yet comfortable repertoire that I pulled from.
And then things changed unexpectedly. Now there’s a living, breathing, bratwurst-eating human attached to anything I share, which is such uncharted waters for me. For instance, if I choose to say something like, “My boyfriend pees sitting down,” y’all will immediately know who I’m talking about. BTW, the previous statement is true of almost all Germans, so please, educate yourself.
You know how serial monogamists who go through breakups have to find themselves and must go through the agony of learning how to watch a movie that they’ve always wanted to see or eat at a restaurant they’ve always wanted to try? Side note: This is a great life, so I have no pity for these whiners. Well, it’s the opposite of what I’m going through. After being a chronically single, independent, all-around awesome feminist who now knows how to drive on the turnpike, this whole conscious coupling thing is something I have to get used to, both as a writer and as a girlfriend.
Now I must spend the rest of my dwindling youth learning everything I should’ve learned in Kindergarten, like, if you are mean to someone he may actually get upset and insist on going out for a run to get away from your psychotic ass, or more importantly, if you are setting the table for dinner, you should probably come back with a set of utensils for him too. You would think that as the quintessential middle child I would be a natural at these pleasantries, but you’d be surprised.
There are some people who are really good at these allegedly “important” behaviors, such as “sharing” and “thinking about others”. My friend Annie is one of them. I think everybody should get a chance to date Annie or at least eat dinner with her because she will probably offer you all the food from her plate even if she is starving and you’ve just returned from Golden Corral. True story: one time she had a dream that I was chosen as tribute in the Hunger Games and she volunteered for tribute in place of me. If that is not the most selfless thing you’ve ever heard, stop reading now because I won’t have liars reading my blog.
I’m not saying I am some selfish monster who is incapable of cohabiting with others. If you were freezing I would share my body warmth with you via hugging, as long as you are mildly attractive and/or smell nice. In the hierarchy of good people, I’m probably second tier with all the celebrities who visit sick kids at children’s hospitals but then tweet about it. So actually, I like to think I’m in good company if I’m in the same boat as Taylor Swift, better known as, Angel on Earth.
Of course, there’s so much good that comes with the relationship territory. It’s kind of nice knowing that there’s another person besides my mom who will listen to me detail what I ate for lunch or who reminds me to take an umbrella because the forecast predicts rain. Or to have someone tell me that I’m the funniest person he’s ever met (he’s never actually said this, but it’s basically implied).
I’m entering an exciting yet very stressful point in my life where everything is in constant motion. There’s so much uncertainty about what I want to do, or where I want to go after graduation. I feel like I’m on those moving staircases in Hogwarts; one moment I think I have an idea where I’m going, but the next moment I’m back to where I started. Call me naive, but I’ve always figured I’d have all my chips in order first – get on my ideal career track, move to the right city, find a lofty apartment near a Trader Joe’s – and then find some prince guy who would fit neatly into this carefully crafted picture.
If you told me nine months ago that I would meet someone important enough that I’d be willing to move everything else around to make it work, I would’ve laughed at the romanticism and assured you that I, the most practical straight-edged person I know, would never willingly throw an extra wrench into an already complicated situation. Never would I imagine that I’d be one-half of a partnership trying to end up on the same continent, whichever it may be.
When I try to picture where I see myself five, ten years down the line, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be. The only things that are clear to me are the people in my life. Among all these moving pieces, it’s easy to pick out the constants. And I’m not just talking about the guy, but also my close friends and family who have lifted me, pushed me, dragged me out of my house (because no, Erin, you cannot get Vitamin D from the glare of your computer screen!) for the past twenty-something years.
Singledom usually gets a bad rep as a life of solitude and desperation. But there’s a lot that can be learned from selectivity. Because when a good one does come along, one that you can picture alongside your family and lifelong friends, you realize that with all these people on your side, you’re willing to make things a little more complicated.