18.

Yesterday, I was remembering this one time after I had broken it off with one of my exes and I saw him a couple of weeks later on Robson Street. He was holding a Starbucks cup that he had told me was full of gin. He smelled like a distillery and he was sipping on this straight-up cheap booze while he was waltzing around on a Sunday morning.

I’ve dated a lot of people. Good people, bad people, people I’d never like to see again, people who were scary or awful or rude. Dating is a hard and stupid game. Dating can be hopeless and hopeful at the same time, or it can be just hopeless. Dating is one of those things that, even as we get older and think we know how to do it, we still don’t. Every situation is different. Every situation is a possibility that will either be right or wrong in the end. Trying to force it to be right isn’t correct. Being over-eager at the prospect of it being right isn’t always correct. And playing it so cool that no one knows or cares if it’s right or wrong isn’t correct either. I enjoyed being single. It was fun for me and I remember that rush of someone new, the funny stories about how it went catastrophically bad afterwards, or the excitement of hearing from them the day after an amazing night.

But at the end of the day something I learned from my dating adventures was this: that kind of fun doesn’t necessarily equate to fulfillment. And when you have fulfillment, you don’t necessarily need to fill Friday nights with that kind of frivolousness anymore. I liked both, genuinely, but at the end of the day, I finally settled down.

I’ve always looked at the song “Miss Ohio” by Gillian Welch as sort of my theme song. It’s about a woman who feels societal and family pressure to settle down but can’t bring herself to stop what she wants to do in lieu of what people expect of her. I have no family pressure to ‘settle down’ luckily, but I’ve always had this sense of society telling me how I should behave by the time I’m in my mid-late twenties. But I think I’ve finally found what it is that makes me the happiest regardless of how society feels about it.

It’s Valentine’s Day, my second one with my boyfriend. I can’t believe we’ve almost been together two whole years. I can’t believe how much has happened since the day we went on our first date up to today. I can’t believe I’ve been with him two years yet I can’t believe we’ve ever been apart. Of course we have our issues and of course being apart most of the time is hard but when it all comes down to it, I couldn’t possibly be without the person I love right here, right now.

Today what makes me happy is the kind of romantic love I finally realized that I can and need to have. I didn’t know I could ‘love’ again until I did, and I’m so happy to have gotten that back after losing and ignoring that for so long.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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