To my future husband…

Dear Future Husband,

I have a lot to say to you. I broke up with a great guy for you. Literally days before Valentine’s Day, I realized that our relationship was not going down the path I want for my life and I decided to end things with him, because I wanted to hold out for the thing that’s perfect for me (and, hopefully, for you, too). I have high expectations for you. I have high expectations for myself, too. I work harder than I’ve ever worked in my life right now, in college, just so that I (and you, and our future children, hopefully) will have everything we need, and a lot of what we want from life.

I don’t have any crazy expectations, I just have a lot of “wish list” traits for the man who will become my husband someday. I want someone who is connected to God, and helps me to grow in my relationship with Him. I want that to be a central part of each of our lives, and a central part of our life together as a couple. I want to live in Florida, and I want you to enjoy the beach and Walt Disney World with me (that’s actually huge to me). I want to spend a lot of our weekends doing the little things like walking our future dog and cooking together. I want to laugh and love every day with you. I want you to treat me better than I think I deserve. I don’t necessarily expect, or need these things, but they’d be part of the ideal relationship for me.

I want you to think I’m beautiful and sweet. I want to think the same of you. I want to cry, laugh, grow, and just live with you, as a great couple who is completely sure of their relationship. And that’s why I gave up all my previous relationships: to find the one I was completely sure of. To wait for you. I hope you appreciate that. I hope I appreciate you the way you deserve to be appreciated, too. I know I will. I hope we live together until we get old and boring. I hope we rock in our rocking chairs on the front porch every night. I hope we never stop doing little things to make each other happy. I hope we never ever take one another for granted.

Most of all, I hope God grants me the chance to find you at the right time in the right way. I know that, if it is part of His plan for me to have a husband, it will be you. I will find you, or you will find me. Everything will end up the way it is meant to. I pray every day that I will be patient in finding you, and not look too hard. If it is meant to be, it will be.

All my love,

Your future wife

Advertisements

Why I’m Keeping my Resolutions for 2015 Pretty Simple

Well, it’s a new year. I won’t bore you with another of the “I’m going to lose 15 pounds this year” or “I’m going to give up sweets” post that the internet is absolutely flooded with during this time of the year, but I will share a few of the resolutions I’m making for the new year that I think a real person can actually stick to, that I’m hoping will help me lead a more fulfilled, healthy, and happy day-to-day life.

  1. In 2015, I plan to moisturize my skin at least twice a day (when doing my makeup in the morning and when going to sleep at night). I noticed when I was powdering my nose the other day how cracked and dry my skin looked, and it really disgusted me. Maybe it’s the cold winter air, or maybe it’s just that I have crazy dry skin, but I definitely don’t want to look like that. What if I’ve always looked like that with powder, and never noticed before????  So, my hope is that moisturizing twice daily will be enough to get my skin back to normal and when I wear makeup it won’t crack and look so dry. Obviously if this resolution is going to work it’s not going to take all year to notice the results, so I’ll try to remember to weigh in on what happens next. Right now I’m using the Target brand (Up & Up) version of Neutrogena facial moisturizing lotion with SPF 15. If you have any great suggestions of reasonably priced (under $20) facial moisturizers that won’t upset sensitive skin, please leave a comment!!
  2. Going hand-in-hand with my first resolution, I am going to try to, on a daily basis, wear less makeup. I’m a person who is racked with, in my opinion, TOO MANY freckles. I’ve felt this way since I was a kid. It seems like the rise in gorgeous celebs and lily-white models has only increased the insecurities I have with my face filled with freckly blemishes. But damn it, I’m going to learn to love these freckles in 2015, if only because I’m going to force myself to look at them full-on most every day (exempting special occasions—then I can wear my formerly “normal” makeup). I’m hoping the moisturizing routine will help me prevent getting new freckles, and as old skin gets replaced some of my lighter freckles may fade away completely, too.  Overall, a major goal this year is to take good care of my skin. Being in my twenties, I keep hearing people say “now is the time to really start taking care of yourself so that you’ll stay looking young as you age” so here’s to that! I also need to start taking off the limited makeup I do plan to wear every night before bed. For now, my makeup ritual is going to be just eyeliner, mascara, powder to conceal the shininess of the moisturizer, and lip balm.
  3. I need to get a new job in 2015. I need to start making actual money, because I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that is college, and I’m realizing how little I actually have saved. My goal is to get hired somewhere in the first half of the semester, and have some extra spending money for incidental things like trips and eating meals out at restaurants. If you’re the praying/hopeful type, I’d appreciate your thoughts there! I’m really nervous about financial stuff.
  4. Be nicer and more honest with myself and others. This is a broad one that can’t be easily explained, but I’ll try. I want to be sweet to my boyfriend, my friends, my family, and the incidental people I meet from day to day. I want to come across as someone you’d want to be friends with. I want to be patient and helpful. I need to be honest with myself about my goals and my life. So here’s hoping for that.
  5. Make more time for straight-up fun and laughter. 2014 was a year filled with surviving pharmacy school and figuring out how to make ends meet financially and personally. It was a year I questioned whether to stay in my relationship (not because the love was lacking, but because I was so busy I just didn’t know how to balance everything). Pharmacy school doesn’t get loads easier from here on in, but the course load lightens and so I’m hoping the daily time commitment decreases somewhat, since there’s physically less classes for me to need to study for. But we shall see. In the fall, I dedicated one day a week to fun, and it usually fell on Saturday, which, coincidentally enough at a huge public university, happens to be football day where I’m from. Which means every other weekend I spent it either roasting or freezing at a tailgate and a game all day, or I spent a huge chunk of the day watching a game on TV. In the spring semester, there will be no football. And since that’s the main sport I enjoy participating in, it means a whole day a week will be freed up for me to absolutely relax. I know that if I find a job it will sometimes take a part of that free time I’m looking forward to, but I hope that I have become good enough at balancing my time that I can handle it (I did, after all, achieve a 4.0 this past semester, keep up good relationships with my friends, keep my romantic relationship alive despite some setbacks, and even found a little time for hobbies/TV/etc.)!

What are your resolutions? Are they more complicated than mine? Probably. I just think it’s hard to put a lot of pressure on yourself to do a whole bunch right at the start of the year. It’s a lot more likely that I’m going to do something if I can go in one of two directions—either something very simple that just has to get done every day (i.e.: moisturizing my face and taking my makeup off at night) or if it is something that I can do without a lot of real personal effort (i.e.: being a little nicer to people and a bit more honest with myself about my feelings). There are things I’m not sure will happen, like finding a job (but oh my goodness my fingers are crossed) and finding one whole consecutive block of 24 hours to have fun every single week. But hey, what’s a new year if you don’t try to mix things up a little and make changes to the things you aren’t wholly satisfied with?

Here’s to you, and to me, and to making 2015 the best year ever!

More soon – TS

My Completely Unnecessary Thoughts on Serial

By now, it seems everyone in the world has heard of the addictive podcast that launched in 2014 and has many listeners mourning its end last month. I count myself among the avid listeners. Although I got a late start listening, I caught up within a week of listening to my first episode, and impatiently awaited the last few episodes becoming available on Thursdays throughout November and December (not cool skipping Thanksgiving, SK, not cool). I loved it. I thought everything from the music to the narration was perfect. It was like being sucked into the most addictive drama on TV, only it’s a real story. Which just goes to show that the truth can be stranger than fiction sometimes (mostly).

I think my main problem with the show is also the thing that made me love it so much: I still don’t know what to think about Adnan or the case itself.  I think there is one thing I am sure of: from the get-go, the case was mishandled. From the police work to the courtroom behavior, it’s my opinion that Adnan did not always get fair treatment. And this was all before 9/11, so probably if the same case were to have come up a few years later, it would have been even more likely to result in jurors (and the media) being prejudiced against this young man. I’m not saying that that’s necessarily what happened, just that I think it’s possible, and that I think that humans, evolved as we may be, sometimes fall short when we try to be unbiased, no matter how hard we try.

It’s easy to pick someone on the show who seems seedy or suspicious and run with the idea that he or she must have done it. And I sort of think that’s what the cops did in this case, they took Adnan’s status in Hae’s life and decided that their breakup alone was enough to make him suspicious, and from that point on everything they turned up they automatically looked at with a tinted perspective (and not tinted in his favor). As I listened, I started wondering if, without letting my imagination run too wild, I could sort of keep an open mind about who may have committed the crime, and see where different trains of thought took me.

For example, there are some things I definitely find questionable about Don (this has already been discussed at length all over the internet).  For example, his work schedule was odd that day (which he used as his alibi), and the police decided his alibi (working) was legit, despite the fact that his supervisor at the job he claimed to be at was his mother. That is not to say that I don’t believe Don is innocent—I do! But this is the sort of thinking I allowed myself to submerge myself in to really explore the case from every possible angle.

Each episode, I kind of mentally compiled a list of key players that were brought up and how they contribute to the story as a whole. I know that Serial only gives listeners pieces of a bigger puzzle, and that there are many things the show does not cover. I know that Rabia has given fans a lot of additional information, and Reddit has been overflowing with additional theories and information for the past few months now.  But I tried my best to stick to the facts shared on the show and only read speculation posts to keep my thoughts flowing, and not get too swayed by anything that I thought was biased (and I know some of the stuff Rabia shares is totally objective, too, so I found her blog really interesting and supplementary to the podcast). That being said, I think sometimes people will come up with crazy, outlandish theories because they simply want to believe something about a person’s guilt or innocence, and a crazy, outlandish theory is the only type of theory that supports their belief.

At the end of all this listening and all this time pondering, I think I’ve come up with three possible scenarios. They certainly don’t account for everything, and I’m sure people on the internet will be quick to pick apart why my ideas are all wrong and tell me exactly why I’m a total idiot, but I’m hopeful that instead, we will be mature and use any discussion as a means to further explore the possibilities of the case, rather than to spread malice. I am not legally trained in any sense (I’m actually in pharmacy school, so basically the farthest thing from thinking like a lawyer).

Theory 1: Jay and Adnan were both members of a larger drug ring. This idea is not original, but I do have some specific thoughts on it I’d like to throw out there. I think the whole “Jay borrowing Adnan’s car to buy Stephanie a gift” thing seems, at best, sketchy. That whole line seems much more realistic if we consider that the two of them were doing something drug-related that morning when Adnan left school for a little while. I’m not sure exactly what to think about the drug stuff, because we only have what Jay says to go on. I can understand as a seventeen year old being afraid to tell cops about being involved in any sort of drug crimes, even though as someone older you can see clearly that it would be much preferable to say you were involved in something illegal like that rather than be prosecuted and penalized for first-degree murder.  This would put Adnan and Jay together mid-morning and running around not at a mall. Maybe Adnan mentioned something about wanting to kill Hae to Jay and maybe not, I’m not really going to speculate on that, because there’s no way to know who’s lying. But regardless, it means Adnan leaves the car and phone with Jay to handle drug-dealing business, which is something Adnan probably didn’t want to mention to the cops when they came knocking to talk to him. Hence the “I lent the car so that Jay could buy Stephanie a present” thing. What makes no sense is why Jay goes along with this. The cops figure out Jay deals weed anyway, so Jay could implicate Adnan in dealing with him and not really hurt himself at all. The only thing I can think of is someone higher up telling Jay to keep his mouth shut about Adnan’s involvement in drugs (someone who potentially threatens him or has influence over him in some other way).  So let’s just say, for the sake of this silly theory, that Jay and Adnan are dealers together, and Adnan kills Hae that afternoon and calls Jay for a ride/help (the ride thing doesn’t make sense since he has Hae’s car and ends up driving it for some time that afternoon—why not just call Jay and tell him to meet him at a certain time at the Park and Ride?).  This would kind of explain why Jay and Adnan were acquainted, but not considered close friends, if they were involved in the same ring of drug-dealing. It would also explain why Adnan chose to go to Jay rather than a closer friend. Jay was involved in illegal activities that Adnan frequently saw him commit and committed alongside him, therefore he saw them as “partners in crime”—just took the crime way further than simple marijuana dealing when he asked Jay to help him bury a body. There are rampant inconsistencies with this idea, and it’s not a very complicated theory, either. It doesn’t explain the motive, just elaborates a little more on some of the reasons Jay and Adnan both lied throughout the investigation, trial, and podcast.  I don’t know what to think about Stephanie, other than that I feel so sorry for the pain this case clearly caused her. I know many people wish she would speak about her experience, and I respect her decision not to. I can’t imagine what she must have gone through, and as just a young woman in high school.  Her story might clear up some things, and would likely either contradict or corroborate Jay’s story. It would at least be nice to know if, as Jay says he showed up to her house that night to give her a gift, he actually gave her a gift or not. If he didn’t show up with a gift, I think that pretty much guarantees Jay and Adnan weren’t at the mall that morning. Maybe they were driving around scoping out a place to bury a body, in which case the first-degree thing becomes really important. Maybe they were just smoking a little weed before Adnan went back to school, or doing a little business. Regardless, I think Adnan and Jay being both involved in dealing at least explains some of the inconsistencies if you believe Adnan is guilty. It means basically nothing if you believe he’s innocent, just that he must have been pretty sneaky to drive around and deal while keeping his snooping mother from finding out.

Theory 2: Jay is caught up in a much more serious drug dealing ring than implied by him to the police, with some sort of drug lord over him who either forces Jay to commit the murder or commits the murder himself and then forces Jay to cover it up.  That would explain why Jay goes to the police at all, and keeps changing his story (perhaps he was getting all sorts of crazy conflicting information from the person above him throughout the whole ordeal). My thoughts are: if Jay got his so-called “buddy” (even if they aren’t close, I still think Jay and Adnan were considered friendly to one another prior to this) put into prison for the rest of his life (many, many years when you’re talking about someone who’s only seventeen years old) and you know full well that he did nothing wrong, you must be a sick person. I know someone “looking nice” is not proof of anything, but hey, if people want to say that about Adnan I think it’s fair to say it for Jay too. He just doesn’t look like someone who would do that sort of thing to a friend. People make mistakes when they’re young and all that, but at eighteen you’re capable of knowing what your testimony is going to do to someone in Adnan’s position.  If Jay hadn’t come to the police, I think it’s likely that no one ever would have been tried in the case, and it would have been considered an unsolved murder. I’m sure there would have been suspicions about Adnan, but really what was the state’s case without Jay? I doubt they would have had enough evidence to even get an indictment without Jay.  So, again, my thoughts are either Adnan did it and Jay knows and feels like it’s his moral responsibility to turn him in and do everything in his power to get him locked up (including possibly making up stuff????) or Jay knows who did do it and is under intense heat to be sure that person does not get caught. In that case, Jay gets so freaked out that a fingerprint or hair may have been left behind that could be matched to the real murderer, and he decides that it’s safer to point the cops in a totally different direction (basically to distract them) rather than let them spend hours trying to figure out who did it, in which case the cops probably never would have gathered significant evidence against anyone and the case would have been dropped eventually.  The only reason I think it’s most likely the person in this case who did it and would be making Jay cover for him/her would be some sort of drug overlord is that I can’t imagine who else in Jay’s world would wield that type of power over him, or fear (unless Adnan did it and really is threatening him, in which case I’d think Jay would keep his mouth shut out of fear?).

Theory 3: The infamous serial killer theory, but not the one you heard on the podcast.  I completely understand why the Innocence Project is going through with the DNA testing against the serial killer they mentioned on Serial. That said, I think it’s unlikely that the DNA will match that serial killer. I think it’s much more likely that the young girl who was raped and strangled a year before Hae was strangled by the same person as Hae.  This man apparently had a penchant for young girls, and although there was no evidence of rape, there’s also no reason this man had to have raped her. She could have put up such a valiant fight against the man that he decided to off her before sexually assaulting her because he was exhausted and did not think getting his jollies was worth the risk of her getting away at some point and telling the police of the incident.  This theory has been discussed to some extent on Reddit, but I think it’s a real possibility that should be at least explored by people with the power to make a real difference.

I wonder what will happen in the future, with Adnan’s appeal this year. If it is unsuccessful, my understanding is that his last hope for potential exoneration will be over. In this case, if he did it, I really hope he will come forward. I know it would bring closure to many, many people, the most important of which are Hae’s friends and family members. It would not be costing him anything if he had no chance of getting out at that point. If he did not commit the murder, I hope that he gets exonerated. Either way, I hope that justice is served. It is sad that it seems like thus far justice has been completely absent from this case, for all involved in it. The fact that the population of  listeners is very legitimately split on their belief regarding guilt or innocence just goes to show that realistically he never should have been sentenced.  I would have to vote not guilty just because of that pesky “reasonable doubt” thing. But clearly some people are 100% convinced of his guilt, and to those people I’d like to ask what theory they utilize to explain away all the inconsistencies and confusing parts of the case. Maybe deep down I think he’s guilty, but that he shouldn’t have been convicted based on the evidence at trial (I’m not hiding my true feelings from you about the case, I’m just genuinely not sure what they are).  Feel free to chime in if you have anything to share or add!

More soon!

Twentysomething

Why You Should Start Forgiving Right Now

It’s been forever since the last time I posted a blog. I’m sorry about that. I guess I’ve been too busy to write about my life because I’ve been out there living it. I hope that doesn’t sound too cliché, but honestly I haven’t wanted to sit around and write out what’s been going on or what’s been on my mind because I’ve been spending time with the people I care about and doing things that really matter to me.

                So, on that note, I’m here writing now. I’ve had plenty of big thoughts this summer about love, life, and people. I’ve thought about what I wanted to write about a lot, but honestly I think the only thing I feel like I really have to say is about forgiveness. I want to forgive all the people I have felt wronged by, and I hope that I am worthy of being forgiven by those I have wronged in the past, as well as by God for wronging others.

                It can be hard {impossible, even} to forgive people who have done something awful to you. It can feel like the most horrible thing in the world, and having to actually tell someone who has screwed you over that you forgive what they did may be more difficult than just feeling forgiveness in your heart. I think it’s okay to forgive someone internally and not go out and tell them “you’re forgiven! I’m totally fine with you now!” because, honestly, that might just stir up more trouble. If you know in your heart that you forgive the people who have done you wrong, you will have a much lighter load on your shoulders. Your heart will feel free and light, and for the first time in ages, you won’t be thinking about their name with negativity. You won’t be thinking about them at all.

                In the crazy world we live in today, I think the two most widely accepted sins that we all are susceptible to are gluttony and envy. Who hasn’t indulged in a few extra cookies after they were already full, or decided to cram in the last bits of food, despite knowing that they ought to just take home leftovers for later?  And, even worse, who hasn’t felt a pang of jealousy upon seeing a former flame with somebody else, or annoyance that their friends all have the newest iPhone, when you’re stuck with your old flip phone?  But letting go of these feelings makes us better people.  Feeling jealous of others is such a nasty feeling. If we would all let go of our jealousy, and try our hardest to feel happy for the other people in the world {and that includes those who have wronged us in the past}, we can all live a healthier, happier life.

                I think the hardest forgiveness comes from romantic love.  If you loved someone with your whole heart and they wronged you, you’re going to feel betrayed, frustrated, broken somehow. And if they go out and find someone else {especially if it’s before you’ve recovered from having your feelings hurt by them}, you’re probably going to feel jealous.  And it can be almost impossible to stop feeling angry and start trying to feel happy for them. You might pretend to be happy for them, but I feel like most of us, deep down, are fighting back the urge to throw something at the person who took so much from you and now has ended up happier!  I know that I find myself susceptible to this way of thinking, or at least I have been in the past.

                Keep faith that everything happens for a reason. Maybe you’re not onto the next one because you aren’t ready yet. Maybe if you met the person you’re meant to be with right now, you’d be too fragile from your last relationship to make it work.  Or maybe the person you’re supposed to end up with is out there, trying their best to find their way to you, and you just have to start making an effort, too. I think that’s a trap we all fall into when we get hopeless: staying home, feeling lonely and pitying ourselves. But how are we ever going to start meeting new people and trying to start over again if we don’t go out and make an effort? You have to force yourself to get out of your comfort zone {or, in this case, your house} and at least give the real world a shot. Sure, it can knock you down and bruise you, but it can also be the most magical place imaginable. When you meet the person you should be with, all the jealousy and frustration about prior failed relationships melts away. You suddenly hope that everyone in the whole world is as happy as you are. And when you disagree with the person you love, you don’t feel like the whole relationship is doomed; you feel angry at them for a while, you have to give yourself some time and space to think and cool off, and then you’re ready to take them back with open arms and forgive and forget. Because that’s what true love means.

                When the time comes that you’re ready to start forgiving the people in your life who have done you wrong, you’re going to find that everything suddenly seems a lot easier. You’re going to let go of the negativity that has plagued you for so long. You’re going to feel like you finally don’t have to be mad anymore. You don’t have to waste valuable time and brain space on someone who really doesn’t deserve it. They get to disappear from your thoughts, and when you do occasionally think of them, it’s with no real emotion at all. They did something bad to you, but you’ve been strong and mature, and forgiven them. You’ve moved on so that you can have the life you deserve. You’re bigger and better than who you were when that stuff happened.

                Appreciate what you have. Don’t waste time obsessing over what you lost or what you think you should have.  And if you think you deserve more, go and get it. Don’t sit at home complaining about it. Go and make it happen. Make friends who make you happy, let go of ones who pull you down.  Love the people in your life for being who they are, for supporting you, and for making you smile.  And never, ever let life get you down for too long. Keep dreaming and keep moving forward, because being stagnant and letting yourself wallow is the worst thing you can do.

Why Finding the One is So Important

I built love up in my mind to be this insanely beautiful thing that nothing in the real world could ever live up to. I think real love is accepting another person, just as they are, with all their flaws, with the zit that randomly popped up on their face, even though they ate the last piece of pizza, even when they’re doing something that’s annoying. It’s the kind of thing that makes you feel warm and happy inside, even when it’s cold and rainy. It’s the kind of feeling that brings a smile to your face at the end of a long day. You get to go home to someone who just makes you happy. Someone who you love.

It isn’t going to mean that you get a present every day. It isn’t going to mean that you get to complain about your day endlessly and never listen to any of their boring stories, or complaints about their job. It definitely isn’t going to mean completely smooth sailing. Real love means some fighting. It means telling someone that you want to spend next Christmas with your family, not theirs, and hoping they’ll compromise with you.

But when you find someone who you love, it’s all going to fall into place. The world is going to seem a little less scary. You’re going to have someone to text when something funny happens, and you’re going to be able to trust that the person you love is going to put up with all the quirks that exist in you. I think the most loveable people in this world are perhaps the quirkiest. I know I myself possess a good number of goofy traits, and I think anyone who didn’t love me would find them odd. But my family taught me to embrace my imperfections, and so when I met new guys I forced myself not to conform to being the girlfriend that they wanted, and instead decided to be myself. It’s important. It’s important to be loved for you, and not be loved for who someone wants you to be. It’s important to always stay true to yourself. There will always be another person out there for you if the one you’re with isn’t making you happy.

I think the fear of being alone and not meeting someone else is one of the primary reasons people stay in unhappy relationships. I know every time I’ve hesitated to break up with someone who made me unhappy it was primarily because the person I was with was okay, and being in a mediocre relationship had to be better than being all alone and having no one to share my time with. Sometimes, especially when you’re in your twenties, it seems like everybody you know is paired up, and you don’t want to be the only single one. How much does it suck getting asked to go to an event with a bunch of couples and trying to find a date? No one wants to be a third wheel.  But I think it’s time we face our fears and accept that being alone is much happier than being part of an unhappy or only moderately happy couple. 

Being alone means taking a book to the coffee shop instead of your boyfriend. It means reading or people-watching when you’re out in the world. It means watching your favorite show or movie on Netflix tonight instead of trying to find one that you both like (which, in an unhappy relationship, is usually a difficult task).  It means traveling to the places you want to see, instead of traveling to the places they want. It means spending holidays with your family  completely, instead of splitting the special times with their family, then running off to have the rest of the day with yours.

I’m someone who’s happy with my relationship, and I can still say all this stuff. I’ve been there. I’ve been in that place for a long, long time, and I was so scared to be alone that I didn’t escape from my own cage until I had already been in the single mindset for a long time. In the end, I missed out on some really great opportunities that I could have had as a single girl, that being in a long-term relationship took away from me.  I could have gone out with my friends on nights I instead spent fighting with my ex-boyfriend. I could have spent more time with my family. I could have simply spent the time on myself. I think spending time on yourself is one of the most commonly neglected but most important things a person needs to do.  I believe that spending time just doing things that make you happy are what makes the world bright. This life doesn’t go on forever. And in the end, you’ll remember the things you did that made you really happy over the things that were mundane.

There’s certainly no reason to be with someone who is “average.” Find the one who’s amazing. Don’t stop searching until you’ve met them. It’s hard to find them when you’re in your twenties. Like…really, really difficult. Everyone you know is either in a relationship or completely committed to the single life. The good guys are taken or boring. The hot guys aren’t nice, and the ones who are nice are definitely already taken. But keep looking. You’ll find them when you’re least expecting it.

Now, go!

Why Twenty-Somethings Don’t Actually Know What Love Means

Love is maybe one of the most complicated things we deal with in this world.  There’s no perfect definition, there’s no set of universal rules that governs how to love someone, and how to be loved by someone else. There’s no way to know when it’s real. There’s no code to tell you when someone is being honest with you.

I guess that’s what makes love love in the first place. If you love someone truly, without any reservations on your part or theirs, you will trust them just because you do. There will be little or no explanation for a lot of the things you feel for the person. There will be hardly any logic to your decisions. You won’t be able to stop yourself from doing all the things you want to do to get close to them. Nobody who isn’t in love with someone will be able to understand the things you’re feeling. 

I think our culture for a long time has been fascinated by a sense of falling in love at a young age, and leaving love there. The next love story is about the next generation, and by the time the original kids who fell in love are married and middle-aged, we’ve forgotten all about the magnificent romance they shared when they were just teenagers, or young adults.

Maybe that’s what’s wrong with so many relationships nowadays. We can see ourselves happy with the person we’re with in six months, a year even, but when it comes to the long-term, everyone avoids the whole idea of staying as in love as they are when they meet. I understand that no love story is going to stay as intense or enormous as it is when the parties involved are just beginning to fall for one another. But a love should not be allowed to dwindle into small flames that only occasionally flare into a fire.  A love that is meant to last must be nourished.

If I were planning my long-term relationship, I would want only a few things from my partner. I would want honesty and fidelity (because I’m a human being, duh).  I would want the occasional surprise. It wouldn’t have to be an expensive necklace or a pair of tickets to Hawaii. I would want a note or a letter from the guy reminding me of the reasons he fell in love with me. Or maybe a flower, or my favorite candy, when he knows I’ve had a rough day. I would want to go to Disney World on a regular basis, because it’s absolutely one of my favorite places in the world, and I would need that in my life.  I would want to set aside an hour or 30 minutes every day just to decompress together. We could cook dinner together, watch an episode of a TV show, or just talk about our days. I would want my husband to keep me informed about his life. I would want to know all the stupid little details, from where he went to lunch to what boring things he did at work today. 

That’s how it’s supposed to be. You’re supposed to want to know those tiny details about another person when you’re in love. You’re supposed to be the person they want to tell those things to, because you’re the love of their life. You’re the one.

Don’t settle for something that doesn’t make you happy.

Why You Need to Take a Hard Look at Your Love Life

I could tell you a lot about my ex-boyfriend. I could tell you about how we met, why we broke it off, and what kind of people we both were. But all those things would not capture the very essence of my feelings towards our long, tumultuous relationship.

It was, undoubtedly, a tumultuous relationship. And what I’ve learned, more than anything else, when it comes to love, is that good relationships (healthy ones) shouldn’t be tumultuous. They shouldn’t be perfect, with no occasional bumps in the road. No, that kind of love is a love between two people who are so infatuated with one another that they’re terrified of making a misstep and upsetting the other person. A perfect, romantic love between two people involves joy, tolerance, communication, and compatibility between your personalities (I think).

Perhaps he and I were compatible, for a brief amount of time.

After we broke up, he sort of stalked me. He would call, text, show up, etc., crying over how sorry he was and telling me how terribly he felt for letting me go. And when that happened, I inevitably questioned whether I had made the right decision in breaking up with him.

But there were a million reasons I left him. I think the most important reason was that he made me miserable. He made me cry on a daily basis. He made me question his faithfulness by flirting with other women right in front of me, and texting other girls. He once kissed another girl while I was out of town. He was unkind to me, and would say mean things about me to his friends, which would usually come back to me, because his friends liked me.

And I know you’re probably questioning why I would waste my time on someone if all this was happening.  In all honesty, it’s because I didn’t see it then. It’s because I couldn’t see all the horrible things about him when I was with him. Even when he did terrible things, I believed that I was going to change him, and make him better, and that our relationship was going to be perfect as soon as he was just a little bit nicer.

But he was never going to be nicer. He was who he was, and no amount of time, energy, and commitment on my part was going to change that.  When we broke up, I was heartbroken. I had left him, but I still spent days, weeks, months crying over him and questioning my choice. What if, now that I had let him go from my life, he had magically transformed because he saw what life was without me? That kind of stuff happens in movies all the time.  The couple gets back together because whoever was the problem has completely transformed, and their relationship is ideal from then on out. I was repeatedly tempted to give him another chance.

Thank God I didn’t.

He will never be worthy of my time. He is still pulling the same bullshit on his current girlfriend that he pulled on me for three years, and I regret that it took me three years to see how bad of a person he was, but when we met I was very young, and completely inexperienced with men and with love.

The other woman that he kissed when he and I were together was an old acquaintance of mine. I wouldn’t call her a friend (because the only way I can describe our relationship was that she was always very unkind to me, and I just tried to ignore her), but it still broke my heart that he would cheat on me with someone that I knew. When I found out about his infidelity, it was because she wrote me a letter and gave it to me, apologizing. He didn’t even have the balls to own up to it, and when I confronted him about it immediately afterwards, he admitted that it had happened and shrugged it off as though it had been no big deal. He was a horrible person. He is a horrible person.

Anyhow, because I knew this other girl, we’re Facebook friends. The other day, she changed her profile picture and it came up on my news feed.  Right underneath it, it shows who has liked the photo, and the first person it listed was my ex-boyfriend. So then, two years after our relationship ended, and about five years since he and I had our first argument about whether he had feelings for her, he is still liking her photos on Facebook while seeing another woman.

I should have known when, immediately after breaking up with him, he went home and talked to her about how “sad” he was about losing me. She was the one who told me that also. I yelled and yelled and yelled, when I should have just accepted that he was a pain in my ass who wasn’t worth my time.

Every fight we had and every time we would break up, my heart would feel broken, unmendable, absolutely torn in half. And now, in all honesty, I am so so so so so so grateful for that pain. That pain was all that came of our relationship. There was no marriage, no children, no horrible proposal that forced me to pair up with this loser for the rest of my life. The heartbreak was a blessing. The heartbreak forced me to get the hell out. If he had not shown his true character to me then, I might still be with him now.

Instead, I get to be with someone who is kind. When he and I first met, I was still dating the jackass. He did not ever flirt with me. He did not ask me to break up with my boyfriend. He and I had probably spoken only one or two times when I dumped the loser. And when he and I broke up, I was devastated. I would lay in bed and cry and not be able to move for hours. He would sit with me, tell me everything was going to be okay, and just listen to me when I talked. He never tried to kiss me, or get too close. He just let me decide what I wanted to do, and I am eternally grateful to him for that.

People were surprised when my ex and I split, because they thought (honestly) that he and I always seemed super happy and perfect together. That is just a tribute to the fact that nothing is ever as it appears. Nothing is perfect. No guy is going to “fix” you. You have to love yourself. You have to love yourself enough to get out if a guy isn’t making you happy. You have to love yourself enough to decide to wait until you’re ready to do what guys will want you to do. You have to make your own choices about things because you just don’t know how long whatever guy you’re seeing will be in your life, and you owe it to yourself to do things your way while you’re young and still have the opportunity to ditch guys who suck, to date guys who may not be the one, and to go single when you feel like taking some time for yourself.

I wouldn’t trade my boyfriend now for anything. It almost broke me to find him, but here I am. He isn’t perfect. I am not perfect. Together, we are probably not even perfect. There might be someone out there who, if we took a compatibility test, would score higher than my boyfriend. That’s fine. I’m not looking for him. I hope he finds a nice girl. But calculations and numbers and tests cannot compare to that indescribable chemistry between two people who just love one another, who cherish each other’s company, and each other’s imperfections. I cannot ask for more from a man than what I have (except that I wish he wanted to go to Disney World as often as I do—only ten times a year, okay?). But I believe we can work through the arguments and disagreements to have our happily ever after.

He treats me nice. He rubs my shoulders and plays with my hair. He does not toy with other women with the sole purpose being to make me jealous. He laughs at my lame jokes. We say the same things at the same time on a daily basis. He makes Frozen references with me, because he knows that my obsession with Disney isn’t going anywhere soon. I tolerate his shows, because I love him, and I want to get to know as much as I can about him. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Don’t settle for something that doesn’t make you happy. It can be different than my happiness. But you know what it is, and I’m challenging you to go out there and grab it.