A post to my former self. And anyone else looking for unsolicited advice.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the post I wrote a few weeks ago on dating.
Mostly I’ve been remembering how boy crazy I was at a very early age and how that evolved over the years.
It’s made me really sad and annoyed to realize how much time I spent being Super Bummed Out that some guy didn’t like me back.
Why was it so important for my crush to think I was cute? Why did I stay up nights crying over an unrequited “love”? Why did I believe I needed someone to be my boyfriend in order to feel complete?
At the time, I thought something was wrong with me. I felt unattractive, unwanted and unloved. I thought the only way to undo all of these things was to find a man.
What I didn’t know or understand is that finding a man had way more to do with finding a friend than with getting someone to ask me out on a date and tell me I was beautiful.
Seriously, think about all of the people you’ve ever been interested in or hoped were into you. How well did you know them? Did you consider if you’d even be compatible? Would you describe them as a “really good person” or someone you felt could complement and expand your world?
We rely on so much superficial information. Ask yourself why you even like someone. Are you just obsessed with captivating their attention? Why is that important?
I wish I hadn’t needed someone to validate my existence by swiping right or liking my status or texting me back in 30 seconds.
I wish I hadn’t lived a life waiting for some dummy who I most likely would have been unhappy with to choose me.
I wish I had liked myself over needing someone to like me.
Because I wouldn’t have been so miserable, depressed, anxious and self loathing.
Because I wouldn’t have taken my friends and family for granted.
Because I would have understood that my worth wasn’t tied to Some Dude.
And I want you to know that yours isn’t either.
If you’re wondering why I have the nerve to say this when I’m with someone, I will tell you. I’m at a place where I Do Not Care What You Think. And by “You”, I mean Men. Perhaps it’s finally realizing my feminism or it’s being in a relationship where I’m not afraid of losing him just for saying what’s on my mind or when something is bothering me and wanting him to be in my life because of who he is and what he does and not as a compliment factory-movie trope-permanent wedding date or maybe still, having a greater understanding of mortality.
Whatever it is, I no longer want to link what I think of myself with whether or not a man likes me.
Before you decide to give someone your everything, make sure they’re worthy. If they’re not, move on.
You’re totally awesome and a catch and have so much to offer? Be that person to the people who deserve that. Bake an awesome birthday cake for your favorite co-worker. Buy your mom an unexpected gift. Cook your roommate a meal.
Stop waiting around to be someone’s amazing girlfriend or wife. Stop thinking that’s what your purpose in life is.
Accept the love that is being offered to you already. If you find yourself having a meltdown over someone on Tinder who won’t make a plan, you’ve already wasted time and energy that could have been much better spent.
I’m not trying to convince you that being single is better than being with someone. I’m trying to say that while you are single, try to enjoy it.
No, nothing beats those first few months of falling for someone. But for most of us, only a very select few of those whirlwinds turn into something more (and Not A Spoiler Alert: the honeymoon period ends, sometimes sooner than later…like if you get knocked up after five months. WOMP.) For the sake of math, find balance between the time you’re sweating some guy who probably won’t be your boyfriend and the One Million Other Things that will make you happy.
Did you hear that as of October 6th McDonald’s will be serving breakfast 24 hours? See? That absolutely beats having drinks dutch with a know-it-all who starts your non-date by saying he’s not looking for anything serious.
If you find that the only thing you think will make you happy is getting a boyfriend, you might want to re-evaluate your life.
Which is what I wish I would have done over twenty years ago.