arts, movies, music, pop culture · business · dating and singlehood

all or nothing

Dedicated in part to this post

Sometimes having a lot of options is functionally like having no options at all. If you’re like me, you look at an aisle packed with different kinds of toilet paper and you think I have absolutely no idea what I’m looking for in a toilet paper and you end up just grabbing whatever is on sale. But then you think, well wait, it’s on sale but this roll has more square feet of paper and this one has twice as many rolls and… (insert expletive here that rhymes with “it” which is entirely apropos to the kind of paper you’re trying to buy).

From consumer goods to movies to clothing to careers, we are bombarded in our society with choices. My generation grew up with the notion that we can do anything, be anything, have anything – it’s the American dream, the American way. Just work hard, do your research, compare price points, find deals and discounts, wheel and deal, network and you can really have it all.

And then we grew up. And now we know. You really can’t.

This can be on the defeating side. It can really get us down and despondent. It can drain all the energy and motivation from your very soul. It can cause you to stay up late at night and weigh the pros and cons of every decision you need to make. It makes you create a spreadsheet to track everything.

I had a spreadsheet once upon a time of men. That’s right. Men I dated, men I met who seemed promising, men I wanted to avoid like the plague. It amused me. It also appealled to my sense of trying to stay in control of any given situation and to remember what was most important to me. This had mixed results.

The spreadsheet rated – yes rated – the men. On scales of 1-10 and in various categories. These categories portrayed my values – was he kind to children and animals? Did he drive a nice car? Did he have a good relationship with his parents? Was he a vegan? (btw, this rated low on my values with the scale being inversed.)

I haven’t kept this spreadsheet – it was a casualty of an epic delete event in my life when I moved from Denver to Williamsburg and decided that my life could not go the way it had been any more.  I knew that the choices I was making, especially with my dating life, were going to land me dead in a ditch somewhere.

So fast forward to about a year ago now when I realized some things. One was that I had lost sight of the IDEAL. I was giving in to good enough and I was letting what was in front of me block what was coming up. And when you have to ask yourself if you’re settling, the answer is probably yes. And eventually it will catch up with you – you’ll become discontent and you’ll hold it against everyone – the person you’re with for not understanding or being, well, someone else – the people around you who aren’t fitting the bill for what you want out of life – and yourself for making choices that get you to the place you feel least content and least loved. But it is cyclical and you do find yourself bouncing from one meaningless, doomed relationship to the next because you’re lonely and bored and feel like you need someone – anyone – to love you or at least to occupy your time and space. I wanted what I thought would appease me for now but had no lasting power. I constantly set myself up for irritation, unmet expectations – for both sides – and I settled for the OK instead of waiting for the Amazing.

Right up until Rob. Before him, I never thought I would get exactly what I wanted from a relationship and so I settled a lot into relationships that were ok and did the trick for the time being. that whole Mr Right Now. I wouldn’t let myself believe there is a SOULMATE for me because that seemed naive and crazy and unrealistic and too good to be true.

And then I met Rob and while there were immediate cautions, there was something about the way we UNDERSTOOD each other and READ EACH OTHER’S MINDS, that couldn’t be ignored. and it wasn’t really until he asked me to marry him that it all hit me like a ton of bricks – THIS IS WORTH WAITING FOR. and any thing I attempted before Rob was settling for something almost but not quite.

That isn’t saying that blending our lives together has been totally ideal at every turn. I could list a ton of general complaints about how difficult it is to work out all the details of our life together and honestly, a lesser person would. Someone who isn’t me would have a solid list of reasons to stay away. And I am totally psyched that she did stay away. haha!

Because he’s all mine. And that list doesn’t even get started for me because everything about him is mine and everything he faces in life is mine and vice versa. THAT’s what I’m talking about. THAT’s what I waited for. THAT’s what I sacrificed all this time for lesser relationships, for band aids on hacked limbs. I was looking for band aids to stop the pain and the hurt – and it doesn’t matter if the band aid has the best Hello Kitty on it ever, it will never HEAL me.

And not that being with your soulmate makes everything go POOF! and it’s all better. We certainly have moments together when the whole wide world vanishes before our eyes and there is nothing that can get between us. But reality sets back in and we have our moments of utter loss and chaos and despairing – but we’d have that any way. We had that all along. NOW, we have something else. Hope. In each other, in God giving us to each other to tackle this life together. We have hope that everything won’t always turn out roses and chocolates, but that we are with someone who knows us through and through and better yet commits to being there for the rest of time and beyond.

There was a time I didn’t believe in soulmates per se, at least I wasn’t sure there was one for me, and I was ready to accept that about this time last year. I gave my life to God in that moment when I realized, my life may never be any different from what it is RIGHT NOW and that i may be single for the rest of my life, and for the first time in my life, I was totally good with it. Honestly. It was a revelation to my soul. And I look back at that now and I smile because it was when I realized that I have NOTHING and had to give up everything, that God put into motion all the events that led me to RIGHT NOW. And He gave me ALL I needed and then some.



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