Here we are for week two! This week, Micaela and I are talking about DATING. And, no, I don’t have a Taylor Swift lyric for this post because, despite my love for her, T. Swizzle has a terrible dating ethic and one I do not support. TAKE SOME ME-TIME, TAY.
Check out Micaela’s post HERE. Xoxo.
If this were the age of typewriters, the floor of my bedroom would be littered with crumpled sheets of paper full of rejected drafts. Lucky for rainforests and myself, my struggle with this piece is not harmful to any ecosystem. So I’m good there. But it doesn’t change that this piece has a deadline, nor does it help me write it any faster.
I’m stuck because I’m making this too damn complicated. That’s right, I’m making a simple blog post about dating culture in your 20s too complicated. Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on me either.
So let’s uncomplicate (pretty sure that’s not a word) things, shall we?
My students often come to me with their life problems. Not because I am full of wise, meaningful advice, but because I am in this stage of life that makes me approachable. I am not really an “adult” in their eyes but I’m not a “peer” either. I’m not ruined by the harsh cruelties of the grown-up world, but I’ve moved beyond petty, high school drama. Honestly, they’re pretty idealistic about life in your 20s, but I’m not going to burst their bubble. Yet.
Dating advice is what they most often seek. Which, given my lack of a dating history, they are really barking up the wrong tree of information. I rarely have answers to their questions. But like I would admit that! So I ask them “what about this situation do you know to be true?” 1) It sounds super smart and counselor-ish and 2) it doesn’t show that I have no idea what to tell them.
I’m going to use the same tactic here. I don’t have all the answers about dating, nor do I even have a tried-and-true method of scoring yourself a hottie. I mean, I still haven’t managed to get Ryan Gosling to break up with Eva Mendes. That says it all. But these are things I know to be true.
Self-help books about dating are, in fact, not helpful.
This is dating propaganda, and it’s not helping. Christian books can fall into this category as well. That just offended somebody, but it’s true. These books create an idea that there is one way to date, and that if you follow the “rules,” you’ll have your mate in no time. Let me blow your mind – THERE ARE NO RULES. People are different, and thank God for that. You are not going to find your mate the same way that your best friend did. It will be unique to you. All of these old adages of “don’t text him first” or “wait for him to ask you out” are archaic and useless. Make your own rules. And for the love of Prada, stop listening to Cosmo magazine. Absolutely clueless.
Lists are for grocery shopping – not dating.
Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. “The List.” The list you’ve been curating since you were 6 years old and fell in love with a Disney prince. It’s been through every stage of your life and once you hit your 20s, that list is truly something to behold. You’ve put more time and effort into that thing than our Founding Fathers did when drafting the Declaration of Independence. You’re proud of it. It fully encompasses what you’re looking for in a man. The man who meets this list will be your soulmate. BURN IT. Seriously, torch that damn thing. That list is a monster. We compare every single man to that list, and it’s not fair to ask them to compete with a fictitious being. I’m not saying “lower your expectations.” Please, NEVER lower those or your standards. But it is time that we stop assuming that we know what or who is best for us. If you were to ask those blissfully happy married friends of yours if their significant other would fulfill every single “requirement” they were looking for in a mate, chances are they would say “no.” On a Biblical note, I’m pretty sure Gomer was nothing like Hosea’s list, but he loved her despite. (That was a bit of a Jesus juke.)
Singleness isn’t the end of my life. It’s actually the beginning.
If complaining about singleness was an Olympic sport, I would be Michael Phelps. Mmmm… Michael Phelps. Sorry, back to the issue. I’ve often thought this part of my life was a curse or punishment for something I did terribly wrong. It’s not. And being single doesn’t mean something is wrong with me either. I’m not defective or broken. I’m just single. In the past year, I’ve learned to embrace this as a gift and the freedom and independence that comes with it. Most of all, I’m learning how to be happy alone because if I can’t be happy with my own company, how can I ask someone to enjoy my company? And I’m learning the importance of being more concerned about meaningful and lasting relationships with people rather than a fleeting courtship with one person. My whole life can’t be wrapped around a potential mate, and, much in the same way, I can’t center my growth as a person and woman of God around becoming a wife. That would be cutting my potential substantially. Being a wife sounds wonderful, but it won’t be the completion of my life or journey with the Lord. I often hear women say “I really feel the Lord is preparing me for marriage.” Truthfully, His work in our lives goes far beyond someone putting a ring on our fingers. I don’t want to miss God moving in my life because I’m overly concerned with taking a step toward the wrong altar.
Of all the parts of life in your 20s, dating is definitely the roughest road. The heartbreak is harder. People are harder to understand. And, honestly, it’s just plain complicated no matter how hard we try to uncomplicate (again, made up word) things. I guess the one thing I know to be truest about dating is that single doesn’t mean “alone.” True, no one sent me flowers on Valentine’s Day, but I was showered with love from my friends and family. We do life together as a community. And instead of being jealous of all the married people, let’s be jealous of ourselves and this awesome, independent adventure we’re on together. However, I will totally abandon this ship and all of you when Ryan Gosling finally discovers that I am his one true love.