As you get older and as it relates to dating, your dreams and hopes change. For those who are single or who have danced with single more than marriage or long term commitment, your list gets shorter. You either start seeing possibility in different places or you stop seeing it at all. You learn how to be okay with being single or you make finding someone a full time job. It’s all a journey when you are not in a relationship especially when you think you are suppose to be in a relationship or you desire to be in a relationship. And you have to negotiate the absence of what you want, sometimes, along with the world and those in it whose opinions you care about for longer than a second.
I had a classmate, back in college, who had her life mapped out. She was going to graduate at 21. She was going to go to graduate school. She was going to get married at 27. She was going to get a dog at 29. And she wanted to have her first child at 30. I could go on with this story. As a 19 years old, what struck me with this story is just how specific she was. I more or less wanted some of the same things but what I wanted and the time period was not as detailed. School and fun had preoccupied a lot of my life. If I’m a bit more honest church and my evangelical lifestyle dominated my life as well. I wanted a career and remotely a family because that was the picture of success but not because it was anything I wanted.
Because I lived far away from my family (i.e. meaning they couldn’t just hop in a car and come visit me), when I went home one of the first questions asked, after how was I doing, was are you dating someone. My answer was usually no. I hated the question because the answer was no. My mother asked it even more often on her phone calls. I wanted to shout I’ll let you know when it happens. Generally when I was dating someone it did not line up with my trips home. I remember the pressure of that question. It was if my life was only measured by being in a relationship. Even after a decade or more my family never let up. My cousin even assured me it would happen. It did but perhaps not like anyone thought it would.
Life happened. I rolled in and out of relationships. By the time I hit a few relationships I was happy to return to the single lifestyle. Okay there was one or two that really had potential but I still thought companionship was overrated. Pleasing this other person or even feeling pleased myself was not happening as much as I thought it should. I realized that maybe I was better off single. As an only child, I had grown more accustomed to my own heartbeat than any one else’s. I enjoyed being with others but I loved coming home to solitude. I loved moving to my own drum beat without any negotiations. I loved sleeping late. I loved to being bothered. I loved my perpetual zen moment. I love being free to pursue a thought, or an event or a person. I love being single which is hard for folks to believe.
And then there was her. After I had resigned myself to being a well adapted single person, she decided to make a play. I don’t know when I knew or realized it but whenever I did it was too late to say no. And then life happened again but it happened with someone. And not that I missed companionship but I enjoyed her company. I enjoyed sharing my crab legs with someone though she is not much of sharer. I enjoyed having someone to process the events of my day and she loved hearing my voice though it would put her to sleep. I enjoyed this new path that I was on. Even though our lives intertwined very quickly around each other, I wasn’t sure about my college dream of marriage. I have tried to put breaks on that possibility. Lets just enjoy each other.
So over a month ago on her birthday she proposed to me against my verbalized wishes. And I accepted. And I put this gorgeous ring on my hand. And not being the mushy kind of person, I had greatly underestimated the power of a ring. After four days we needed to have it fitted. It was hard taking it off. It was hard letting it go. The ring has solidified some things for me. It’s like writing your name in wet cement. We are interdependent on each other. The name in the cement is permanent and real as our relationship is a solid fixture in our lives. This ring has grounded my feet and my heart in ways I never thought imaginable. I don’t know if this is the dream of yesterday or maybe it’s a new dream but it is a beautiful dream.