I feel so happy that I dated and hung around with so many different people, and that I was single as often as I was. I gathered a lot of mildly entertaining stories, gained some superhero-level interpersonal skills and wept buckets on my friend Steph and Ammen's couch. I was convinced I'd be alone forever, which is a very important thing to be convinced of at some point in your life.
Dave and I talk about how glad we are that we fished in the open sea for as long as we did. I'm not sure why I've been thinking so much about this lately; maybe it's those Duggar girls who are suddenly everywhere, now that they're old enough to hold hands and get married. They didn't get to be unsettled before they settled down, but I sure did.
I'm grateful for that, because when you've had a lot of strange and excruciating experiences playing the field, like I have, you tend to feel keenly aware of how supremely good things are today, now that you've found your player. Even if Today means having an argument over when it's okay to turn the heat on. Or someone forgets to text when they're come home late and dinner is cold. Or maybe dinner is hot and on time and everything is great, and then someone starts to chew very loudly.
If you have a decade plus of dating and disappointment and utterly transparent late night texts behind you, then you know that this is a teeny, tiny, minuscule price to pay for what a great thing you have.
Every day when my boyfriend gets home from work I jump out of my chair and I think, "I'm so glad I'm me, and you're you, and everything happened the way it did, because now we're here and it's fabulous."
In the past twelve years, it wasn't always fabulous. Sometimes I felt like I was on one of those reality shows they have in China where the subject has no idea they're on TV. So many small indignities and tiny fires of frustration. So much time wasted shaving my legs and choosing my underwear and it always, always ended in a long, slow trudge back to the drawing board.
There was the one who who mistook me for a midget. I never even met him. The handsome ski patroller with the strong jaw line who told me about the shingles rash that started in his right nipple as I sipped a Manhattan.
There was the guy who tried to make me eat a cobra on our first date. If I'm to believe the other girls who dated him, who left comments on that post, this was something he routinely did. I guess his 'thing' was to make ladies eat mystery meat.
And the college boyfriend, the one who let a psychopath into my bedroom.
Oh those awkard times when I was single and confused and highly focused on having a fun plutonic time at game night, even though no one else was. The time that dude beat me to the punch and broke up with me, even though I already felt like I was the one settling. And I know that's a mean terrible thing to say but that's alright, because we've all felt that way at least once.
wander around a Walgreens at night, far from home, having left my job and my friends for a boy who very slowly and very surely lost interest in me. Once, I saw a picture of my ex-boyfriend with his pretty new girlfriend, on an utterly terrific ice climbing trip, and I politely gathered up my things from the cafe where I was writing and went outside and threw up. And we weren't even ever in love!
I'm not done. There was that boy from the ski race I met when I was wearing the cutest tights. That still doesn't add up to me. I thought he wanted to go skiing, but really he just wanted to send some vaguely (and I mean vaguely) naughty texts about snow pack, and that was about it, apparently. That was all she wrote.
And let us not forget Washington's final gift: the boy who literally swam across a lake to get away from me.
As for the handsome cinematographer, he never did call. What a shame he lost my number, his telephone got destroyed, he became a monk, he was kidnapped and taken to a place without cell service.
The very best part is, these are just the ones I chose to write about. There were others, and for some reason I'm relatively proud of all of it.
All of this is not to say that I was miserable for the last ten years, because nothing could be farther from the truth. And I know the Blogging Hate Site will lose its jar of marbles after reading this post, admonishing me for Counting My Chickens the way I am. And they're right! I could be knocked back in the arena at any time. We all could.
But that's not the point. The point is not how much I count my eggs, or how much I like my eggs and the one basket I've chosen to put them in. The point is this: the experiences that were very difficult and sad, and annoying, and defeating and exhausting and bewildering and even degrading at times, are now proving to be very useful and insightful.
I used to feel, after each break up or near miss, that I had wasted my time. That it had all been for nothing. But that is just not true.
I wasn't wasting my time, and neither are you.
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