Lately I’ve been seeing friends sharing on social media* that they are feeling frustrated with how little they have accomplished in their lives or are struggling to build the life they want. This is probably because I turned 30 just a couple months ago. We’re all turning 30 and taking a bit look around and where we’re at and who we are. Most of my frustrated pals are in committed romantic relationships, some are married.
In reflecting a bit on my life I feel incredibly proud of what I have accomplished and the life I have built. The worst part of my daily life is when my neighbor’s play their annoying (to me) music super loud. That and cleaning up dog poop. Those are not problems. Those are minor inconveniences – well, one inconvenience and one responsibility.
Anyway, in reflecting and comparing my reaction to turning 30 (hooray! life is great! the best is yet to come!) and the reaction of many of my peers (i’ve done nothing. i’m old. this is terrible), I realized how much I have idolized romantic relationships as an end-all, be-all, fix-all. It was baffling to me that these people in committed romantic relationships could look around at their life and see anything but butterflies and roses. I have honestly thought before, “How could she be unhappy with her life or herself? She has a handsome husband.”
Typing it all now seems ridiculous, but I’m just now healing myself of this lie that romance fixes everything. I learned the whole, “Wherever you go, there you are,” truth after moving to a foreign country and still being the same person. But I’m just now learning the “Whoever you date/marry, there you are,” truth.
“Whoever you date, there are you.”
I am learning this truth despite NOT ACTUALLY DATING ANYONE** which sometimes feels like a universal injustice. Which really means that I believe that I’ve EARNED the right to date someone and I’ve PROVEN myself worth of dating someone because of all of the other choices I’ve made in my life. Which means I think that GOD works like the prize counter at Chuck E Cheese. “Here God! Look at all the tickets I’ve won! I graduated from college. I’ve remained steadily employed since my teenage years. I’ve moved to a foreign country just to SERVE YOU WITH MY SKILLS God! Surely all of these obedience-tickets can redeem one Jesus-loving, tattooed, tall, male musician, so I’ll take mine bilingual. Thanks.”
Big picture I am grateful to work through my intense objectification of elligible bachelors before there is an actual living, breathing bachelor invested in me and my life. And I’m obviously talking about more than just sexual objectification. Going into a relationship with the belief that, “Now everything will be great and awesome forever and ever because I have a romantic partner*,” is not a good way to enter a relationship.
The first step toward change is acceptance, right? So here I go, accepting that what I once deep down believed has turned out to be a lie. Even when I am finally in a romantic relationship (she says with faith) I will still have hard days and crap to work through. I will still be the same flawed person, just with a whole nother person’s preferences and feelings and schedule to consider. While I accept this realization and the actual truth (whoever you date, there you are), I share it here, on the internet, with the hopes that someone can relate and maybe feel less alone or more sure that they’re moving in the right direction.
Despite never having really been in a romantic relationship, I feel pretty confident in saying that they are not the end-all, be-all, fix-all. No matter who you date, there you are.
*I am not at all judging people for processing on social media. Obviously I’m into that.
**At one time I actually said (more than once) that I wanted to be “done having kids” by the time I turned 30. Yet here I sit, 30, flirty, thriving, and having kissed only one boy half my life ago.
***I don’t really love the word “boyfriend” when thinking about a romantic relationship of my own. I’m a 30 year old woman. I don’t want a boyfriend. I want a LIFE PARTNER. But in these kinds of discussions I feel it’s important to clarify *romantic partner* lest anyone think I’m looking for another kind of partner.