There is a specific time after my family’s Thanksgiving feast when everyone around the dining table pushes their plate away and reluctantly lets fatigue follow in the wake of the delicious food. It is at this time that everyone retreats to different corners of the house with their spouse or significant other to take a brief nap before the big game begins.
It is at this time, every year, that I retreat to my bedroom with my favorite cat and watch Netflix. No, I haven’t had a super-intense-significant-other yet… or at least one that has been serious enough to bring to a meal, holiday, or any kind of family infested event.
This year, I am going to be 20 years old: out of my teens but yet, still not able to guzzle Pino Grigio legally. Anyway… it began when I was about 15. Members from what seemed like every branch of my family tree began mindfully pushing small talk back to the same question: ‘Are you dating anyone?’.
And it is at this time that I smile, shake my head, and let the words “not right now”, slip out of my mouth quickly and curtly. Then, I mastermind the conversation to topics about my utter success in school, playing off that I am simply too busy for a boyfriend, which is only about 60% true. Yay feminism.
And strangely, in a world where my friends began their relationships in middle school, I am actually, totally okay with not having been in a serious relationship.
I am almost twenty. I am only, almost twenty.
60 years ago, women my age were married off, whether it was by love or lust or a Baby-Boom produced shotgun wedding… they were domesticated. They didn’t travel. They didn’t meet random strangers and dance the night away. They didn’t seize every experience or opportunity that sits, waiting, in this world. They didn’t discover who they were before they became someone with someone else.
They stayed home. They were wives, and they were mothers.
Yes, being those things can be wonderful and fulfilling, but… there is just so much more.
I believe there are experiences and energies and scenic views we are meant to seen and experienced before we die. I want to, not only be alive, but thrive on life. I want to explore not only the world, but myself as well, and see what kind of woman I am on my own before I am a woman with a man.
Ever since I was little, my mother always told me I was born with an old soul. She was right; I watched the Earth evolve as I bloomed with it, creating my own views on the world rather than duplicating other’s thoughts and ideas. I have always known what a real relationship looked like versus a doomed one; it is not walking me to my next period or buying me CVS discount, Valentines chocolates. It is not an empty box of condoms produced by a ‘honeymoon phase’. A serious relationship is waking up beside your other half and demonstrating a full life of compassion, love and respect, entangled with optimism and excitement. I was never lucky enough to see it in my parents, but I saw it in the world. I saw it in an elderly couple, dancing to Frank Sinatra. I saw it in a groom’s face as his future walks down the aisle. I have seen serious love.
Quite simply, I do not want to waste my time in a bouquet of chocolates and condoms, dribbling in and out of short, lustful relationships just for the sake of dating or so I can have someone at a family dinner. I want the real deal, leave-my-toothbrush-at-your-apartment, buy-me-a-steak-dinner-because-you-love-me real.
It is important for me to discover who I am on my own, who I am in this world. It is vital that we only spend our precious time on a real relationship, rather than those of falsehood and doom. It is then, and only then, will I discover who I am with someone else.