This time last year, I was miserable.
I was living in an apartment I truly hated and I was still painfully, achingly single and hurting over my ex. I was in a sorry state to say the least. Angry, lonely, scared and scarred.
I had a lot of good things in my life too — friends, family, a career I enjoyed along with a life of travel that I loved. But ultimately I was sad and broken. And the fourplex I lived in further compounded my misery — it was dark and old, hardly any natural light. I could hear every single thing my neighbors did. One time, when I returned home from a trip, my apartment was filled with flies. Why? Well this old house had a lot of space under it and some animal had accidentally crawled up underneath and then into the walls.
And then it DIED. And my landlord said there was nothing to do but wait till the flies ate the body. Shudder.
I. was. MISERABLE.
I have often been given the advice that you truly have to enjoy your life as a single person before you’re ready for a relationship.
I call bullshit.
I hated being single. Sure, at first when I left my ex 6 years ago, being single was exactly what I needed and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed learning about myself, who I really was. I enjoyed having free nights and endless possibilities. But when I had had my fill of frivolity and finally had an idea of who I was, and I was ready to be serious with someone again, dating was a nightmare. I am not built for casual encounters and yet that was all I was finding. So many pointless, meaningless dates filled with false promises, a surprising lack of self-awareness and emptiness.
And then I stumbled into the most painful kind of love and had my heart crushed in a way that felt like it couldn’t be mended.
This time last year, I was a disaster. I had honestly just stopped dating – not because I loved my single life, oh no. But because I just couldn’t TAKE IT anymore. I hated being single, but dating was so much worse. And I realized I would rather be alone than subject myself to a lot of senseless encounters.
It wasn’t any of my date’s faults, they weren’t terrible men. It was always just … timing. I was ready and open for something serious while half of the people I dated where newly out of relationships or too busy in their careers or just simply not ready in the same way I was.
For the longest time I thought I needed to … somehow find a way to be like everyone else. Chill, casual, cool. Taking the fleeting connections where I could find them. But every time I tried that, it felt like I was lying. It felt false. And I would combust and then feel defeated.
What I’ve come to realize is that there was nothing wrong with the men I was dating. And there was also nothing wrong with me. It truly was just … timing.
This time last year, I had finally accepted that maybe I wasn’t ever going to find someone. And while I didn’t like that idea and I internally bristled at the thought of it, I had finally accepted that it might be a reality and that it would have to be ok. Because dating was causing me more grief and I had to protect what was left of my broken self … flaws, anxiety, neuroses and all.
Then, randomly last summer, I ran into a guy I’d known for years, but had never really been close too, at an event for some mutual friends of ours. I went over to say ‘hi’ and the rest is history. Well, it wasn’t quite that simple but I’ll write of that some other time.
It’s still new and I know this. We’re not even at a year. But it feels like … well, it feels like … always. Like I’ve always known him, like we’ve always been dating, like everything in our paths was leading to this. I don’t know why. And I can’t explain it. I can’t explain how in the five years we spent around each other nearly every weekend night, we never really talked. I can’t explain how this person I never even considered — not because he’s not attractive or smart or funny but because we just never really spent time by ourselves — is now someone I couldn’t imagine being without.
We are 9 months into our relationship and we are living together. And we are quarantined with two dogs in a very small place together, during a tense and uncertain time in the world. But it’s easy with him. It’s so easy, I don’t even understand it. Nothing has ever been easy for me with relationships. Ever. But … he eases my anxiety. He is generous with his love and affection as I am with him. He sees me and understands me and even when I’m a mess of absurd emotions, he is patient with me.
It’s still early, I know this. I’ve been in long-term things, I know it isn’t always easy. But I will say, of all the relationships I’ve ever been in, this is the most … fitting in so many ways. We like the same things, we have similar temperaments but we have just enough opposites to keep us intrigued by each other. He is order and I am chaos and yet somehow it fits just right. It’s magic and it’s strange to me how we didn’t connect sooner and yet … and yet … timing is everything, isn’t it?
We’ve said it before, that if we’d dated any sooner in the five years we’d known each other, that it likely wouldn’t have worked. And how wonderful is that? That two people with wildly different paths and stories and so many mistakes and heartbreaks … who orbited each other for nearly five years without anything ever happening … finally connected one night and it was like a puzzle piece locking in place.
Deep down, I’ve always hoped that universe was benevolent. Universe, god, life, whatever you believe in. But I will confess, there were times, especially in the past few years, where I struggled with this idea. My heart felt … heavy and my life felt hollow at times.
But …. the universe is good. This time last year I was absolutely miserable. I knew things would eventually change … but I had given up trying to make it change and I lost hope as to when it might. I hated being alone, but it felt like there wasn’t ever going to be another option and so I had started to make my peace with that fact.
Now here we are in the middle of a world crisis, where we are forced to be isolated from family and friends and everyone … and I’m not alone. And maybe it seems cheesy or weak or silly to cite that as a reason why I believe the universe is good, but for me, this is what my soul needed. He is what my soul needed.
It’s not a perfect world and there is still so much darkness and uncertainty, but ultimately I still believe that it is a kind and benevolent universe we live in.
And for that I’m eternally grateful.