Dating is hard, and that’s putting it mildly.
I don’t understand why I have some wonderful friends who are single now and other wonderful friends who fell in love for the first time at fifteen years old and are still in love with each other now. I am happy for these friends. They are tasteful, even. They don’t flaunt their look-at-how-much-we-love-each-other! photos too much on facebook. I appreciate that. I appreciated it, especially, when my own heart felt just a few beats away from stopping entirely, it hurt so much. Surely this kind of pain must lead to death, I thought.
Sometimes I even hoped.
And maybe it did. Maybe we are each a different version of the phoenix; we resurrect. We don’t stay where the pain leaves us. We learn to fly. We realize that the pain and the deaths, these are not bad things. These are things that soften a heart. That strengthen a spirit, eventually. New life cannot come until a death does first. We see this in the seasons–and there, it makes sense to us. It’s not personal, because we are not the trees that lose our leaves and stand naked in the cold. We are not the flowers that drop petals seemingly senselessly until they are just stems that look nothing like the blooms that were promised. But it is the same with us. Spring comes to the flowers and the trees, and spring comes to our life, too.
But where was I?
I remember that monumental task at hand when I was first newly single again: now I have to find someone? AGAIN?
(and it didn’t help that I really seemed to choose poorly the first time, either; that was not what anyone would call encouraging)
And then the part when you like someone, really really like them, and they don’t like you back. Or do for a while and then stop.
(That wasn’t super encouraging, either)
But neither is winter to the trees and the flowers, I am thinking.
It doesn’t mean spring isn’t coming.
It’s amazing, too, how when you’re single, there are just so many trillions upon trillions of people you meet who you don’t want to date. Not even remotely.
(Do I really need to say the thing about how it’s not encouraging again? cause it wasn’t)
But I will say this. When I was single–stalwartly and undoubtedly so!–I made friends with so many people. There weren’t enough days in the week to hang out with all the new friends I was making. It was vibrant and lovely and my heart was so full, that I truly was not lonely. Of course, in the back of my mind, there was the hope of meeting someone special and telling him all my stories and making him laugh and eventually taking him home to meet my dogs and parents (in that order), but it wasn’t foremost on my mind and I stopped being worried about it, because, like I said: my heart was too full with all the wonderful people who were already occupying it.
One of those friends that I made happened to be TJ.
And it was great, because, I had so many friends, that the entire happiness and future of my life was not resting on him falling in love with me. I didn’t know if he would; I didn’t know if I would him, either. I had a lot of happiness in a lot of the relationships that were already secure. I wasn’t worried about my friendship with TJ, because I hadn’t placed all my eggs in one basket, as the saying goes. All I knew is I liked being his friend.
Then I got to liking it a lot.
Then it got to be my favorite friendship in the world.
Which is where it is now, I guess.
But don’t worry, I didn’t start posting look-how-much-we-love-each-other! photos on facebook, or anything.
My point is this: maybe don’t worry so much about dating. God knows not everyone auditions well, and a date can certainly feel like one. Make friends. Lots of them. Hang out with people. Strike up conversations. About anything. Heck, about HOW IT’S SNOWING ON THE THIRD DAY OF SPRING! And don’t go holding emotional stick-ups with anyone, pointing your heart at them, demanding they give you “everything!” or else.
That’s not a good friend. And it will also chase a potential friend away faster than you can say “Punxatawney Phil.”
(whose prediction of an early spring turned out to be entirely untrue. Maybe small furry animals can’t foretell the future, after all. WHAAaaaat?!)
So yeah, dating is hard. Super hard.
But friendships are awesome and special and the best ones can feel pretty darn easy.