Every life decade has its own set of challenges. My mom always said the 20s are the most turbulent, and I’m finally really understanding what that means! At 25, I feel like I’m steering a paddle boat through a thunderstorm (can anyone relate?!). I’m three years removed from college and I’m still finding my sea legs. I’m experimenting with careers, my parents are getting older and I’m realizing life is finite, my sister is no longer a five-minute drive away from me, friends have come and gone, and…as this post is about…I’ve been navigating the LOVE scene.
The 20s LOVE scene is weirdly diverse because some people I know are married with kids (OMG I am so not there), some are just hitched, some are engaged, some are dating, some are ready to mingle, and some are single and so not ready to mingle.
I’ve been engaged now for a year, and I’m getting married in June 2021 (hopefully with no mask on!). And let me tell you – this journey hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it (queue corny “aww!”).
Part One started in middle school. My first boyfriend lasted for two weeks. It was real serious…
Part Two was in high school. My parents met in high school and they’re still together! No such luck with me. I was treated to many Panera salads though!
Part Three was in college. My definition of LOVE in college is “a seriously not serious hormonal petri dish.” After a few years of fending off the testosterone around me, I hopped on the dating app train and started swiping away in hopes of going on a real date. I lucked out and met a guy who actually turned out to live in my hometown and graduated with my four-year-older sister, Mary. Mary was a bit freaked that I was dating this “old guy” (HA!), but I ended up seriously dating him for two years. The hardest part about Part Three was when I learned that a wonderful, nice person who I had tons of fun with was not my person. It’s hard to step back when there’s nothing blatantly wrong, but your gut says it’s not what it could be or should be.
Part Four was just over three years ago. I had broken off the relationship and it was really hard, as any breakup is. At that time in my life, I was old enough to wonder if I had made a big mistake – who knows if my gut was wrong and my life partner was POOF! Gone. My mom and sister encouraged me to get back in the dating game, and I agreed half-heartedly. I started swiping away again (because how else will you meet dudes these days?!), and I remember when I first found Eric. I was always insistent that the guy needed to be the one to reach out first, but Eric’s profile picture was of him taking a walk with his grandmother (double “aww!”). I had grown accustomed to seeing classic gym pics of men with their shirts off or pictures of drinking beers with the boys. So I messaged Eric: “Your grandmother’s so cute!” He replied, “Yes she is! You are too.” I said: “Thanks 🙂 What are you up to?” He said: “To be honest, laundry LOL.” Someone real, I thought. I smiled.
Part Five is now. Reminiscing makes me a bit teary! It’s been years since that conversation and since our first dinner together. I’m sitting next to Eric now in our tiny one-bedroom apartment, working at the kitchen table my parents gave us when we moved in together.
Part Five is when I realized my dad was right: the key to his marriage of over 40 years was finding someone he Admired.
In my 25 years, I still have much still to figure out. And I’m not sure I’ll ever eliminate the uncertainty in all big life decisions to come.
But I do know, that when I’m especially feeling the ups and downs of the 20s and beyond, I look to Eric to see how I’ll find my center of gravity. It’s within that little “A” word that I found the “One.”