Thursday, August 8, 2013

everything changed and it's all the same

Last week, I was having a conversation with a close friend about my love life. We sat there discussing the latest rollercoaster I was on, and the ups and downs I’ve been through in recent weeks, and the fact that I have a set of boomerangs that keep coming back every 4-6 months. Note to self - if this keeps happening, perhaps we should change the boomerang analogy to satellites. Taking leaps of faith and opening my heart to new adventures in love can be taxing at times. At one point, he mentioned how much my search for finding the right man for me has changed over the years that he’s known me.

I didn’t know what he meant at first. Seriously – I started looking for a good man and I’m still looking for one. Nothing has changed. I told him just that.

Later, as I thought about it some more, I realized exactly how right he was. Everything about my search has changed, even while my end goal has stayed the same. I nearly called him late that night to tell him he was right, but I don’t want to give him too much of an ego!

Once upon a time, in my twenties, I wanted a husband, a couple of kids, and a white picket fence life. I’d bake cookies, run to football games or piano practice, and we’d have dinner together every night. I wanted a tall, good looking man who loved country music and sports, who would play games with the kids and take me out dancing on Saturday nights. The list kept going…

As time rolls on, I realize that I will probably not have children of my own, I eat popcorn and wine for dinner some nights, and I run to happy hour and spend time laughing with friends. I’m still looking for someone to build a life with, but it's a different sort of life. In fact, as I look at where I am now, I wonder a little what would have happened if I'd stuck it out with a few of my exes - the one who didn't want kids, the one who wasn't ready to settle down, or who pushed me in directions I was convinced I didn't want to go. Would they smile and laugh, seeing that now, after all this time, I've chosen the same direction myself? I just wasn't ready for them then. But, if they could see me now...

I’ve dated good guys and bad boys. Men who were intellectual and could literally discuss rocket science, and men who barely graduated high school and whose bodies show how physically intense their work is, whether it’s raising cattle, fighting wild fires or building houses. Athletes and geeks. You name a type, I’ve probably at least gone on one date with a guy like that.

I have done a really good job of finding out what I don’t want. And in turn, finding out what I really do. It took me a long time to realize, and even longer to be ready to talk about the things I need in a relationship.

The crappy part about knowing what I really need now? It makes finding him even harder. In general, the qualities I’m looking for are similar to my original list, but they are much more refined. It’s like the high definition version of the list from my twenties. There were things I wanted back then that I described in physical qualities and facts. The list now is much more about finding a man with the right character and personality for me. Really, I don’t care as much about his physical features as I do about whether he makes me feel like a woman standing next to him. I won't lie though - I do like them tall. I don’t care about what he does for a living, but I do care about his work ethic. It doesn’t matter if he loves country music, as much as it matters that something evokes his passionate side like music, dancing and writing does for me.

In the last year of dating, as my list of wants and needs has evolved, I’ve come across a few men who started checking things off the list. The new list! It’s refreshing and so welcome. It gives me hope that I’m on the right track. Have I already met him, are we already friends, or is he still someone unknown? Time will tell. And so I keep on searching, to find the one with whom my heart belongs. 

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