The Ten Year Journey

Lately I have been doing a lot of reflecting.  This seems to happen every couple of  years and involves a great deal of time spent just thinking and pondering about where I have been and where I am going next.  What I started thinking about tonight is the culmination of the last ten years.  It has been an amazing journey of fantastic adventures, hurdles, tears and laughter.  I have several incredible friends who I have shared the journey with and who I couldn’t be where I am today if not for them.

During this last ten years, however, I have been almost 100% single.  Sure I had the two month thing with that guy who suddenly started trying to convince me to sell my house so we could buy one together and wanted me to get my tubes untied so that we could make a baby and who, after just six weeks, handed me the phone to talk to his mother who proceded to fill my ear with her excitement of “looking forward to meeting the girl who is making her son so happy”.  Woah!  Wait a minute.  Didn’t I just meet this guy a month ago?  Needless to say, he didn’t last long.  There was the other couple month fling with the guy who was so charismatic and charming, but younger than me and floated through life in a kind of Peter Pan sort of way.  There was that couple month fling with my Physics lab partner in college.   That one was easy to keep for a while because it was the purely physical secret fling.  The 10pm to 3am thing where he knows to take off before the sun rises.   For the most part, however, I have pretty much just spent all of my time with my best friends.

My best friends consist of three guys and one girl who are all very different but who I have that unconditional friendship with that is lifelong.  The kind of friends who I can bare my naked soul to and they never judge me.   I have known one for 20 years, one for 12 years, one for 8 years and one for 4 years, however, they don’t really know each other since they each spend time with me one on one.  They are the kind of friends who have seen me at my worst and seen me at my best and every other shade in between.  The kind of friendships that are most times completely drama free and when there is the rare conflict, it is generally just healthy debate or a “we agree to disagree” type of thing.  Don’t get me wrong, all four of them have wanted to choke me at one point or another.  I can be a little hard-headed at times, but I generally realize quickly that I have pushed too far and we generally don’t stay mad for long.  Overall, we are mutually thankful to know each other and have a kind of symbiosity that is hard to find in people.

They are all four extremely different, but what I realized tonight is that the common thread they all share is that they, like me, are all pretty much perpetually single.    There may be the fling or the relationship that lasts a while, but overall, we are all very single.   We have all gotten good at being single and taking care of our own worlds and we enjoy each other’s company because it is comfortable and fun and spontaneous and interesting and friendly.    My friends and I can hang out any time without worry about anyone else…because there isn’t anyone else to worry about really.  Sometimes we can hang out all night, watch movies together, even fall asleep together and it is like a slumber party.  People often don’t understand when I hang out with a guy for four years straight, night and day and rarely apart,  and he isn’t my boyfriend and we aren’t intimately involved.  It is difficult for other people to relate I have found.  But that is the way it is in my life and these friendships are something I wouldn’t trade for anything.  I have, however, always kept an eye out for that person that I can have some intimacy and passion with on a different level.  I am human, after-all, and I do desire the kind of interaction that comes from a healthy, passionate romance.   It just seems that I have fit more into the “just one of the guys”  category in a lot of ways.  My world has become a comfortable place for the perpetually single to hide out.

During these last ten years, I have had so many experiences and so many adventures and so many highs and lows.  I graduated from college as a single mom against all odds that I would be able to finish.   I started two corporations and worked like there was no tomorrow with an office and employees, but the economy and my being overwhelmed with it all just made it difficult to keep it all going beyond the end of the third year when I finally decided to throw in the towel and discover that I don’t want to live the kind of life where my career is 24/7 without time for much else.   Yet I still managed to take trips and go on a fan boat in the everglades and go camping and experience the opera and many musicals and three years at Burning Man and just endless wonderful experiences.    I have always been, within economic reason, free to decide to do something fun and just do it, and I can generally convince one of my friends to share the adventure with me.

Every couple of years I decide to try the dating thing again and go on 50 first dates in a few months so that I can realize why I prefer to be single.    It just seems like a no-brainer when I go out on a first date and the guy decides that the best initial topic of conversation is  to tell me that he never really got along with his mother until after she died.  Whoa!  That’s just a little creepy for me.  Or the endless parade of cynical guys who seem to only feel comfortable in conversation talking about the downfall of our society or how much they hate their job or how people can’t be trusted or whatever “debbie-downer” topic they can come up with.  Sometimes I would meet a nice guy who was fun to talk to but he would be awkward and lack confidence.   Then there is that nice guy who seems cool, but I just don’t have an attraction for.

For a girl like me who has managed to raise two wonderful boys, overcome adversity, complete college, run companies with employees, renovate a few houses, and everything else that I am always doing, it is just not that desirable to have a guy in my life who adds to the stress level or who needs me to take care of him or who I don’t really feel connected with.   I do, however, think about how nice it would be to interact with a guy who I can be passionate about and intimate with who is equally independent and confident and in control of his world without trying to control mine.

I did recently meet someone who I enjoy hanging out with on a different level and after a few months, we haven’t gotten on each other’s nerves.   It is exciting and overwhelming at the same time, but I find myself smiling when I think of him and anticipating our next interaction.  On our second date we both talked about how much we like being single and then we talked about “being single together”.    What could be better than that?  On our fourth date, we talked about letting things evolve naturally and not rushing.   Wow!  Now 100 days and 25 dates later, we are having a great time.  No drama, no expectations, no aggravation, no irritation….just a fantastically pleasant romance.

So tonight I thought about the last ten years and how much I have focused on my growth and maturity and finding that center.  I washed my hands, over the past four years,  of the leftover crap from the early years of my life, and really have done a lot of soul searching and cleansing.  Maybe it is finally the right time for me to be open to something more than just another best friend and maybe I am content and centered enough for someone to find me attractive on a deeper more intimate level as well.  Regardless, for now, this is really nice.

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