Defining My New Year

You know she played the fiddle in an Irish band/But she fell in love with an English man

What a busy holiday season! A brief update: I finished my 5th semester of school and only have one more left, flew home for 12 days to enjoy Christmas with my family and friends in the States, and then flew back through Brussels to spend New Year’s with my housemates. Since last time I’ve written, I was let go/quit/contract expired from my hotel job, and now have a new hotel that I’ll be trying out these next few weeks, as well as an interview as a bartender in a local pub within the next few days. I’m going to keep looking around until I find the right place, but it is comforting to know that getting a job where my language skills aren’t as polished as I’d like isn’t a hindrance, and that I’m not as limited to the type of work that I previously thought I was. Additionally, while I was home I got to spend some much needed quality time with friends and family (even though ‘home’ is relative as I feel as at home here in Middelburg as I do in Riverside). I had lunch and tea with my high school German teacher in her new kitchen (and she put heated up the water in the microwave!!), drinking tea with me in her pretty kitchen was high on both of our bucket lists. I looked through photo albums with my godmother, had cozy conversations with Pat, caught up with Harris and his family, ran with my old high school mates, late night car conversations, Starbucks dates, car rides with the top down, quiet strolls through the Riverside Plaza, and exploring Prescott, Arizona! Those stories may appear in later posts, but for now you will have to be content with the laundry list of activity. I still haven’t properly spent time digesting all of my interactions.

I also kick started another blog. Check it out: www.runthisworld.blog. Basically, I want to build a portfolio for a future writing career of some sort, and I want to get the Roosevelt Runners sponsored, so what better way than to combine two things I love into one blog? It’s more streamlined and focused than this one (which is basically a journal) but it’s a step in the right direction I think. I won’t stop writing here, but depending on how much time I have, posts will probably become less frequent.

Gosh I feel like I just wrote a Christmas card outlining my past three weeks. For an even more current update: I just came back from a coffee date with Bram and Anneke, my adopted Dutch grandparents. Onto discussing more important matters: Defining My New Year.

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Last year, I was reading this book called The Defining Decade by Meg Jay. Dani had read it, suggested I read it, and my mom gave it to me for Christmas. So last December, at 19, I was reading a self-help book about how to make the most of my 20s. I thought it would be good prep for when I started my 20th year of life five months later. This year, I picked that book up and read it again. And what’s interesting, is that rereading something is almost like rereading a journal entry: the words remain the same, and the thoughts and feelings I had in that moment are encased in the memory of reading each vignette. But the person reading those words now is different than the person reading them a year ago. The book makes more sense to me now than it did last year, like last year it was advice on theory, and this year its advice on fact. I like the book now just as much as I did last year, if not more. I think I’ll make it a December thing to reread it and make sure I don’t get caught in the common 20’s thinking traps that make it difficult to find a focus and purpose post-graduation.

But rereading this book has also made me reflect on my 2017, not that this is the only thing that did so, I reflect on my reflection on my reflections, but it added another angle. Its no secret that 2017 was the year of Boy for me. Oh boy. I basically jumped into the deep end last January, and hoped I’d learn to swim while drowning until August. Good times. But everybody needs their time to drown and flounder, and I’m hoping that with the end of 2017, so too is the end of my floundering. And rereading this book has definitely added another layer of clarity to what I want. As well as matching this book up with Pat conversations about relationships and sex.

IMG_0111So here is my verdict: dating is not fun. The up feelings of falling in like, the down feelings of getting hurt, the confusion between like and lust, the effort of trying to remember and absorb everything I can about Boy, is just exhausting. And repeating it all over is even more tiresome. T is a civil engineer with a scandalous tattoo that wants to work for his despised dad after graduation, R wants to live in a different place every five years and doesn’t have the best relationship with his younger brother, S is big into photography and spent the past year in Boston and wants to move to Canada, oh and L quit his job in finance, didn’t go to university, and has a butterfly effect view of life, quite existentialist of him. My brain is tired of remembering, and my heart is tired of caring for someone who hasn’t cared enough to care for me in return. Throw intimacy into this carousal of emotions, and things become even more complicated. It becomes a scorecard or power struggle, and that scares the hell out of me, because that’s not what intimacy is supposed to be. Or it’s trivial fun, until the next day comes and he’s gone, physically, emotionally, or intellectually, and then I’m left to pick up the hopeless pieces, or cry on the lonely car ride home.

What both The Defining Decade and Pat had to say did strike the last chord in me: couples will try to fit their lives together because it is convenient or the sex is good, rather than actually assessing if their personalities, values, and goals align for a good match.

So my new year’s resolution is to just chill. I want a good match, I don’t want a relationship based on convenience, and I believe sexual compatibility should be grown, not tested. No more blind dives and drowns. Maybe I’ll still get hurt and want to swear off guys forever, but this year, I want to go slower, with more patience, and less pressure to ‘get it right’. I only want one person in this world, and he’ll come around when he comes around. I don’t need to know everything about him within the first two weeks. Taking my time will take away pressure to make hasty decisions, and allow me to enjoy his presence. And if it doesn’t work out in the beginning, then hopefully I won’t be heartbroken over it, because I won’t be disproportionately invested.

Bitterly typical of me, all of this overthinking is mostly unnecessary, because I’m not interested in relationships at the moment. In six short months, my life will be completely different, and I need to come to terms with that first. But at least by the time the next Boy prances by, I’ll be prepared. And hopefully he’ll be a Man.

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