The other day I mentioned to my friend Natalie that I had been single for four years, going on five. I spent a good amount of time around the two and three year marks pouting and lamenting this fact, but as I have become both generally happier and also satiated with myself as company, my singledom is just a boring fact, on par with my taste for turkey bacon and the borough where I live.
As I was telling Natalie this—that I’m happy with who I am now, and who I’m with, which is myself—she looked at me with her wise, happy, married eyes and said, “Girl, the person you love will bring a new you out of you.”
A new me? I thought. Will she still like turkey bacon? There’s no real way to tell, and that’s exciting. I believe Natalie, but I have a few things I want this “new me” to remember, and so I wrote her a letter.
What’s up, you? (Me?) Looks like you’ve gone and hooked yourself a someone with whom you share meals, go on walks with, and do it. That’s cool! I am writing to you from December 2013 with some things I want you to remember. I’ll use bullet points, because the relationship you-me is probably rushing off to meet some extended family at a baby shower or something, and bullet points will help us not to forget.
• You really, really enjoy reading before bed. It’s tempting to make googley eyes at your someone until you pass out, but please only do that in moderation. Remember that snuggling up in your bed with a good book makes bedtime your favorite time of day, lunch included. Secondly, if you don’t set aside some time at night to read, you probably won’t get much done; until track work is completed on the R train, the B will continue to be too crowded to move your arms to turn pages. Preserving this time should be somewhat easily done, because you’re probably with someone who loves books, too. If you’ve somehow managed to start dating someone who doesn’t like reading, one question: what? How? I guess that’s two questions, but I really want to know.
• Never make any of your single friends feel like a third wheel if they are hanging out with you and your new squeeze. How many times have Jenna and Pat invited you to dinner, or how many little road trips have you taken with Hee-Sun and Murph without feeling extraneous, but rather like an integral part of the hangout? And on the topic of friends, make sure you allot separate friends-only hangout time. This should be a given, but just be mindful of it through the obsessed, glued-to-each-other’s-hips phase.
• Hopefully you’re not still doing that thing where you push your someone’s limits just to “see what you can get away with.” Hopefully, you’ve found someone who stands up to you. Actually, what would be a better situation is that you’ve matured enough that you’re a reasonable and compromising individual for whom this is not even an issue. But if it is, just remember what it was like in your past relationships when your someones reached their breaking point. It wasn’t pretty, and you felt like a monster.
• Remember to understand how great it is that you’ve found someone you like (or love: maybe you’re in love!) without playing “the game.” You managed to find someone who did not think you were “desperate” when you asked them out first or texted before the requisite three-day waiting period after a first date. You found someone who is not intimidated by a woman who knows what or who she wants. (Bonus points if this person is a guy, because most men are uniformly petrified of women like that.) You may have been called something like a “clinger” or even a “psycho” before you took up with this person you’re now dating, but that’s fine—your way of interacting with people you’re interested in is not everyone’s cup of tea, and the frightened ones wouldn’t have worked out in the end anyway.
• Speaking of the end, here’s one last important thing: don’t obsess over how this relationship might fizzle out, or explode, or crack into tiny little jagged pieces that keep jabbing you under your fingernails every time you reach into your purse for a pen. Try to just go along with the flow. Enjoy the milestones. (Remember the time you passed the point of farting in front of each other? That was poetic.) Let your relationship breathe; let it be what it wants to be. This is not to say you won’t have to work at it. You definitely will. But if it changes you, just make sure it’s for the better.
You or Me
Previously: Observations on a Changing Neighborhood
Photo via chriscgray/flickr.
The single Katrina Kieltyka does not need your pity, but will take any whiskey you want to send her way, thanks.