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Thursday, December 12, 2013

18

A Letter to Future Me

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.

•••
Dear Future Me in a Relationship,

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.

Sincerely,

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.

18 Comments / Post A Comment

Yarnybarny

This was amazing and perfect. Thank you!

meowmischen

The clingy part is especially relevant to me. Trying not to panic every time I say something potentially crazy because I don't normally act like this but what is normal anyway I haven't had a new boyfriend for 6 years ahhhhhhh

Jen@twitter

As someone who was LONG TERM single and happy with it and has just embarked on a new and exciting relationship: This is my favorite thing I've read all week. I'm trying to reconcile what it takes to be in a relationship with my "I can do whatever I want whenever I want" single life and remain true to who I was and who I am.

So thank you for this!

hexamaam

@Jen@twitter This for me too--it had been five years of singlehood until September. I've been the single one of my friends for so long that I sort of identified myself that way. My big struggle so far has been trying to open up when I'm so used to being responsible only to myself. It's hard to be vulnerable.

bbhsk

Incisive, humorous, warm, and true. As someone who is in a relationship, your piece is so affirming and helpful. Thank you for writing this!

SmartCookie

I just started dating a guy after being single forevvveeerrrr. I've finally really settled into being single and enjoying it so I'm a little sad? I guess? I have to keep reminding myself trying not to sabotage it even though I really like him. So yes, this is great and relevant and I might need to write myself a letter!

cinder.

Well, I'd definitely buy you a whiskey if we were in the same time zone. Rain check??

Be But Little

I like this. I want to share it on Facebook, but I don't want Facebook to know I'm single (or for how long).

Elvisradar

Its very interesting to read this and as I was reading it, remembered some memories..!!

toms

klemay

@Elvisradar I, too, remembered some memories, spambot. Well said.

planforamiracle

THANK YOU. I needed to read this and I may even write my own.
I've been single since June and just have been dipping my toes back in the dating thing and it's bewildering and fun and hard. I've been a serial monogamist basically forever so this at 26 this is kind of the first time I've dated. This week I was unexpectedly blindsided with a case of the "oh no I'm single at Christmas waahhhhh" feelings which I never thought I'd care about, so it's a special moment for me to read and consider a piece like this.

Exoskin

@hexamaam You just named all of my fears about getting back into a relationship after being single for(essentially)ever! I don't know if I even remember how to be with someone else, let alone opening up to them. Ugh, maybe I'll just stay single forever. Seems easier that way

chickpeas akimbo

With friends like Natalie, who needs frenemies? :-/

YoungCrone

@chickpeas akimbo Just wait until Natalie has kids. Then when a friend mentions being happy, she'll look at them with her wise, tired, mother's eyes, and say "Girl, being a mommy will bring a new you out of you." Or maybe "Girl, the person you love will bring a new baby out of you."

amesville

in short: you are not your relationship. You exist outside the bounds of the relationship, and within it, but it does not define you.

Mirco Simoncinio@facebook

a psychological journey in and out of you

Genba

Jeff Lee

I like being single. I decided that it's best for me to work on myself before getting back into dating.
-The Decider

Sandra Diamond@facebook

i am hear to give testimony of how i got back my husband, we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted traditional spell hospital for the return of my husband to me, he told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he traditional spell hospital casted on him that make him comeback to me today,me and my family are now happy again today. thank you traditional spell hospital for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact traditionalspellhospital@gmail.com. and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

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