Friday, August 9, 2013

The Inexpert

Last week, I went to Oregon with some of my family to celebrate my half-sister Ellen's marriage, and we also got to swing by my uncle's house on Sunday to spend the day with them.

We went to church with their family, and my cousin asked me to go with her to the teenager class, so I did.  The lesson was on dating standards, and therefore simultaneously interesting and awkward.

Why awkward?  Because, being the only person in the room besides the teacher old enough to date, and being married on top of it, I was asked to give "expert insight" on the matter.  And I certainly have never considered myself an expert in dating-- ha!

Afterward, I went for a walk with a couple of my cousins, and talked about how funny the lesson had been for me, especially since I'm really not the best example for successful dating.  One (or both) of them made a comment about how I must've done something right, because here I am, married with a baby (actually, the term used was "possible velociraptor") on the way.

The comment kind of took me aback.  I suppose to someone who doesn't know my whole life story (and believe me, nobody would want to), it might appear like I've had some kind of success in the dating-people world.  But I honestly look back and proverbially face-palm myself as I watch how I stumbled and flopped around like a fish out of water at any and all attempts at romance.  I think the only reason I ended up married is because I figured out the one thing that works: I stopped trying.  And it helped that Sam had incidentally stopped trying at the same time, we became friends, and one thing led to another.

I wasn't "dating" anybody.  I wasn't looking for romance at ALL, you can ask Sam.  It was more that I noticed that trying so hard to be "happy" was making me incredibly UN-happy, and so it was time to quit.

In the time I took to really, legitimately, stop caring about all that stuff, I was probably the happiest I'd ever been.  Being alone, being comfortable with yourself-- that's one of the best feelings there is.  I became more confident and more "me", and that, surprisingly (or not so), attracted someone.  And I put up a bit of a fight, until I realized that while it was good to be alone, I really did want to have someone to be myself with (if that makes sense), so if there was an opportunity where I wasn't making a complete fool of myself, I ought to take it.  Plus, even if you do marry someone, you still need to be comfortable spending time alone with yourself.
Be happy to spend time alone

But that's beside the point.  The point is, I never dated.  I had a few set-up dates, and one date where I plucked up the courage to ask someone out, but nobody was ever interested in asking *me* out.  And everyone I ever "dated" was lame for one reason or another, ie not letting me put my feet on the dashboard, telling me to pick a radio station and then changing it to country after I'd settled, not wanting to talk to me when certain people were around, way more seriously lame reasons, etc.  Boys are fools.  Well, girls are too.

I'm not really sure who I'm writing this for.  So if you get something from it, awesome.  Otherwise, I think it's just to point out something that is kind of hard to see until you step back afterward and realize: "Huh.  I guess I didn't need to stress myself out and try so hard and drive myself into depression trying to make sense of it all, because, well, it doesn't make sense.  And when you quit trying, that's when it comes together."

Of course, this isn't true for everybody.  But I still think it's pretty true.  So stop worrying about it.  If it happens, it happens.  If not, you can still be pretty dang happy.