But if it's not right on the first date, I feel like you just know. There have been some dates I've been on that are CLEARLY not right. Like the person is just so weird or whatever the only thing it's going to be good for in the future is a good story to entertain your friends. (Or a good story your friends named Sarah Walling can use whist giving social media presentations for their job for instance. :) ) What's harder, though, is when the person is perfectly nice, but it's just not doing it for you for whatever reason. Like they are polite, they are nice, and nothing weird happens, but you just aren't excited about it. I tried to explain it to a couple of people that the theme of situations like these just becomes "Well, this isn't terrible," and I am pretty sure I cannot base my life around "This isn't terrible," you know? It's hard to articulate that to people, though.
On Tuesday of this week I drove to Morgantown by myself to see my family, and I was thinking a lot about this topic. I felt like maybe my standards are too high? But then I realized that I don't think that's it. I mean, I don't have requirements like the person must look this way, and have this job, and make this amount of money. It's not like that at all. My requirements pretty much are do you make me laugh, do I feel like being around you gives me energy, and are you fun? The laughing thing, though, I think is really important. I mean, even Audrey Hepburn said, “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person.”
Now, I don't have any illusions that marriage and relationships are these perfect things that are easy. I know that's not true. But I also feel like since that is true, the beginnings of them should at least be easy, right? Like at least at that time you should be laughing and having fun. You should be with someone who makes you feel good and gives you energy and makes you smile. And I especially feel like since I'm 31 I don't have time to waste on things that aren't right. I'm too much of an introvert and it just makes me too tired to have to. And also since I'm 31 I feel like it really needs to be something very special since I've waited so long for it.
As I mentioned, I was driving to Morgantown and thinking about all this. I was trying to figure out specifically how to articulate all of this correctly, when a song popped up on my playlist, and I realized -- I don't have to figure out how to articulate this because someone else already did.
And that person is Neko Case.
A bit of backstory ... when I worked in Prague, I worked at a school with my friend named Sophie. One day she brought in Neko Case's album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, and I liked it so much she burned it for me. I still love that album, and when the songs come up on the playlist I think of Sophie and our school and the time we spent together.
In the midst of my driving and thinking, the song that came up was "That Teenage Feeling." And this is the part that explains it all:
And nothing comforts me the same
As my brave friend who says,
"I don't care if forever never comes
'Cause I'm holding out for that teenage feeling
I'm holding out for that teenage feeling"
And that right there -- THAT exactly -- is how I feel.
I don't know what was in Neko's mind when she wrote it, but I can tell you that it perfectly articulates exactly how I feel about my life. If my choices are being alone or being with "This isn't terrible" then I am so totally fine with being alone. And that's not to say that there aren't a bunch of really nice people in the world, but Disney never made a movie about "aren't these people nice?" And I sense a lot of eye rolling from people who are a lot more realistic and practical than I, but I am finally learning that I can't apologize for or try to change from the person God made me to be. So ... if you need me to be, I can be your brave friend who says, "I don't care if forever never comes 'cause I'm holding out for that teenage feeling."