Recently, through the magic of technology, I was taken three years into my past. It was the summer after my freshman year of college, I had just turned nineteen and I was working at a daycare. During my lunch break, I decided to post this tweet:
This hashtag haunts me. Did I really think at nineteen that I was going to be forever alone? Yeah, I really did. At least, it felt that way.
Throughout middle and high school I was obsessed with the idea of true love. I never had an interest in dating if I didn’t think it was real and could potentially last forever. I wasted a lot of time, energy, and tears looking for the right person in high school but ended up graduating single. I was basically the only person I knew who was eighteen and never had a boyfriend.
The summer after graduation, I moved away from Birmingham and decided to do something different. To just give in and say yes to whoever asked me out first. This was a huge mistake.
The relationship that followed was a disaster from the start. He was a pretty good guy, but we had less than nothing in common. For three months I basically pretended to be someone else, then ended it. This might have been the most selfish thing I’ve ever done.
Skip ahead about a year and that brings us to where I was, sitting at Taco Bell, feeling as if I would forever be alone in the world. I was determined not to date anyone else until I finally found what I was looking for.
Little did I know that seven days after I posted this tweet, I would meet the man I was going to marry.
The moment I saw Daniel, everything felt different. Like a change in the atmosphere, something shifted. I’ve never believed in love at first sight, and I’m still not sure that I do, but I know that as soon as I saw him things changed. (If you want to read the full story on how we met, click here)
It was only after we met that I was able to really look back at my life with some clarity. Being on my own for those high school years helped me so much more than I ever gave it credit for. Unlike so many of my peers, I wasn’t trying to be something else for someone else. I just focused on the things I really liked. I grew a pretty great taste in music and I read a lot of fantastic books. I learned that going to the movies alone is one of my favorite things and I laughed at my own jokes. I made incredible friendships along the way, and spent as much time as possible with my family.
If it hadn’t been for that time on my own, I wouldn’t have become the person Daniel fell in love with.
Life is so much bigger than who you’re dating. It’s more than how old you were when you got your first kiss or who took you to senior prom. Life is much more about the small moments in between the big ones. If I never got over myself enough to focus on things other than falling in love, I would be the most boring person on earth. Instead, I learned a lot from my friend’s mistakes, I had plenty of time to spend figuring out who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do.
I won’t pretend to know God’s plan and why things happen the way they happen, all I know is that when I stopped trying so hard, that’s when I met my husband. When I decided to be happy on my own instead of suffering through life, I found him. Right in front of me.
But even if I hadn’t, even if I were still on my own, I would still be complete. Because it’s not anyone else’s responsibility to bring happiness and contentment to my life, it’s mine.
So no matter how alone you may feel, keep reminding yourself that there’s so many other things for you to be happy about and plenty of people who love you.
You’re not forever alone.