The Six-Month Mark

My first date with Mr. Idea lasted nearly 24-hours, only interrupted by my hostessing shift at some wannabe-ritzy restaurant in North Carolina. We met for brunch and then stayed up all night talking, watching movies, and getting to know one another. My first date with Mr. Fire was similar, lunch shifted into cooking dinner, which moved to drinks and a very passionate first kiss. Mr. Fling and Mr. Disappear were all alike – I was smitten and convinced within seconds of chatting away.

After each of these dates, I excitedly called my mom, spilling the details and reading off his resume to convince her of this guy’s potential. She listened while repeating, “that’s great” and “how sweet” when the conversation permitted her to speak. And at the end of each monologue while I was still consumed with the splendor of a date-gone-well, I would ask: “So mom, what do you think?”

Cautious of giving me advice because she knows how strongly I take her opinion to heart, her answer has always been the same: “He sounds great and I’m glad you’re happy, but remember, you won’t see someone’s true colors for six months.”

Oh, mothers. Don’t you hate when they’re always right?

Mr. Fire and I almost made it to six months, Mr. Idea and I broke up right around six months, and the ones that lasted longer than half a year, probably shouldn’t have. Because of this, I’ve always feared the six-month mark in a relationship – it feels like the make-it or break-it point where the relationship will either continue healthily or fall to pieces.

And here Mr. Possibility and I are, flirting with the half-year mark, though we’ve known each other almost as long as I’ve been writing this blog. Our relationship has had its fair share of ups and downs and it’s required both of us to compromise to meet each other’s needs. We’ve traveled distances by car and by plane, lived together for a few weeks in between leases, and weathered the storms of the past while hoping for a future. We’ve had to spend time apart to learn how to miss one another, we’ve had to fight to learn how to accept our flaws, and we’ve had to grow as people so we could grow as a couple. While our story is probably more tangled and complicated than most relationships, I think what makes us connect is stronger than what’s connected me to men I’ve loved before.

Because with Mr. P, it was the first time I took things really slow.

I didn’t call my mom after our first date because I wasn’t sure if I was interested in him. I didn’t swoon over him, even though I fell in front of him on that silly bus. Partly because my focus was on myself because of this blog and partly because I just was exhausted of looking for love, when we crossed paths, I didn’t picture what tomorrow could be. Instead, for the very first time, I enjoyed getting to know him without placing any pressure on anything. Neither of us had any expectations and so when things worked out, when things progressed, when we became an item instead of just dating, we were happily surprised.

So maybe the six-month indication of success or failure doesn’t apply to this relationship. Maybe it does – I’m not sure. But for me, I didn’t need to hang around for half-a-year to figure out what Mr. P’s true colors were because I saw them way before I became his girlfriend, way before we kissed for the first time. I fell for his friendship, not for my own romantic ideas of a future that’s yet to be determined.

For now,he and I, and us, is still a possibility.

Daily Gratitude: Today, I’m thankful for a stellar Sunday morning with French toast, bacon, coffee, and orange juice. 

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Love Me That Much

Today, sitting on the boardwalk at Long Beach with Mr. Possibility eating the unhealthiest lunch you could imagine (Italian ice, nachos and hot dogs with a side of Red Bull and Vitamin Water), I was so distracted by an elderly couple a few benches down, I hardly heard a word Mr. P said.

The couple, probably in their late 80s, wearing matching yellow polos and khaki pants ate chocolate ice cream cones while they watched the kiddos (yeah, us 20-somethings) frolic on the beach below. It appeared the woman wasn’t completely there, as a nurse aid sat feet from them, observing sorta-intently. But the couple talked, the woman laughed. The man looked at her with love in his wrinkled eyes. She smiled up at him. And ice cream dripped from her chin to nearly her knees, staining her Land’s End-inspired attire.

He didn’t notice at first and neither did the nurse (who was now engaged in an intense conversation on her cell phone in Spanish), but then he saw the destruction. He grabbed his own napkin and opened it to reveal the clean part inside and started rubbing her face before he realized he just didn’t have enough. He looked over at the concession stand and then at the nurse helplessly, probably thinking he couldn’t leave her alone but needed to get something to clean up the mess.

Maybe it’s my Southern manners or my tender heart that leads me to tears during Animal Shelter commercial with Sarah Mclahlan singing, but I instinctively stood up in the middle of Mr. Possibility going on about something (as he usually does) and ran to get a handful of cheap quality paper towels. By the time I reached them, the nurse had came to the rescue but without proper tools. She looked relieved when I showed up with my gift and thanked me profusely. I grinned at the couple and they returned the gesture to me.

“It’s good ice cream, isn’t it sweetie?” The man asked his wife. She nodded sweetly and looked up at me, maybe trying to find words, maybe  unsure of what was going on. I wished them a good day at the beach and the man labeled me a “kind young woman” as I walked away to rejoin Mr. Possibility and his miniature pile of nachos.

Though we enjoyed the rest of the day by the shore and now both have sunburns to show for it (apparently an Irish background doesn’t serve anyone well in the blistering sun), as we caught the LIRR back to Penn, I couldn’t get the image of those woman’s eyes out of my head. They were light blue and freckled with specs of green, just like mine. There were lines and ages spots lining her lashes like liner, but she still breathed an air of youth and naivety. She was beautiful in a way someone can only be beautiful once they’ve loved a lot, lost a lot and have found a peace within themselves and their lives. It’s not a beauty I’ll ever claim, but maybe some 20-something will see that same luster in me one day.

Looking over at Mr. Possibility as he reads his second book of the summer, holding his bookmark (a picture of us) in his hand, I thought about age. Could I love someone through decades of trials? Through career and baby bumps, mortgages and struggles, carpooling and soccer games, ballet lessons and retirement funds? When they start to lose their hair or when it turns nearly all gray instead of wisdom-inducing highlights? When their belly competes with Santa’s, when sex isn’t as passionate or frequent, when illnesses strike, when miscarriages happen, when kids grow and then leave, when houses rot and things and people fall apart?

And will someone love me that much?

To sit by me on a bench as chocolate ice cream dribbles down me and still want to take care of me? To protect me and stand by me, no matter how many wrinkles I sport or when the time comes that my boobs rest near my knees? To see me through menopause and the battle to keep myself in one piece, as I’ve read in dozens of magazine is something that’s difficult with a house full of kids and a husband who needs more attention. To support my career and support me if it doesn’t go exactly as planned – or if it does, to not be intimidated by my success? To hold my hand when I feel unsteady and one day, when I need it to even walk? Will someone see through the age and still be able to picture the same face they fell for when I was 20 or 30-something, full of vitality and courage, unbothered by the world and uninterested in its damnations?

I don’t know the story behind that couple. I don’t know if their romance was fiery and complicated, or if they were high school sweethearts or letter writers from some war. I don’t know if they have children or if those children have children. I don’t know where they’re from or why they decided to sit on Long Beach on a Friday afternoon, right before the clouds encompassed the never-ending blue sky.

But I do know that regardless of where my life takes me, how many magazines I write for, how many loves I have, or how many days I spend at the beach, listening to the sound of the ocean and feeling the sand crinkle between my toes, one day many, many moons from now, I hope to be standing by the side of a man who would rather eat ice cream with me and think about all the love we have and the memories we’ve created - like the time I showered myself in a chocolatey mess – than be anywhere else in the world.

Daily Gratitude: I’m thankful for those Louie Armstrong moments that just keep coming. 

In Terms of a Blog

Do I think in terms of blogs or are my blogs the products of my thoughts?

After hundreds of days (over 300 now!) of writing, I’m not so sure anymore. This space, this blog, these words have become such a part of my life, so engraved into my everyday functions that it’s strange (and sad and refreshing and…) to think of my life without it. It’s so much a part of me now that my friends always make sure I’ve written for the day before we go out: “Linds, did you write today? I don’t want a midnight curfew, we don’t turn into pumpkins because of your blog!” And it’s a topic of discussion between Mr. Possibility and I after we have an intimate chat or we go on a trip or have an adventure he’d rather keep between us: “Hey, Tigar, don’t write about this in tomorrow’s post, okay? Please?”

And so I write earlier, I schedule a few out, I leave out some details here and there, and I do the best I can to keep my commitment to the blog, to myself, to this journey without sacrificing friendships. But always being on deadline (even if it’s one I created for myself) has a way of keeping constant pressure on you. These days, my battle with self-worth isn’t nearly as difficult – minus a few insecurities, I’m pretty happy. I’ve learned how to maintain a healthy relationship without losing myself in the process, and though it is far from perfect, it’s the most honest I’ve been with myself and with another person I’m involved with. I’m not exactly where I’m meant to be, but I’m somewhere and for now, that’s good enough for me.

Most of the time, now, as compared to six months ago, I don’t have something to work through or a task at hand that requires deep thought and consideration. I’m stable and secure, figuring out the ups and downs as they come, and mostly, not needing to write it out to work it out. But because I decided long before I reached this period of self-fulfillment, I vowed to be a daily blogger for a year as a way to keep myself focused on the progression of my 12-step program, I just can’t quit when life is pretty easy. Or when I’m happy.

However – I also can’t live my life in terms of a blog.

I can’t look at every experience I share – with M, with K, with R, with E, with J or N as potential blog material. I can’t chronicle my developing relationship with Mr. Possibility through a dot com, some things, most things are meant to be private.  I can’t end a fun night at 10 p.m. so I have enough time to get home and write before the clock strikes 12 and I miss a day. This blog was started because I wasn’t living my life how I wanted to be, and now that I am, the blog has to develop, not cease.

But how do you stop thinking as a blogger? How do you just enjoy a moment without wondering how it will translate into words or how you’ll describe this feeling, this experience, as beautifully as it is? How do you stop scribbling down ideas when your career is all about ideas?

How does a blogger – a writer – live without working on a make-believe deadline?

Daily Gratitude: I’m thankful for Central Park and all of its beauty and clarity.

A Time to Rub Feet

When your only wardrobe options are ugly panties and cocktail dresses, you know it’s time for laundry.

Deciding I couldn’t actually go to work in a little black dress tomorrow, no matter how sexy and curve-defining it is on me, I finally gave in and paid the extra $10 to have someone else do my laundry for me today. I became one of those city-folk who simply didn’t have the time: today is my only day without an “extra-curricular” activity after work, and if I needed to clock three miles before the gym closed, buy groceries, and write a few freelance posts – I couldn’t waste time at the mat.

I’ll give credit to my friend K who only had great things to say about sending her wash away, amazed I hadn’t given in yet – and welcomed me to New York when I agreed. It was a great investment of my hard-earned cash, especially since it’ll be ready tomorrow morning before work, folded, and waiting at the door for me. It’s because of this decision that I’m sitting, writing, in running clothes (only thing I have left), eating a delectable dinner consisting of humus, pretzel crisps, and orange juice, after a killer run and deciding if I’ll go to bed early or watch last season’s Project Runway.

After dropping off my 30-pound bag of separated whites and blacks, I called my dear friend L, whose voice always make me feel at home. Our bond, like the very best of friendships is one that knows no distance and has no boundaries. We pick up right where we left off and when I have an irrational fear or pestering doubt, her name is quick to appear in my phone. We get each other in a way that only best friends can get one another, and if I was to put it into words, it wouldn’t even hold a candle to the reality of feeling it.

As we try to each week (and usually fail miserably at with our respective busy lives) we caught each other on the ins and the outs of our day-to-day’s, with emotional, irrational outbursts sprinkled here and there, too. A newlywed, she talked about her new apartment, new town, new job, and the endless laundry that took four loads and five hours on Saturday. I talked about freelancing gigs, Mr. Possibility, my messy apartment and busy upcoming week, and the fun of the last weekend.

In response to my giddiness, she said: “You’re just a big ol’ black hole of happiness! I don’t even know if I can talk to you!” We giggled for a second and I reminded her there is bad in my life but that I’m trying to focus on what I’m blessed to have. Then, as I’m forever intrigued by the life of a married 20-something because it’s so far from what I want right now in my life, I ask her to leave the room so she can dish on the hubby. She instantly agrees and heads out, but less than a second later, she is distracted, exchanging some words with Mr. L and then says, “Well, we’ll have to talk about that another time.” Annoyed, I snapped back: “You don’t have to listen to him, he isn’t the boss of you!” She replied, “I was just rubbing his feet before you called. He had a rough day.” I probably said a few unkind words toward Mr. L and she asked if Mr. Possibility did sweet things like rub my feet instead of asking for the favor for himself, and then we eventually hopped off the phone.

While I was running, I couldn’t get the sour taste or visual image of Mr. L asking my friend to rub his feet while she was on the phone with me. It didn’t make sense why he couldn’t wait twenty minutes or why she obeyed him in the first place. I ran faster to distract myself, but by the end of my run, I still felt the need to call her and beg her to mouth off to him.

And then Mr. Possibility texted me from a meeting he had to attend for work: “What are you doing? I’m bored to tears.” Or translated into his language, “Entertain me! Humor me! Keep me awake at this stupid thing I have to go to!”

And so, while finishing up my to-do list, walking back to my apartment, making phone calls, and writing this post, I chatted with him. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to or that I minded, but it wasn’t my top priority. But I did it because he needed me to and because I care about him.

I wasn’t rubbing his feet – but I was comforting him. And while one is rather gross and requires me to wear gloves (ew, I do not like feet!), both tasks remind us to be unselfish. They also means knowing when to put aside yourself and do something for someone you love. I may not rub feet, but I’ll stroke ego and I’ll build pride, especially for someone who would do the same for me. Like for everything there is a season, there is a time to rub feet and receive text messages, and when to be of service to your partner or your friends.

So instead of igniting a fight between L and her Mr., I decided to bite my tongue. After all – it would be a little hypocritical of me. While I think he could have waited for her to end our conversation, I also interrupted their night with a ring, and while I came first in her life, he’s the one who sees her every single day. And who has promised to support her until her last breath – so I’ll hope if she asked for a nice rub down, he’d return the favor. Regardless if his friend fromNew York was on the phone or not.

Gratitude for today: I’m thankful for the clarity I find from the conversations I have with those who mean the most to me.

Thank You, Mr. Wrong

As it usually is on Monday mornings, yesterday the downtown train to Chelsea was packed. I’m one to stand near the door and let others grab a seat, a gracious tactic that usually results in a quicker exit and entrance. This quarter past eight in the morning decision landed me squished between an elderly man reading The Times and a pair of matching tourists, complete with fanny packs and “I love NY” shirts and all.

Nearing my stop, my cart started to disperse and as I turned to catch a spot closest to the parting doors, I caught a whiff of an old familiar smell. Unable to keep myself from turning away, I subtly followed the scent to find the trail. A few mini steps clockwise, I came face-to-face with a 15-year-old with shouting headphones, who was not amused by how uncomfortably close I was to his sideways-cap.

Embarrassed, I grinned at him (he didn’t return one to me) and left the subway quickly as I couldn’t keep my head from buzzing with memories Axe Deodorant Spray. Scent is, after all, the strongest sense tied to memory, and for me, that scent will never represent anything or anyone but Mr. Faithful. My very first boyfriend, my puppy love, the man whose heart I shattered, and the dude who I lost my virginity to.

And that same fragrance takes me back to all of those things – laying with belly buttons touching as I wondered if sex would get better; if he was the man I would marry, if I would be the one who ended up with her high school sweetheart; if this was what real love felt like; if I would ever meet anyone I felt as strongly about. If it got better than this.

But if I could have reassured  my 15-year-old self about how much I had to look forward to and how much love I was actually capable of giving and receiving, I would have never worried. I would have enjoyed those moments of innocence, toes dipping into the warm lake at twilight, gleaming into the eyes of a guy, who three years later, would be far removed from my life.

Because in those hot summer nights and the cold winter evenings we spent together as two kids, feeling what we thought was love for the first time –we were each other’s right person. If you would have asked me a few months into our relationship – maybe up to the first year, even – I would have told you I’d go the rest of my life smelling that Axe spray every morning and be perfectly content.

Or when Mr. Fire introduced me to gnocchi – something that always reminds me of him when I see it at the grocery store – in his tiny kitchen in our tiny college town. Dancing  (and sliding) in our socks to Dave Matthews, laughing, sipping wine we were too young to buy, and our hearts racing in anticipation of the love we hadn’t made yet. With those wild eyes that always seemed to get me – he rubbed his nose against mine, scooped me into his arms, spun me around, and dipped me toward the ground, playfully asking: “Do you trust me?” In that instant – I would have proclaimed to the whole world I would trust him with my everything, would have given him anything, and would have said whatever I needed to say to stay in his grasp forever.

In thinking about this ever-elusive Mr. Right character – I’ve thought about all the guys who didn’t fit the bill. All of the ones I loved or the dudes he didn’t fall for me as fiercely as I intended them too, and all of the suckers in between.

Because while Mr. Curls, Mr. Faithful, Mr. Fling, Mr. Idea, Mr. Disappear, Mr. Unavailable, and Mr. Rebound all have names specific to my experience with them – their ultimate titles are all the same: Mr. Wrong. Even if at one time, they had the opportunity be Mr. Right or were Mr. Right Now when they stood by my side.

I’m not convinced there is only one right companion for every person, but I do think it’s important to remember the guys who weren’t right. The Mr. Wrongs, after all, will never be completely gone – because if they were, then what would have we gained from their love – or lack of? Would we be able to understand what works for us and what doesn’t? What it takes for someone to be what we need and what will never measure up to fulfill us?

How can we know when it’s right if we don’t know what it feels like when it’s not?

The Mr. Wrongs ended up not to be the men I decided to lead with, but they all served their purpose. I’ve learned the lessons I’ve decided they’ve taught me and with all of them, I’ve released the “what could have been” thoughts that always attach themselves when love goes astray. I’m not interested in rekindling any flame that’s burnt out, bur rather excited about what’s next.

Because if history truly does repeat itself, then I’m lucky. I’m blessed to be strong enough to overcome heartache, to choose what I need over what I want, and to be loved by a few incredible men. And though at the time, I didn’t always realize what was waiting for me is better than what I’ve felt before – I know it now. And without dating, loving, losing, and leaving the Mr. Wrongs, I would never have the confidence that a Mr. Right – or maybe a few Mr. Rights – await for me in the days, the months, and the years to come.

It is sometimes those unanswered prayers that are answered against what we thought we longed for, those memories that were once bittersweet but are not just fond, and those men who were right at one time – that teach us more than the one who ends up being right, right now. They may have broken our hearts or steered us in the wrong direction or we could have stepped all over them on the way to our own happiness and personal gains – but without them, we wouldn’t be one step closer to finding the love that doesn’t bite the dust.

So, thank you Mr. Wrongs – for a lot of things, but mainly, for being wrong.

The Things a Man Can’t Give Me

After spending an unjustified amount of time on Tumblr one Sunday afternoon, I happened to stumble upon an adorable photo. Of course, I have a certain affinity to this creature (or really any miniature animal), so I quickly updated my Facebook proclaiming I’d like to be the owner of a baby tiger.

Expecting to receive a few comments from my friends who kindly entertain my ridiculousness, I hopped in the shower, determined to get my day started instead of wasting it away in front of a 15″ laptop screen. Twenty minutes and one Beyonce sing-along under the water later, I did what every Gen Y does: tapped my phone back to life because being without it for such a “long” time made me feel disconnected.

On the screen was a new text from the man I was seeing at the time and though we were not serious, I really dug him. He was one of those who always had something interesting to say and never failed to surprise me. This message would prove the latter: Check your email.

Unsure of why he would send something to my email instead of just calling or telling me, I opened up Gmail to find no message from him. Confused, I sent a question mark in response (so explanatory, I know), and he responded with: You wanted a baby tiger, didn’t you? Becoming more perplexed with these cryptic messages and the fact he was stalking my Facebook mid-day, I glanced back at my accountant and noticed an email not from him, but from the WWF. He couldn’t give me an actual baby tiger, but he could adopt one from Africa in my name. And so, he did – just like that. The certificate was sitting proudly a click away and the snuggly and stuffed version came a few weeks later.

So apparently men can give you the nearly extinct animal you mindlessly requested in a status update. And they can leave notes in jean pockets, taped behind a closed door you rarely open, and on your mirror so you never forget how beautiful you are. They can buy you that necklace or that ring you intently gleamed at in the back of Vogue. They can purposefully leave the apartment for the unimportant fact that they’re out of orange juice and you always drink a tall glass each morning.

And when they’re not supplying your tummy or your jewelry box – men can give us many splendored things. When you can feel a man really loves you, it’s powerful. After all, we’ve met the ones who never care at all. Hell – we’ve slept with them. Possibly dated them for six months, just in case something changes. It’s after that disaster we learn to notice when a guy comes along who is all hands-and-feet on deck. We start to think they give us feelings we always say we’ve never felt before, until we do, again. They indulge us in reassurance and constant confidence boosts. They don’t make us wait and they don’t make things harder or faster than what we prefer – unless we ask for it, of course. They support us as equally as we encourage them, and when like grows into love and love into content – they weather the changes because they’d rather stick around than find something simplified elsewhere.

It’s true – men can give us so many things.

But I’m starting to realize there are more things men can’t give me. Partly because they aren’t capable of it, but mostly because I wouldn’t want them to. There are certain parts of my life that I don’t invite a man into and there are pleasures I derive when I’m alone that don’t always match the fulfillment a man returns. There are outings and doings that keep me positive and feeling alive that I’d much rather do without the presence of anyone. There is a cache and a sense of independence that comes from paying everything on my own, shopping at my own accord and saving up for that pair of shoes that even if someone offered, I’d never let them purchase on my behalf. There is a power in knowing nearly every single item in my apartment came from money I made by having a resume I worked hard (and mostly for no pay) to build. There is a satisfaction I get from marching the streets, making eye contact with a stranger or two, and continuing to walk when they get the hint I’ll slow my pace for them – but I don’t.

And without a man, without the consistent reminder that someone in this world at the very least finds you tolerable – you learn how to keep yourself going. You learn the difference between being a constructive critic and being way harder on yourself than anyone else would be. You notice changes in your mood and you become aware of what makes you happy, what tickles your tastebuds, and what disgusts you. You have ways to shed joy and hope into your life that no other person – even the most attractive and engaging ones – could ever replace. You depend on yourself without considering there is a safety net or a body to break your fall. You decide the best answer to your questions aren’t “call mom” or “call Mr. of Right Now” but really are not even an answer at all, they are also a question: Well, what do you want to do?

Those things, no matter how insignificantly silly (like my need of wine in the bathtub while listening to Rhapsody in Blue and reading for the 100th time, Jane Eyre) or superbly worthy (like my need to not have anyone advise me on where my money is going unless I’m paying them – with my money - to instruct me) – are still possible to find when you’re dating a man. Even when you’re madly in love with him.

But you have to fight for them. Because while the dudes can be rather charming and sweet, and give us endearing reminders that we’re loveable, they become one hell of a distraction. Perhaps a beautiful one, but a distraction all the same. I mean, baby tigers may not be a match the baby diamond earrings we scrambled just enough money to buy for ourselves, but which one will mean more to us if the relationship ends? And which is a girl’s best friend (RIP, Liz)?

One of the many troubles of being single is longing for those things we know a man can give us. Those things we’ve found before and have now become afraid are forever lost. But when love takes a chance on you again, you may just find yourself missing those things purposefully just for you, and you only. You may have to keep yourself grounded as you are effortlessly swept away.

Because instead of turning our attention away from me and steering it toward a he the has the potential to become a we- we’ve gotta learn how to have the me, have the he, and have the we, without losing all three.

Meet My Boyfriend

The thing I get asked the most by friends, readers, and fellow bloggers is: How do you write every single day?!

The answer has consistently been rather simple – it is easy. Partly because I consider myself someone who was lucky enough to always know what they were meant to do, and also due to the mere fact that I write about my life. And what else could be more natural to do than recording, dissecting, and describing every-day adventures? Or better yet – what could be more entertaining when those experiences primarily relate to relationships – something that everyone, no matter their demographics, can understand and relate to.

And while I write about personal experiences, most of the ideas that turn into blogs come from outside sources. From eavesdropping on two friends at the gym, by graffiti stained on my building, by a penny I kick across the pavement, by an exchange I witnessed that was only meant for that couple, by something I feel that I can’t explain, by a sighting or a viewing, by an argument or a profession. I try to listen while I linger, ask more questions than I make statements, and try to put myself in the shoes of strangers. Or the ones I know best – after all, fodder is frequent from my friends.

Unsurprisingly, as our pals often know us better than we know ourselves, this is where my claim of fluidity and simplicity in blogging becomes objected. As in the case of my friend J.

On Sunday, over burgers at one of my New York favorites, Corner Bistro, a group of us were catching up, drinking Blue Moons, and taking in more calories than the rest of the week allowed. I met my friend J in a way that can only be described as fate by the Internet –through a Meetup group that I was hesitant to join. However, it turned out producing five of my closest pals in the city, some of which are starting to get to know me pretty well. As J is telling me about her latest dating adventure and how the scene is different than the laid-back and sunny market in California where she’s from, I must have looked at her too hard because she said:

“You’re writing your blog right now in your head, aren’t you?” Stunned she could detect the writing wheels turning, I smiled a 4 p.m.-and-tipsy grin, and asked, “Um, how did you know that?” She took a sip of her wine (not a fan of beer), she laughed and replied, “Well, you know when you really like someone and they bring you happiness, you think about them all the time? Even when other people are talking to you?” I nodded. “That’s kind of what your blog is now. The blog is your boyfriend.”

Interesting.

A relationship, much like a blog, depends constant attention. You have to put in effort to make it work and be understanding when glitches out of your control cause trouble (like WordPress’ meltdown last night). The longer you’re with someone, the more people know about the person you’ve become exclusive with, and the more energy you put toward something – the harder it is to let it go. You become committed and involved, engrossed in what-could-be, and needing to know that person feels the same way. And if you’re anything like me before I started the blog, you become quite obsessed with the man of loving opportunity.

So, is my friend right? Maybe I have made this blog into my boyfriend. Or into an entity outside of myself, even though it’s primarily about me. I’m connected to it, I give it daily attention, I take time out of my schedule to make sure it is functioning, growing, and giving me what I need. But what is it that I need from a blog? If you asked me a few months ago, it would have been similar to my response to what I want from a relationship: something that helps me grow, gives me guidance, and lets me say whatever I want to say, without passing judgment.

However, like every relationship that experiences change with tide, waters have been rough with me and my boyfriend, the blog.

For a while, as much as I was writing about my exciting life, the majority of it was spent at work and at home. The weekends were sometimes full of outings and doings, but I had the energy and the dedication to put into the pages of this blog because it was my main concern and central source of entertainment. But like I’m learning to let love fall lower on my list of priorities, as my life started to become…well, a life – the less time I’ve had to focus on blogging.

My calendar has started to fill up, event invites continue to roll in, my friends rightfully demand my attention and my evenings, I’m running more, I’m planning trips, I’m further investing into the potential return of Mr. Possibility’s possibilities, and above all else, I’m still focusing on me. The 12 Steps continue to help me guide through the emotions that used to throw me. The essence of the blog is still alive in my life, but the availability I used to have to give it love is gone.

So do I stop writing? Do I break up with my boyfriend because he doesn’t fit into the life I’m making for myself? Do I put an end to the love I once found because I’d rather turn my attention to seemingly bigger and better things?

Nope.

Because when a relationship experiences trouble or things outside of the union start to expand and rise, that’s when you test how the connection. The commitment, the loyalty. That’s when you realize that love will never be everything that defines you or all of the things you’re made of. That’s when you remember the relationship that makes it – the one that’s worth all the hassles and frazzles – is the one you can maintain, even when the rest of your life becomes fuller and happier. I can’t make a man – or a blog – my everything. But if I can remember that love is just a part of life and this blog is about my life – the inspiration to pen another post will come just as easy as it once did.

As long as I just live, that is.