This is relevant to my interests.
One of the most daunting questions I asked myself since I was 17 was, "What about me?" Spending my adulthood in one of two long term relationships meant a large part of me conformed to fit that relationship. This wasn't necessarily bad. I'll explain...
Boyfriend #1 was convinced of several things: we were soul mates, I'd eventually realize we were soul mates, he'd be a successful lawyer, I'd have kids, everyone else would be jealous. In time I realized I didn't agree with him about any of that, and so I ended it. I also ended it because, hell, I was 18 and had a feeling a diamond ring was coming my way and I had only had one boyfriend! What about all the other boys out there? Am I really going to marry the first cute boy to ask me on a date to get ice cream?
No, I'm not.
A glorious 2 months later I start a fling with the second cute boy to ask me on a date. Five years after that I'm wondering those same questions: What about all the other boys out there? Am I really going to marry the second cute boy to ask me on a date and make me brown sugar candy?
No, I'm not. But I am seeing a pattern. Boys, if you want to date me provide me with some sort of dessert.
I borrowed a few good qualities from The Ex: it's OK to splurge on nice things every once in a while, be generous with those you care about, and an eclectic sense of humor is pretty darn hilarious. We learned from each other and became better people because of each other; but if it was all well and good I wouldn't be single, now would I?
I did not agree that success is measured in money, but rather in how you feel about the work you do and the life you live. Over the years I slowly realized that being happy with my work matters more to me than a salary. As long as my basic needs are met and I'm not in constant fear of having my cat repossessed I'd rather do good work. (I felt this way in shuttles, Trader Joes, and even in the photo lab at Longs [RIP].) Consistent with the majority of Americans, The Ex felt earning a high salary was more important. Maybe he figured the things I care about would end up more hobby than career, that I would grow out of wanting to be a conservation activist, that I would eventually decide to settle down with a house and kids and write in my free time in order to sustain my soul. I don't think anyone really believes that I don't want kids. I don't think anyone really believes I want to build an elephant sanctuary, or that I want the unconventional life. But that's OK, because as long as it's what I want I'll have it.
So you see, it's not necessarily bad that I conformed to fit my relationships. I've come away from them borrowing the good. Each new relationship should be better than the last one until I find one I don't want to leave. Because of my relationships I've learned what's important to me, what I want in a man, and what keeps a relationship strong. I have a lot to offer, and I'm noticing the cute single boys (some of whom are even interested in me!) more frequently. Too bad they don't all live in San Diego or I'd be happier than Chloe was when she rediscovered a cat nip toy yesterday.
I'd be this happy!