Recently I met up with a friend of mine in San Francisco and we got to talking about someone we both knew back in New York. My friend explained to me that the reason why she liked this person so much is because she was one of the few people who made falling in love a priority.
Huh. Making love and romance a priority in your life. As obvious as it sounds, I had never even thought of it like that before. Your first instinct might be to respond with, “Who doesn’t make love and sex and relationships a priority in their life? Everybody wants that!” And while it is true that mostly everyone yearns for companionship, not everyone makes a point to go after it. Not everyone actively dates and puts themselves out there and doesn’t make apologizes for placing romance above, say, a career. We like to judge those who are in relationships or go on lots of dates because, to some, it comes across as a weakness in their character. “They don’t know how to be alone. They’re co-dependent.” But the truth is that wanting to be in love is nothing to be ashamed of. Going on 10,000 OKCupid dates doesn’t make you pathetic or desperate. When did admitting you want to fall in love with someone become so taboo?
When my best friend moved to New York a year and a half ago, one of the first things she did was join OKCupid and go on dates with a bunch of different people. Seeing as how I’m someone who doesn’t use the website and is fearful of the concept of dating in general, my initial reaction was, “Slow your roll, honey. You got time!” I didn’t understand what the rush was, why she couldn’t focus on building a career first and developing a circle of friends before she tried delving into the relationship pool.
After a few months of marathon dating, she predictably found a real gem of a guy and they’ve been together ever since. Sometimes she’ll say things to me like, “I can’t believe I found someone so quickly!” and I’ll say back, “Well, I can! At the rate you were going, you were bound to find someone!”
It’s easy to be critical of someone who makes no bones about wanting a life partner. In reality though, falling in love is one of the bravest things you can do. I give props to anyone who prioritizes it. I give props to anyone who’s fearless and goes after what they want, whether it’s a dream job or a dream relationship. Why shouldn’t they? Why shouldn’t they be on a dating website? God forbid we actually admit to other people that we’re lonely and looking for somebody to love. The horrors of honesty! Why is it more okay to say to someone, “I’ve just been too preoccupied with building my career to go out and date…” than it is to say, “I’ve just been really focused on falling in love with an amazing person and building a solid relationship”? Whatever the hell makes you happy, right? This lesson is so delayed, I can’t believe it took me 26 whole years to learn it, but different things make people happy. Wow. How revelatory! My goals in life aren’t necessarily mirroring the goals of others and that’s fine. There’s no “right” order to go in. All you can hope for is that people are living their life with some fucking guts. They aren’t afraid to say what they want and go after it. It might not sound like that hard of a thing to do but in today’s shame-based culture it’s considered a damn victory just when you’re being honest.