“Life is hard and so is love…”

“Child, believe in all these things.”

I had coffee with a lovely friend yesterday. As is the case most of the time with moving, it’s sometimes difficult to find people to connect with. In dating, in friendships – though I suppose those two things are actually pretty similar in a lot of ways.

Anyway, I met a friend for coffee. We’re in different places in our lives, but seem to have a good amount I common – at least with how we view the world. I met her the month I moved to town and have thankfully gotten to know her a bit since – and all the facets of her life that make it so lovely.

As is the case when talking with me, I talked about dating because I’m learning I do that a little too much lately. I’m going to go ahead and call it a quarter-life crisis, because that’s definitely what’s happening.

One of the first things I noticed about this friend is how highly she speaks of her boy. I’ve never heard her say anything that wasn’t incredibly sincere about him. I don’t mean in the this-is-clearly-fake-and-you-can’t-be-that-happy kind of way. I mean in the you’ve-obviously-found-your-mate kind of way. It’s lovely to listen to.

Because I’m feeling a little disillusioned by dating in this town (because it’s literally the worst thing ever a and every woman in Nashville will agree with that statement, guaranteed), I asked her to tell me their story. I was quite certain it was the kind of thing I would love.

And I did.

It’s the cutest story and not mine to tell, but I was so impressed by how her man made things happen. Removed any obstacle that was there and made sure things worked out the way he wanted, by being masculine and chivalrous and all adorable things like that.

Because guys that are worth having around tend to do things like that.

I won’t take any more time to discuss why dating is so terrible in this day and age and what I think guys should do less of and what’s going wrong.

Because that doesn’t help anyone. Valid thoughts to be had, yes, but sometimes it means more to talk about what does work.

Chivalry. Masculinity. A little bit of old fashioned. An understanding that women are women – and that’s something to be celebrated, not criticized. Initiative. and I suppose a little bit of care.

I wholeheartedly believe things happen for a reason – even things as simple as a coffee date working out with a lovely little soul. I was so happy to hear about her whole life, but I really needed that story.

To remind me that I’m worthwhile – that everyone. And settling? There’s no reason when everyone’s fairy tale is out there somewhere.

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Luck.

I grew up with a lot of Jesus surrounding me – something I’m quite thankful for – but many of the people who surrounded me also often discussed the world as an awful place. I’ve never understood that. I mean – yes, there are times I’ve understood it for a little while – this life is often full of pain and heartbreak. Sadness fills the news and sometimes the people around us. In comparison to the everlasting, it doesn’t even compare.

But this world is so breathtaking.

I guess if I’m going to believe we were created out of love – and I certainly do – I can’t really think of it as anything else.

I’m not discounting sadness or pain, or denying anyone’s right to feel those feelings – I’m often the first to get wrapped up in them, and I’ll be the first to admit that. Life is hard and often it seems difficult to see past obstacles and loss. Or even loneliness (my personal detractor from seeing beauty most of the time).

But I feel so lucky to have this life of mine.

Because sometimes the light catches the trees in just the right way. Or there’s a small hint of every color of the rainbow on the horizon. Or someone says the words I desperately needed to hear.

I remember that I am loved. That I am Yours.

And I just feel so lucky.

Dating and Tuesdays.

I’ve spent a good amount of my girl time lately — as usual — lamenting the disastrous dating life I have mostly always. This experience is shared by a good majority of the girls I know who aren’t in committed relationships. That’s what I tell myself at least. There’s a lot of other ladies out there, who spend just as much time wondering why they’re single, and quite frankly, what’s wrong with them and what’s wrong with guys. Then there’s some more ladies whom I admire — the ones who date regularly and date to get to know people and don’t seem deterred by the whole experience. Then there’s another set of ladies who are just fine with their lives and pretty much tell me I’m crazy regularly for even caring.

I am definitely not the second option. I don’t think I ever will be. I’m an introvert by nature, stubborn as hell and make up my mind whether I enjoy someone’s company pretty quickly. So dating to get to know someone has never appealed much to me, because I’ve made up my first impression about a person in about five minutes. And if I don’t like my first impression, I’m probably not allowing for a second. It’s odd, because it’s the complete opposite of how I handle relationships once I know someone well. Then they get about a million and one chances to do whatever it is guys do. Anyway…

I see myself becoming much more of the third option. I’ve spent the better part of a year and a half really single, I like to think by choice, and I’ve come to really, really love my life for what it is and what I’ve made of it. I’m quite comfortable in my routine: sleeping in the middle of the bed, cuddling with my dog in the morning, not talking before I leave the house and hurriedly running around to get ready — because I didn’t used to be late for anything, but I’ve since adopted a necessary daily dance party and gosh it just takes up so much time, but it makes my soul feel so much better.

Because I haven’t quite morphed into this person I want to be, this person that really doesn’t care, I do spend a good amount of time lamenting the things I hate about the current state of dating.

Mostly, I just think we’re all a little confused, and I’m not really sure who’s right or wrong. I don’t really guess there is a right or wrong. I love chivalry and romance and all things associated, but there’s just as many people walking around telling guys not to hold doors open and buying their own dinner. Yes, I mentioned that, and no, I don’t expect it always or even most of the time, but sometimes the offer sure is sweet. I’ve said, “Wait, was that a date?” more times than I’d like to admit in that year and a half and way too many hours convincing myself something was something when it really was nothing worth thinking a second thought about. But I’m so confused about what even constitutes a romantic relationship at this point that who knows — it could have been something. Girls mention how guys don’t try anymore, because they don’t have to — because there’s things like Tinder and 2 a.m. phone calls. That we answer. I know the same amount of guys who don’t know why girls are so flaky and why they won’t make actual plans with them. So everyone’s in this half state of confusion about what we’re all supposed to do and what’s the right answer and how do we behave because no one really knows! The necessary counterpart to my comment about chivalry and romance is — of course — mentioning that I am one of the most romantically commitment-phobic people I’ve ever met — unless I’m really into someone. And what’s the criteria for that? I don’t even know. I do know that I’m nowhere near the only person like this, making life all the more complicated and confusing.

So, I think I chose to let it go — for a just a little longer at least. Mostly, I’m tired of complaining about something I don’t know how to fix, especially since I have no idea how to fix my side of the equation.

I spent tonight on my couch, watching “The Mindy Project” and “Parks and Recreation.” Then I read some of “Bossypants.” I listened to Marc Cohn (Because, are you kidding? That first album is great.) and drank hot chocolate. I didn’t spend a single second wondering whether I did something right or wrong or answered correctly or too quickly or what does he think about what I said. I thought about these wonderful women who mastered singledom and made lovely little lives for themselves as strong, independent smart forces to be reckoned with.

And you know what? I’ve never second guessed wanting that.

Monday.

Sometimes the juxtaposition life creates is nothing short of breathtaking. Some days feel awkward – like my skin wasn’t meant for me and everything seems uncomfortable. I don’t say or do anything that feels like it’s right, and go to sleep questioning myself.

Those days are typically followed by ones like yesterday. It was so busy I collapsed in bed without taking my makeup off. But I felt so loved, and overwhelmingly hopeful. I saw a community come together to learn more about a problem that desperately needs fixing – and many of them took action to help do so. I worked and had kind customers, and I never really take into account how much that affects my day. I slept so soundly; something I rarely do.

And then I woke up, which is blessing enough in itself, surrounded by rain drops on windows and just a little bit if peace.

I’m thankful for the days that have such stark contrast – that allow me to really see how lucky I am. I pray this year I’ll remember more often, even on the days that don’t seem to have a lovely counterpart, just how blessed my life is and how lucky I am to be living it. I pray I remember more often to be a blessing to others.

Grey area.

I didn’t have a tv in college. I was 19 and silence scared me, so I sat around and listened to music most of the time. Occasionally I read, but mostly I just listened. I was surrounded by other people’s words, but learned so much about my own voice in that year.

I learned a bit more about accepting my flaws. The thing about a good song is it’ll throw a knife in your soul. The right combination of words will mess up your world – in both good ways and bad ways. So I sat and I listened and I learned. I didn’t mindlessly watch stories of other lives nor escape to the daydreams books often provide – I heard words that reminded me of all the things I didn’t like about myself. And I couldn’t run away from it. There’s something about realizing something you don’t like and being forced to accept it that’s so empowering.

But I also learned how beautiful life is – other times I heard all the good things about myself. I thought about the wonderful parts of life and everything it has to offer – everything I have to offer. Whether simply because I heard how life really is fluid and there’s always something amazing at the end of the tunnel or because I was reminded how I survived something that hurt so badly.

There were always two sides to the story, and a whole bunch of grey areas between the good and the bad. I think that’s what I learned most – music reminds us that grey exists and it’s where life is mostly lived. And there’s so much to learn in the good and the bad and the times we don’t really know which is which.

I still don’t watch a ton of tv – I often sit on the floor and turn something on. I suppose there’s comfort in remembering how common the grey often is.

2015.

I had many things planned for this morning – there are chores and exercises to be done, along with all the little things I often find excuses not to do.

Instead, I baked some oatmeal, deleted some phone numbers and did a little daydreaming.

There’s a book for reading and TV shows for binge watching.

There’s peace to be found.

And I’d say that’s a good start to 2015, indeed.