This is going to sound (at best) tangential and (at worst) fairly random, but a few days ago I was talking to a friend who’s currently going through a rough patch with his longterm girlfriend. He mentioned something that we sort of blew past in the moment to get to some deeper issues at hand, but his words struck me at the time and have been playing on repeat through my mind ever since as I tried to work out why they bothered me so much.
I want someone who pushes me to do better, to be better, who challenges me as much as I challenge them.
Afterward, I couldn’t help but consider how that applied to my own life and relationships. I couldn’t help but be uncomfortable about what I realized.
To understand why I reacted the way I did, a small bit of story is necessary here. It’s very short, I promise.
About seven years ago, I fell in love with one of my best friends. We moved in together, got a dog, talked about adopting kids after we married, and, on New Year’s Day 2016, we agreed to get engaged that year.
Eight months later, a week or so before our 5th anniversary, he peaced out of his/our life: broke up with me, told me to take the dog, quit his job, gave up our apartment, and left San Francisco, all in the span of a couple of weeks. I haven’t seen him since, and I haven’t heard from him in just about a year.
Almost two years have passed, and I finally feel like I’m getting to the other side of the grief. Good.
I’ve started dating again and had some success, though nothing that has enticed me out of singledom. Fine.
This spring, I quit the job that’s been taking up all of my time, headspace, and energy for three years. Great.
I’m still not happy. Problem.
Before that relationship, I was gregarious and outgoing, constantly attempting new hobbies, training for a marathon, making new friends, and traveling as often as I could. After that relationship, I was introverted and shy, not very social, just active enough to be healthy, and barely making an effort to see even my lifelong friends.
And there’s nothing wrong with that shift — I think we can all agree that being a homebody is perfectly acceptable — which is why I never questioned it. But then I was sitting in my friend’s apartment, having the conversation I mentioned above, and I kind of put it together.
At some point, I stopped taking risks and trying new things, which was a major part of my personality. Essentially, though I have no idea why, I stopped being myself. And, frankly, I’m a little pissed off that I let that go on for this long.
So. Here we are. I’m taking the summer off, putting away my designer dresses, and living out of a backpack for a couple of months. The pug and I have mapped out a route taking us far, far away from San Francisco. We’re trading my Jetta for a slightly more rugged vehicle, and we’re going to camp, cabin, and couch (thank you, friends!) our way across the country and hopefully climb a few mountains along the way.
I used to be a trail runner, but I’ve never been an endurance athlete. And I’ve never climbed anything more rigorous than the trails of Mt. Tam and Diablo.
In other words, I have no idea how successful we’ll be, but I’m excited to launch a brand new adventure. And it’s really nice to be excited about something again.
Less than one week to go.