I wake up and check my phone. There’s a dozen Instagram notifications, a few from Facebook, Twitter, but none from Whatsapp, the app I grew to love in the past year because of this guy I met during my trip to Italy. No messages. No red heart emoji, no usual “good morning” from him, nothing.
I sit up on my bed and realize something. I screwed up. I screwed up utterly. And no, not because today I realise that I “lost” a guy that I haven’t properly dated. I screwed up because for one whole year I was listening to my friend’s advice.
Not that the advice was bad, gosh, no. It was simply because I listened to it, blindly, with faith, with meaningless hope. Not taking it with a grain of salt, like they tell us to. I chose to hand over my life’s decisions to her. The recently married, the one who has it all. Seemingly anyway. She somehow knew how to end up with the bestest guy in the world and wanted to teach me that too. She told me that I can have as much happiness as she does, if I only followed a few simple rules the way she did. At first, I hesitated, fighting her good intentions as she was trying to teach me the ways of communicating with me the right way, because I wasn’t doing it right. How did she know?
Apparently, because I am currently single and let’s not even mention that last guy I hung out with. Somehow, I chose to believe that I needed what she had. She said I needed that. Marriage, husband, a flat in one of the world’s coolest cities. Stability. And isn’t that what every girl wants?
Right from the beginning, she said that this guy in Italy isn’t worth seeing. He’s younger than me, absolutely not ready for marriage and all those things that every *ahem* girl wants. So after several months I started obediently dismissing his cute texts in favour of finding a “nice sensible boyfriend and stop forming romantic attachments to any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, sexaholics, commitment-phobics…” and so on, and so forth. You know how the quote goes. A slightly unimportant note to self: am already Bridget’s age and I don’t even have an inappropriate uncle who can grab my arse.
Maybe I was a bit like Bridget Jones, maybe the Italian bloke was a bit like Daniel Cleaver, but a year later, sitting on my bed, staring at a blank phone screen I think “Now what?..”
I am not feeling “dumped”, as I haven’t dated the guy. There were a few hot dates with him one year ago, nothing else. The guy tried to make holiday plans with me, however I did not think him serious, hence my reluctance to further any of his affectionate and harmless gestures, when, let’s be honest, he simply wanted to shag me. My kind friend told me that the fling wouldn’t last. Now I think that I don’t really care at this point. Not because I wanted to sleep with him too, but because I was following her advice. I regret my calling it quits with the Italian and us hating each other until the rest of our lives, or, let’s be real, for a day or two.. I regret I haven’t made that mistake.
This past year I didn’t think on my own. And I’m one of those impulsive people who loves spontaneous adventures and bad decisions, who likes puddle jumping in the rain and is ecstatic upon seeing the ocean. That’s me.
But according to my friend (and many others), if there is passion (or what we call “falling in love”) at the start of a relationship, then you’re not doing this right. Stability and mutual respect, that’s what you should feel, not the proverbial butterflies in your stomach. There instead must be a spreadsheet of organised emotions. But to heck with it, my emotional audit lasted a year and I don’t fancy it at all.
Yes, my friend didn’t want me to get hurt, she wanted the best for me, from her point of view. However, why did I decide to change who I was, in order to be happier? Can I just ruin my love life on my own, please? Or is turning thirty makes girls go marriage and stability crazy? I don’t think I’m there yet.
We must learn from others’ mistakes, sure, but at what cost? I like making my own decisions and after one year of not following my own path, I finally take a deep breath and look forward to making a bunch of mistakes that will hopefully lead me to my own kind of happiness one day. I just really hope that it’s sooner rather than later. Also, I’m not getting Alsatians anytime soon. Or ever.