Make a list, they said.

These days, we make lists for everything it seems. Before we pack for a vacation, before we go to the grocery store, before Christmas & our birthday, before we have a party, “before we die,” before we meet our husband — wait, what?

Yep, you heard me. Several (like, over 5) people have told me the same thing. “Make a list.” Make a list of what you’re looking for in a partner, and anybody who doesn’t fit the mold, hard pass. And for quite a few days now I’ve contemplated this idea. I’ve thought about dreaming up the perfect partner, my perfect match. But I cannot bring myself to do it. To be that shallow. Or stubborn, Or rigid.

I think that when you meet the right person, you’ll know before you pin them up against any checklist or theory.

I think it’s simple. I think they’ll make it impossible for you to think about anything else. They’ll make your heart flutter in your belly with all of their clothes on. They’ll have the right eyes, and the perfect smile. They’ll be funny and kind and determined and smart. They won’t need to be a fireman, or drive a truck, or be able to pick you up. They won’t need to promise to make pancakes with you at 2am. They might not have green eyes and visions of a daughter who’s exactly like you. Your perfect match won’t exude everything on your list because that’s for fiction. That’s for TV and movies and novels on the shelf.

In real life, your husband will probably drive you crazy. He’ll leave his socks on the floor, he’ll leave the dishes in the sink, but he’ll never let you forget that you are his. Never let you wonder if you made the right choice. I think that’s the only thing on my list; love me. He will love ME. He’ll love me when I’m moody and when my hairs a mess and when unnecessary tears have washed away all of my make up.

I can’t allow myself to make a check-off list for the perfect man for lot of reasons. I won’t make a list because I don’t think it’s fair to shut people out because they don’t have all of the things we thought (at one point) we needed. I won’t make a list because I don’t really believe I can know what I want until I’ve found it. But most importantly, I won’t take your advice and make a list about a boy because I think that list says a lot more about me than it ever would about him. It says that I’m dependent. That I’m fixated on my future fitting into not only a structured, shallow box but a structured box that describes another human being; a man. And I won’t allow myself to be that blind. I won’t allow myself to be that girl. That naive. I won’t allow myself to pretend I am a princess.

I’m very thankful for the friends that I have, and the emphasis they put on my happiness. But I must say I am disappointed that they all think my happiness will only arrive in the form of a dude. Even the people who tell me I need to work on myself, they advise me to so I can someday find the “right one.” Where are all of the people who believe my life is enough, even when it isn’t shared with somebody else. Bueler?!

This is the list I should have been told to work on. A list by me, for me, about my life’s aspirations. A list I’ve had on my phone for months but never realized made me look so independent. A list of things I want to do for ME. I want to go to Lake Tahoe in my black bikkini. I want to go to the air races, because planes — awestruck. I want to  take a hot air balloon ride & a scenic tour in a helicopter. I want to swim with dolphins, and go para-sailing, and stand next to my brother as he marries his best friend. I want to buy a brand new car, and have a yellow lab. I want to go back to Washington DC and just take it all in. I want to visit North Carolina & see the Sea Turtles hatch. I want to listen to “Welcome to New York,” and dance around times square on my (27th?) birthday, and visit the statue of liberty and the World Trade Center memorial and broadway. I want to go to Hawaii. and Nashville (next month!) and Laguna Beach. I want to go to Chicago because of that really cool metallic bean. I want to go to Alaska, and Seattle, and the Caribbean. I want to go to Paris & take that horrible cliche photo with the Eiffel Tower. I want to visit Sydney, Australia & avoid all of the spiders. I want to visit Scottsdale, AZ and see that Love sculpture. I want to go to Italy and ride a boat down the canal, and eat real gelato. I want to go abroad and study the Holocaust. And you know what I realized about all of these things, just today? These are all things I decided I wanted to do on my own.

I romanticize everything I see in life; the ducks outside of my house, the cute boy at the gym, the smart, shy, enchanting guy, from training, all of the people I’ve never met I convince myself are out there, the elderly couple I encounter at the store and I realized today this might be a flaw instead of a virtue.

I put so much emphasis on love, I think I’d forgotten how great life is.

.xo.

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