What happens when you stop caring

A friend of mine (hi! you know who you are!) told me to write a post about “love advice for single people.”  She gave me one other option, which was Female Genital Mutilation, and while I think that FGM is a very important topic, I’m feeling sort of light and airy today, so I’ll stick with love advice, even if I’m bad at it.

Here’s my advice: stop caring.  I know, I know, wayyyy easier said than done.  Frankly, I don’t think it’s a matter of just not caring, or trying really hard to look away – I think that it’s a matter of distraction.  You have to find something you love, some thing, that you search out and stick with, and that is what will make you turn away from trying to find some person to fill that spot… and I think that that is when you have the capacity to allow another person to fill that spot.

As Turtle and I were nearing our two year anniversary last week, I pulled out my old journal (handwritten, private, thank you very much) to see where I’d been in my life a year ago and two years ago.  And where I was, right before I found her, was not having space for her.  I was working, and I was roller skating, and I was visiting my friends and bicycling all over Boston.  I was getting up early, going skating before work, staying out late at roller derby practice, staying up after I got home to do some art projects, and then doing it all again.  When I wasn’t working and skating, I was visiting friends in New York, I was having friends visit me… I had no time for anyone else, relationship-wise.

My entry on March 13th, 2008 starts, “Hi, this is real life, and I’ll never be asleep before midnight.”* So there I was, having my great, crazy busy life. A couple of weeks later, I was thinking about someone I thought I might like, and I wrote, “It’ll appear eventually. Maybe when there is room for it in my life… I will find love. And in the meantime, patience and fun.”

So there I was, trying to be patient and having lots of fun, and I fell, and I hurt my knee pretty badly.  At one point, I thought it might be six months before I could skate again.  Cheerful 23-year-old me said: “[maybe] this is a sign/message/indication that I need to slow down.  Find the good things in the slower parts of my life. I’m not sure what this means yet.”

And four days later, we were dating.  And six days later she asked me to be her girlfriend, all officially and whatnot.

I’m sort of struck by how things seemed to move out of the way for this relationship.  And it all happened when I wasn’t looking, when I was completely invested in something else, and when I was really, truly happy with my life.

At the very beginning of March of 08, I went to New York City to visit several of my friends, and I found a card in a bookstore that I stupidly did not buy.  It had a list of advice on it, like, “Be gentle with your parents,” and “Learn how to use a semicolon.”  The last one, number 7, was “You will find love.”  And I think really believing that is what got me to look away from looking for love.

So, my friend, my love advice for a single person is to love being single, because it’s only going to last so long.  And while that’s a good thing, a wonderful thing, and being in a relationship is fun and wonderful and work and totally worth all of that – being single is the same thing.  It’s good work, it can be thrilling, and it is totally worthwhile.  Get something to love in the meantime, and really love it.** You will find love.

*Thank goodness that changed.
**You know, like Africa, or devil kittens.  If you’re into that sort of thing.

1 Comment

Filed under Relationships

One response to “What happens when you stop caring

  1. lyn

    I love this advice, not least because it resonates with me. I had to arrive at a place where I was focused on *me*, and I don’t mean in an egotistical way, before I found love. I didn’t even necessarily want it at that time. I just tripped over it, like the laundry on the floor when I get up in the middle of the night.

    Enjoying all your states of being — that’s a truly good tip.

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