Six years ago, I packed up my life in New York and moved to Providence. Some might say it was for love...
I told myself, and everyone else, it was to start my career. After applying to dozens of jobs at the tail-end of the recession, with a pen in hand and dreams of writing on my mind, I was taking a job at a small tech startup doing “SEO writing.” I had no idea, at the time, what SEO stood for.
It sure was for love alright - the love I had for chasing dreams. But of course, as all these stories go, there was a boy.
We had met in our junior year of college, and seven years later, I am happy to say we are still together. But I had to find love in other places along the way. Sometimes it was with myself. Sometimes my girlfriends, my family, my job, my dog, a bottle of wine…. Even my bathtub.
I believe that the idea that you can get everything you want in one person is a bit destructive. We’re all out there looking for “the one.” That perfect person who fulfills 100% of what we need in life. But we need to accept that the number is closer to 70 or 80-percent. And that’s OK! I believe we need to seek out and embrace love in all kinds of people, places, and things so we can be whole, happy, and fulfilled… that’s how we’re 100% fulfilled with love.
Moving my life to Providence was for me, but it left me at a crossroads. I left everything I knew in New York. And that hit me hard. As someone who suffers with often crippling anxiety, I spent more time than I choose to admit making my entire life about my significant other. I knew nothing, and no one, else. And I needed something stable to latch onto.
But that wasn’t going to work. His life was always here. I needed to find a way to build my own life, too.
So before “self-love” and “self-care” were buzzwords, I threw myself into it. What would make me happy? I started looking for love everywhere. I focused on my friends - and built traditions with some of the ladies who would become my closest girlfriends. I focused on myself - and rekindled my love affair with running. I focused on my new home - and fell in love with decorating. I focused on my alma mater - and became a mentor and leader, a love affair that never really ended. I joined organizations like The Lady Project. I found places and secret paths in my new home.
I learned that by looking for love everywhere, I was in control of my own happiness. I was more content, and I was a better partner. And I am steadfast in those beliefs. It’s not uncommon to find me seeing a movie alone, wandering the mall on a Saturday, or booking a spa day with my girlfriends.
My partner supports this completely. And he lives the same lifestyle. Whether you’re in a long-term relationship, married, or just newly dating, I truly believe that the fastest route to unhappiness is to forget that you are two individuals sharing a life together.
Accept that the perfect partner won’t give you 100% of the love you need. They’ll give you 70% and you’ll fill the other 30% with self-love, girlfriends that are soulmates, puppy snuggles, a long bubble baths. And that’s a hell of a life.