You Love Who You Love

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Happy Birthday to the love of my life! Seeing as how this is the first birthday he’s had while I’ve maintained this blog, I felt extremely compelled to give him a shout out on his special day…and because I know his eyes will eventually see this post!

Originally, I thought about using this space to gush about how great he is and how much I love him, but then I remembered you guys probably won’t find that as fulfilling as I do, and then we’ll both have wasted our time. So, instead, I’ve decided to discuss how we came to be, a bit of what we’ve gone through as a couple, and the idea of “soul mates.”

First, let me quickly explain a bit more about who I am and “my type.” Ever since I can remember, I’ve been crazy, weird, obnoxious, creative, and just plain different from everyone else I’ve ever met. I was picked on like a lot in elementary school, but the real struggle for me was that my peers and I had similar hopes and dreams, so I didn’t think I was that different. I also had (and still have) helicopter parents who made sure that I got everything I ever wanted. Back in the day, life was easy for me.  And, because I was like any other young girl, I wanted a Disney prince as my boyfriend. But, I quickly discovered that because I had crazy high expectations coupled with a ridiculous personality, my chances of finding this person were slim to none…until I met my boyfriend (we’ll call him “Matt” for the sake of this post). Matt was and is a class A gentlemen. He not only opens the doors for you, but he pays for dinner, always knows exactly the right thing to say, holds your hand, kisses you goodnight, and let’s just say he does everything perfectly. Sometimes, I freak out because I’ll be thinking and hoping that he’ll do something for me, and he’ll just do it! Men like to say that they’re not mind readers, but Matt definitely is one. I swear he came right out of a romantic comedy and into my life.

In terms of our relationship, our story is just as off the wall as my personality, but it’s a great one! We first met briefly in 2005. Matt had just started dating one of my best friends (we’ll call her “Ann”) at the time, but I didn’t truly get to know him until about a year later. The funny thing is, I didn’t like him when I first met him. I thought he was really cocky and aloof. But, once I got to know him a bit better, my opinion changed. We started hanging out more, and then, a terrible thing happened. Just before my 17th birthday, Matt broke up with Ann, leaving me in a very uncomfortable situation. Ann and I had known each other for years, but the truth was, I had formed a better friendship with Matt and liked being around him a lot more. That same year, I had actually gone through not one…but two breakups and he was there for me through it all, not Ann.

And, that’s when things got realllllly complicated. I began supporting Matt more than Ann through their breakup process, and Ann began accusing me of screwing around with Matt behind her back! Of course I wouldn’t do that! I was so furious with Ann that I completely shut her off, and because I was solely hanging out with Matt, he opened up more and showed me a side of him I’d never seen. I couldn’t believe that he was letting me in. Friends that I had known for 10 years had never opened up to me in this way, and I had only been good friends with Matt for less than a year. It felt like a huge compliment.

Fast forward a bit and Matt and I are “secretly” dating. I wanted to wait until Ann’s jets cooled a bit before going public. Well, we didn’t go “public” for a good year or two…and by that time, we were off to separate colleges.

We lasted separately for about 2 years and then we broke up…for about a year and a half. The time that we were separated was one of the weirdest times of my life. Some days I’d miss him so much I wouldn’t know what to do with myself, and other days I was so busy being me and doing everything I wanted to do, I didn’t know how life could get any better.  Ultimately, I worked hard to get Matt back because I realized once he was gone how much we’d (but mostly I’d) messed up. We basically broke up because we got lazy. We got sick and tired of doing the same old things together, and we were too lazy to come up with new stuff, so we quit.

The saying, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” was never more apparent to me then when I lost Matt for that year and a half. I realized that I had made a huge mistake and that there truly are no other guys like him. He’s too special, he’s one of a kind, and he’s perfect for me. When I was down and out growing up, thinking that no one would ever love me because I was “too weird,” he was there. He never judged me. Actually, he found me to be quite funny and entertaining. And, it turns out, he’s just as funny and entertaining, if not more.

I knew I had to fight to get Matt back because no one was ever going to sync with me as well as he did, and I wanted to turn things around. Personally, I don’t believe in soul mates. I certainly did when I was younger and it was pushed by the media, but I can’t anymore. With everyone getting married multiple times, or committing themselves to a variety of different relationships in their lifetime, I don’t think that there is such a thing. You love who you love, and sometimes it’s more than one person during a lifetime. I don’t believe in soul mates as much as I do in just “mates.” Yes, Matt is the one person that I want to be with for the rest of my life, but what if I died tomorrow? He’d have to move on and find someone else. I obviously wouldn’t be his soul mate if he was able to pick himself up and find someone else that he was just as compatible with.

However, in my case, I’ve always had this weird feeling like my deceased grandmother helped orchestrate our relationship. Her birthday falls on the same day as Matt’s and she passed away when I was 12. Somehow, in some weird way, I feel like she pushed him towards me and the fact that they share the same birthday is her way of reminding me that this was her doing. Because she couldn’t be here with me today, she thought she’d give me one of her birthday gifts.

So, do you believe in soul mates? Do you and your partner have a crazy good love story? Tell me! I wanna hear all about it!

Granny Smith – over and out

Mom..Dad..I’m Home!

After college, I did what 45% of college graduates do and moved back home with my parents.  Now, did I really NEED to move back home? No. But I did because they were more than willing to take me in, and, like millions of other college graduates, I have to pay back my student loans.

Moving back home has been an easier transition than I expected. When I was in college and would come home for a weekend or the holidays, my parents always wanted to know where I was, they bombarded me with questions, and felt the need to cling on to me every moment. I felt like I couldn’t get away from them…and of course, when I would leave to go back to school, my dad would shed a few tears.

But, now that I have a full-time job, I only see them for about four hours a day..and I guess that’s enough for the both of us. Moving back, I thought that my parents would purpose chores, curfews, etc., but they’ve actually backed away from those items. I certainly don’t feel like a guest in my own home, but I do feel like they’ve realized that I’m an adult with a grown up job who’s just trying to make it week-by-week.

However, I realize that my situation isn’t exactly the norm, and that many new college graduates, and even grown adults, struggle when they choose move back in with their parents. So, below, I’ve compiled a list that I’ve received from the lovely internet, with a few tips that should help you survive when you move back in with your parents.

1. Set reasonable expectations. True, you may have been able to come and go as you please, leave your room a disaster, and have a new guest over every night before, but this arrangement may not work for your folks. Set some reasonable expectations — for everyone involved — before you even step through the door.

2. Set some ground rules. Alright, you may have to have a curfew so your poor mother doesn’t think something terrible has happened to you if you’re not home by 4:00 in the morning — but your mom also needs to understand that she can’t just barge in to your room without any notice. Set some ground rules as soon as possible to make sure everyone is clear on how things will work.

3. Expect a combination of a roommate relationship and a parent/kid relationship. Yes, you’ve had roommates for the past several years, and you may view your parents similar to them. Your parents, however, will always view you as their child. Do your best to keep this in mind as you figure out how things will work once you move back in. Sure, it seems ridiculous for a roommate to want to know where you’re going every night. But your parents probably have a legitimate right to ask.

4. Set a time frame for how long you’re planning on living there. Do you just need someplace to crash between when you graduate from college and when you start graduate school in the fall? Or do you need somewhere to live until you can save enough money on your own to get your own place? Talk about how long you plan on staying — 3 months, 6 months, 1 year — and then check back in with your parents once that time frame is up.

5. Discuss money, no matter how awkward. No one really likes to talk about money. But addressing the topic with your parents — how much you’ll pay in rent, for food, to get back on their health insurance plan, or if the car you’ve been borrowing needs more gas — will help prevent a ton of problems later.

6. Have your own support networks ready to go. After living on your own, living with your parents can become very isolating. Do your best to have systems in place that provide you with an outlet and support network that is separate from your parents’.

7. Thing creatively about how the relationship is give and take — both ways. Yes, your parents are letting you stay at their place, and yes, you may pay rent to do so. But are there other ways you can help, especially if money is tight for everyone? Can you help around the house — with yard work, fix-it projects, or technical support for the computers they can never get to work right — in ways that will make your living relationship much more symbiotic?

8. Remember that the person who moves back in with your parents is not the same person who left. Your parents may have a very specific — and outdated — idea of “who” is moving back in with them. Take a deep breath and do your best to remind them that, while you left the house as an 18-year-old college freshman, you are now returning as a 22-year-old, college-educated adult.

9. Remember that time at your folks’ is still an opportunity to build your own life — not put it on pause. Just because you are at your parents’, waiting until you can move out on your own, doesn’t mean your life is on pause. Volunteer, date, explore new things, and do your best to continue learning and growing instead of just waiting for your first opportunity to move on to somewhere else.

10. Enjoy yourself! This may seem completely unthinkable if moving back in with your folks was the last thing you wanted to do. However, living at home can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to finally learn your mom’s secret fried chicken recipe and your dad’s amazing way with woodworking tools. Live it up and take in as much as you can.

Granny Smith – over and out