There’s something about empty apartments that makes me want to stop time for just a second. Last week, my friends graduated and moved out, and I said goodbye the place where I spent much of my senior year. Looking out the window, something about the view seemed different. Maybe it was the missing furniture or the nostalgic mood I was in, but it just looked...different.
I watched as they packed up their last boxes, filled with old homework assignments and coat hangers and random objects that don’t fit in any other box, memories from the last five years. It was bittersweet. I thought about how much has changed this year. I said goodbye not only to the cheap carpet and the pretty skyline, but to the person I was in college, knowing that I’ll never be quite the same as I was then.
This time last year, I swore off men. Dating has never been a strong suit of mine. In college, my love life was filled with short-lived flings. I’m not exaggerating. My longest relationships lasted 3 weeks. Around the time my friends traded their party outfits for yoga pants and settled down with long term relationships, I started to wonder what I was doing wrong.
In an attempt to make sense of my dating fails, I listened to the new rules of sex, love and dating podcast. It challenged me to take a year off. One year of no dating, no flirting, no flings. Sounds fun, right? It actually was. It was one of the best years of my life.
I found space to reflect and unearth some issues I didn’t even know I had. I've always heard that it's important to become a whole person before dating, but I didn’t fully understand what that means until this year. I’ve learned a lot in this season of personal growth.
I found freedom, acknowledged my worth, learned the value of authentic community, tasted purpose. I accepted my flaws and the fact that I’m a work in progress, and I’ll never have it all figured out. I embraced the messiness of this life. And I grew into a truer version of myself, as I grew closer to God.
I’ve learned to welcome confrontation. I used to be the biggest conflict-phobe. But this year, I’ve seen that confrontation can actually be a really beautiful process. I’ve seen that the best relationships are the most authentic ones, filled with vulnerability and grace in the midst of conflict.
I’ve realized marriage isn’t the end goal. I used to be so hung up on the idea of getting married, when in reality, God’s plan is so much bigger than that. I know now that it’s possible to be completely fulfilled without a romantic relationship in sight, and that there are depths of my soul that could never be filled by an earthly relationship. I’ve taken marriage off its pedestal and realized the best relationships happen when people share a common sense of purpose in something bigger than themselves.
I’m nowhere close to having it all figured out, but it’s amazing to look back to this time last year and see how much my perspective has shifted. I can’t wait to see what the future holds as I lean into the next chapter of this big adventure called life.
Thanks for reading my ramblings, friends. This is a little different than what a normally post, but I hope you enjoyed it. And if you feel like you’ve lost your center and need to find equilibrium in dating again, I hope you’ll listen to the new rules of sex, love and dating podcast, read the book, or maybe even take the year off challenge. There are amazing things waiting on the other side.
Thanks for stopping by. A little about me — I have a latte each morning and drink about 7 cups of tea a day (I'm not exaggerating.) I live in Atlanta where I'm going to law school. I like long distance running and I love my city and I love exploring our beautiful earth. I believe in being vulnerable, following our passions & being free.
I started this blog to document and share my favorite moments while traveling. This is a place where I process my ideas, share the aches and joys of my heart, speak truth, and shine light on the beauty I see in the world.
I've realized that what I probably love most about traveling is the same thing I love about writing — the way it connects me to myself and other people. I hope as you read my words, you feel connected to our shared humanity.
Thank you for reading. :)
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