I enjoy my selfish youth.
As much as I want a dog, I love being responsible for nobody’s meals. I like losing the morning in a book or buying a spontaneous train ticket or spending every other weekend on quasi-planned adventures. I like being able to focus on my work and my goals and my priorities and I, frankly, always assumed a relationship would get in the way of all that.
And then I met someone.
Priorities change a bit, don’t they? Suddenly, the future seems a little… different. Goals shift. Time management adjusts. And yet.
I ran the New York City marathon in 2017. I signed up for another in 2018 but hurt my knee in training and had to cancel. Since then, I had talked about running another. I’d had opportunities to train and run another. But I’d never signed up.
My partner is not a distance runner. He thinks a 17-mile run is maybe the worst way to begin an early Sunday morning. This part of my life has nothing to do with him. And yet.
About six months into dating, I signed up for my second marathon and you bet he was there at the finish line with water and open arms that didn’t mind the fact that I’d been sweating in the Florida sun for over four hours.
My mom has always wanted to go to Scotland and by extension, I’ve always wanted to plan a trip and take her. This was always intended as a “mother/daughter” trip. My partner was never on the radar for this. This goal of mine had nothing to do with him. And yet.
Over a year and change into dating, I booked flights for my mom and I to spend 8 days in Scotland and you bet he was there helping me pack and wishing me a safe flight.
Since I met him, I have become simultaneously more patient and more bold. I have come back to parts of myself that long felt disconnected. I have learned to prioritize what matters and to dream bigger than I believed possible. I’ve fallen more in love every single day and felt supported and cared for in ways I didn’t know a person could.
There’s a lot we’ve seen and done and shared together. And then there are the things I’ve done since falling in love that have nothing (and everything) to do with him. Neither of the above accomplishments are inherently related to him, but he makes me better. And that makes it possible.
And perhaps that’s the ideal relationship. One that concurrently blossoms a match of two hearts and of two individual people who can stand on their own and achieve their own dreams independent of each other.
On the surface, it may seem as though the race and the trip are just “me things.” And yet.
In falling into something so pure and so beautiful, I’m realizing how much of “me” is tied up in “us” and in a relationship so deeply committed to encouragement, support, and care.
I relish our unselfish love.