Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Am SO Ready To Take A Ride In The Cash Cab

"So, tell me about yourself." 
"What do you want to know? 
"Just start talking and I'll tell you when I'm interested." 

"It's not always rainbows and butterflies." 

"So, how does it taste?" 
"Just good? I'm used to getting a better reaction than that." 

"I can't even begin to understand how any American would not want to own and know how to fire a gun. That belief is completely foreign to me." 

"I don't care what he thinks of me" 
"Well that's the difference between you and me - I care what your friends and family think of me." 

"You know he has a girlfriend, right?" 
"Like that's ever stopped me before." 

"I need to know that you aren't just dating him because you feel sorry for him." 

"While you were singing, he literally stuck his ass in my face. It touched my face. Next time that happens, I'm not just walking away." 

(Fitch vs. Penn:) "And the winner is… A draw??" 

All in all, it was a very strange weekend. 

The sound bites listed above were all parts of conversations that were held in or around my vicinity late Friday night into all day and night Saturday. Steven and I had planned to have a weekend full of meeting new friends, singing tons of karaoke, hanging out with family and in general, just having a merry old time. However, no matter where we went, it seemed the Universe had something different in store for us. Instead of stress-free fun times, we were led from challenging conversation to challenging conversation until the end of the night left us exhausted, frustrated and ready to crawl under a couple of rocks. 

Today marks one month since Steven and I started dating. It definitely seems like we've been together longer than that. In the last month, we've met each other's families, most of each other's friends, spent up to one whole week together without a break, shared countless meals, compiled about a hundred inside jokes, planned a trip to Hawaii and even dropped the "L" word. With so many milestones being packed into a 30 day period, it's no wonder we ran into all these conversational riptides at the end of the month. 

It's as if the Universe is asking us in a thousand different ways: "Are you in or what?" 

A mutual friend of ours broke up with his girlfriend (another mutual friend), after two months of dating. She was heartbroken. She spent weeks in a negative funk, posting sad and depressing updates on her Facebook, crying publicly whenever we were out socially and giving off an overall energy of uselessness long after most people thought she should have. After all, it was only two months, right? 

However, as I sit here, reflecting on the last month of being with Steven and thinking about everything we've already gone through as well as picturing all the other things that we haven't even begun to face, I can't help but empathize with this girl and her broken heart. I would be devastated if Steven decided that he didn't want to continue pursuing a relationship with me. I would've been devastated after the first week. 

It's hard not to get excited about this relationship. I'm not an amateur to this whole dating thing… as many of you know, this is not my first rodeo. I write a whole other series of blogs about dating, for Pete's sake. However, with all the relationships I've been in, I've never been married or even close to marriage - except once - and even if things are mostly good, I don't accept it as the perfect relationship. Too many people have told me that when I have found "The One", I'll know it. I want them to be right. 

I've tried to force this feeling many times. Whenever I start dating someone, I so desperately want them to be "The One" that I look past the things that would normally be deal-breakers for me and focus instead on the things that could work out. Romantic, isn't it? As I've gotten older and my patience has, incredibly, gotten stronger, I've become a lot more honest with who I am and what I want. Therefore, I am able to end relationships with people that I know aren't "The One" for me and still keep a friendship with them. We are adults, after all. And I am convinced that as long as the communication is open from the start, a break up is never really a surprise. 

These days, however... a break up is the furthest thing from my mind. (insert variety of smiley faces here) 

There is something else that is pretty significant about this date for me - it's been eight months since I turned 30 and began my blogging adventure. The journey I embarked on began so differently than the one I am currently on. Remember The Rules? I really thought I was going to spend a whole year living my life in what I considered to be "sacrifice." I often wonder what would have been different if I would've stuck to this regimen. No liquor, no cigarettes, no gambling, no marijuana and no sex. Where would I be now? What would be different in my world? Would things be better? Worse? 

To clarify, there are two rules that I have stuck to: no cigarettes and no marijuana. 

When I quit smoking cigarettes last June, I knew I was done with it for good. I spent my entire 20s telling myself I would never smoke again once I turned 30. I actually remember a conversation I had with myself in late May where I was still smoking between five to ten cigarettes a day and realizing that I was, in fact, going to be a smoker when I turned 30. I simply wasn't ready to quit. However, sitting at that bar that afternoon after my sister-in-law's baby shower, when I realized I wanted to be a better example for my nephew, something in my brain switched over, like a railroad track pointing the train in a completely different direction. I put out that cigarette and have never looked back. In retrospect, quitting smoking was the easiest thing I've ever done. 

On July 2nd, the night of my 30th birthday, I sat on the rocks outside my hotel in San Diego, listened to the waves crash against the reef and gazed out at the lights of the sleepy beach town I was in as I puffed the last few hits of my joint. At the time, I knew that I was only going to be saying goodbye to Mary Jane for a year. I mean, please… I had been smoking weed for close to ten years. I loved it. We were BFFs - she never did anything to hurt me and was always there when I needed her. It was the most committed relationship I had ever been in. I figured a year without her would be good for my head and packed my paraphernalia away in a bag and put it in my closet. I certainly wasn't going to throw it away. I was already thinking about how awesome my 31st birthday was going to be when I brought that bag back down again and partook all over again. 

I think weed is a hell of a drug. Pass me a petition to get it legalized and I'll sign it. I think it's safer and healthier than alcohol and cigarettes and I love its medicinal qualities. I believe in it's pain-relieving elements more than I do Tylenol and think that money-hungry politicians are insane not to legalize it for tax purposes alone. There is nothing anyone can say or do that will make me think that this drug is the horrifying, brain-cell killing, gateway drug that conservatives and the ignorant public make it out to be. The people in my life who are the most outspoken about the negative aspects of this drug are also the heaviest drinkers I know. Strange… 

With all of this said, I have still decided to officially bid my farewell to marijuana today. I've known for months now that I wasn't going to return to smoking after this year was over. However, something in me wouldn't bring that bag down out of my closet and dispose of it. Today, I am going to do that. 

I used to think my friends who smoked pot but quit and didn't have to (like, for drug test purposes for example) were crazy. Take a break, sure… but quit? Why? Well, now I know why… because even believing everything positive I wrote about the drug, I also know that, like anything else, the purpose behind it's use is the most important thing to consider. I used it to hide… to cover up emotions… to stay out of my heart and in my head… I put it first so that everything else had to be second. It wasn't something I did socially with my friends at a party or to liven up a good time. I smoked all day by myself - at home, in my car, before going to the gym, before grocery shopping, before any activity, actually… and before going to bed. I was looking to be high all day, so I never really had to focus completely on any one thing at a time. 

And that is what I discovered I had when I removed weed from my life: focus. I've been able to focus on building the relationships in my life that are important to me, I've been able to focus on the big dreams I've had for a long time that I never thought were attainable, I've been able to focus on my driving (I always drove high... tsk, tsk…), and more important than anything else, I've been able to focus on myself and how awesome I really am when I don't have to hide behind something. I can be and have a good time even when I'm sober. The real me? Pretty cool after all. 

Not to mention, I'm saving over $200 a month. Closer to $250 if you factor in the cigarettes as well. 

It has been a crazy eight months. It's amazing to look at all of the people and opportunities I've attracted since I started this trek. Everything from the money that gave me all this time to pursue my writing to the man that I have spent the last month falling completely in love with. As my 30th year - and my bank account - begin to wind down, I wonder what my next step is. I have a rough idea in my head of where I want to take this blog, what I want to work on next and what I want my future to look like… but if there is one thing I've learned over the last eight months, it's not to get attached to how things look. One thing I do know for sure is that as long as I remain true to myself and my beliefs and maintain the highest level of excellence I can in every moment, the Universe will provide for me. 

I don't expect things to always be easy. Last weekend proved that… but without constantly being challenged, we can never know what our true potential actually is. Steven and I made it through that "Day of Epic Fails" as we refer to it in laughter, and we came out the other side as a stronger, more committed couple. One month down, and a lifetime to go.  

So what do you say… are you in?

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