Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Analogies, it is True, Decide Nothing, But They Can Make One Feel More at Home." - Sigmund Freud

I had a dream last night that my parents moved and, for some reason, I decided to move with them. As in, move IN with them at their new place. I had a big upstairs room with a gigantic walk in closet. I remember feeling really sad that I no longer had my little Las Vegas apartment. It was one of those dreams where, when I woke up, I was so happy it wasn’t true. 

I love my apartment. I’ve lived here since December 2009. It’s the longest I’ve stayed somewhere since I lived with Eric in our Long Beach apartment. The only thing that unnerves me about my place is that it is managed by a huge property management company so every year, they raise all the rents. Luckily, I’ve signed long leases so my increases have been very minimal. But they also increased my rent when Bailey came along and that pissed me off too. What I thought was a great deal when I first moved in now sometimes seems a little too pricey for a one-bedroom apartment, but I love it so much that I suck it up. Still cheaper than my one room closet, er... “studio” that I had in Belmont Shore for a few months before moving to Nevada. 

When I went apartment hunting back in November 2009, I was in a position where I wanted to move out of my parents’ place, but I wasn’t under any kind of major time constraint. I had also just started my management training program with Chili’s so money was stable. Therefore, I was able to be choosy with where I wanted to live. I had a few non-negotiables that determined whether or not I would even look at the apartment. For example, there had to be a washer and dryer in the unit. It had to be an upstairs unit. It had to be in the northwest part of town. It had to have good parking (not usually an issue in Las Vegas, but a leftover concern from living in Los Angeles). 

After these things, there were some preferences as well that I considered. I preferred a gated community. I preferred a fitness center and a pool. I preferred a patio and good storage space. I preferred hardwood but, again, that’s more of a leftover L.A. desire. I preferred a walk-in closet and large bathroom. 

I got really lucky finding all of these things with my apartment. Well, not the hardwood... but the linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom looks like wood so I figured that was close enough. 

Prior to moving in here, I had been bouncing around between living with my parents and living with roommates. By the time I finally had my own place, I had very little to actually put in it. The only furniture I managed to hold on to included a bed, a small dresser, a desk, an end table and a couple of bookshelves. It was a little frustrating at first because the place was so cute and I really wanted it to look nice right away. But, I had a lot of work ahead of me to get the place in shape and I knew it wouldn’t be an overnight process. 

Shortly after moving in, my friend Travis needed a place to stay for a while so my living room basically turned into a second bedroom for a few months. After he moved out, I was really anxious to get the place looking like an actual home. One of my stronger Cancerian qualities for sure. 

I added elements little by little. I had painted when I first moved in, but wasn’t able to add furniture right away. Eventually, I picked up a small table for the kitchen and was fortunate to be given leftover couches, chairs, televisions and entertainment units from friends who no longer needed them. Not everything matched perfectly, but I managed to marry things quite nicely. 

Piece by piece and a home really started to come together. And then a few weeks ago, I saw an old coffee table in my brother’s garage that I had sold him when I moved out here. I asked if I could buy it back from him. We were in the middle of a golf bet and he told me if my golfer beat his, I could have the table. 

Thank you, Padraig Harrington! 

My dad helped me clean up the table and re-stained the top of it for me. I brought it home, dragged it up the stairs, rearranged a few things in the living room and, bam! It’s like everything I’ve been working towards just came together all at once. It was the final element I needed to have the place I had been envisioning since I first stepped in the apartment. 

A handful of years ago, I was in between relationships and, as I tend to do, feeling woeful about it. A friend of mine had made a suggestion. She said that when she was younger, she made a list of all the qualities that she wanted in her mate. She was very specific in what she wanted and created her perfect relationship on paper. 

Years later, life happened... I might get some specifics wrong, but as I recall, she had gotten pregnant but had no interest in marrying the father. She had recently met someone else at the time who wanted to marry her so that she wouldn’t have to face her family as a single parent. She told me that, at the time, this person wasn’t really what she had pictured in her mind when she made that list all those years ago. However, given her situation, she thought it was the best thing to do at the time. 

Many years and three children later, she found the list she had written in her youth. She told me that as she read through all of the qualities she had laid out, she began to get extremely emotional. She realized that, without knowing what she was doing, she had actually married the man she had created on paper.  

I always loved that story. 

My friend, Erin, recently reminded me that I had told her to make a list of qualities as well. She told me I should revisit this practice given the fact that I’ve been having such a struggle finding the right person for me. She and I agree that I have certainly been meeting good people, but being a good person with a good heart doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship will be the right one for me. She encouraged me to get specific and be honest with what I truly want out of a man. 

Without him knowing any of this, my dad and I were talking about a week ago. He saw that my relationship status on Facebook indicated I was single again. He told me that he had a cousin that used to carry around a list of qualities that were so important, he wouldn’t even go out on a date with a girl unless she fit the position just right. They used to tease him over this list but he didn’t care. He knew what he wanted and didn’t want to waste his time on anything less. 

When things show up repeatedly like this, I think it’s time to pay attention. 

I’ve been wanting to write a blog that included these qualities but couldn’t really figure out how to go about it. I was originally just going to make a list of the first twenty things I could think of and then prioritize them. But that seemed too simple. Then I thought about drawing it out and doing a series of blogs explaining what I wanted and why I wanted them in better detail. But that seemed too tedious. 

And then I had that dream about no longer having my apartment and how upset it made me. I spent a good amount of time making my home the perfect place for me but it took being specific with what I wanted and then being patient as I worked and waited for everything to come together. I woke up thinking - maybe if I approached my relationships the same way, I would have better results. 

So I’m working on my non-negotiables. And my preferences. And as always, I will share them here because I like to be held accountable. 

The most important thing I’ve been working on, however, is my patience. I have, more than once, made the mistake of jumping into a relationship quickly after one ends. I know a lot of people notice this and some even like to tell me. And often, I feel like it’s too premature as well. However, the void I feel after a relationship has ended, regardless of its length, is painful and lonely. Hating to feel that way, I try to fill the void as quickly as possible and I guess I thought the only way to do so is to find someone else to love me. 

I’m learning that there are many ways to fill that void. I’m lucky to have a supportive family who is also fun to hang out with. I’ve been spending a lot more time doing social activities with my brother and we have truly become friends again. Friends and Family Fit Club keeps me busy and connected to a higher purpose. I’ve been working a ton and find that the more I work, the less I hate it. I’m very comfortable with my job now and there are quite a few people I genuinely look forward to seeing every day. Serving is an extremely unrewarding job if one constantly seeks recognition and “atta-boys” but I work to make money so for me, it’s quite fulfilling. 

Cooking for friends, watching golf with my brother, reading, working out, saving money, coming up with challenges for Fit Club and reconnecting with old friends has really made the last few weeks of being newly single a lot less painful and lonely. Not to mention the train wreck that this last breakup became... a good reminder that entering a relationship flippantly and with no real intention is definitely not a positive thing for me. 

Who knows? Maybe I’ll win my next relationship in a golf bet as well. I did take Tiger this weekend and he is WAY overdue to win a major.

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