Do you remember the days before social media and cell phones? Somewhere between playing on the playground during recess and meeting up with your crew on a Friday night to watch the high school basketball game in that hot auditorium? Well, I do. Those were the best times, so simple and carefree. There wasn’t any pressure or stress. There was no rush to grow up; life was exciting, and love seemed untroubled. I used to look at my friend’s older siblings and be so excited to grow up and get a boyfriend. Getting asked out, dressed up, and then being picked up while your parents hid behind the curtains as you walked down the driveway fully embarrassed, I mean, can you think of anything more thrilling? The first time I ever went on a date I spent two hours staring into my closet as if the clothes were going to jump off the hanger and onto my body. My hand was trembling as I put on mascara and curled my hair. I had a thousand thoughts running through my head, yet there wasn’t any pressure to impress him (and hoped he liked me).
Love seemed so fun, so easy breezy until you grow up and realize it’s one of the most pathetic and frustrating things you have to deal with as an adult next to paying bills.
Fast forward fifteen years and you are sitting on your couch on a cold Wednesday night. You’re in your apartment alone, drinking a glass which then turns into the bottle of wine, screaming at your TV watching The Bachelor all the while refreshing your Instagram feed every thirty seconds. Real life love is nothing like those cheesy Rom-Com movies from the 90’s. I thought love and relationships were going to be as entertaining and thrilling as Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger’s in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. The scene at the end where she looks in her car to find a brand-new, shiny guitar then they proceed to passionately make out with each other- guys, it was everything! Instead, I walk to my car after working a ten-hour day just to find a flat tire or a scratch on my bumper because people in Chicago park like we all drive go-karts.
I then drive that banged up car over to my parent’s house for family dinner. As a family-oriented, Italian woman, I constantly feel pressure to find a good man. “You’re almost 32”, my mom whispers to me oh so sweetly, “don’t you think it’s about that time?” I quickly debate whether I should pull up Michael B. Jordan’s Instagram and tell her that this is the new man I’m dating. She won’t know the difference, right? If you know anything about Italian mothers, it’s that they’re persistent and won’t drop it until they see proof.
I don’t think love was intended to be so challenging. The way society and our generation has shifted has made it difficult. Social media, the pressures of always being perfect, caring…but not too much, having feelings…but not too many, these are all things that we have created in our current culture to sabotage our own chance at love. For years, society has made it seem that if you weren’t married with kids at a certain age you’re doomed for failure. I’ve personally taken a few years to focus on myself and prioritize what I want in life to be the best I can be. I can tell you that being selfish and learning about who I am was more than necessary. It prepared me to be ready for a partner when that time comes. However, in a world full of hookups, way too many options and the fear to put titles on things, how is one to find a person who is ready to commit? Don’t get it twisted- not everyone seeks love and that’s completely fine. What about the people that want to be in a serious, committed relationship though? Is the idea of romance and being committed to someone so far-fetched that it’s become extinct? What if we stopped glorifying cheating, side bitches and casual sex, could that help the issue? Believe me, I love a good Migos song or a fun twerking video on Baller Alert just as much as the next person, but let’s take it back to the day where it was simple, no pressure or stress. Let’s stop playing games and making things harder than they have to be. Instead, send that I miss you text, ask that girl you’ve liked for months on a date and have actual face to face conversations just like the good ol’ days. Let’s say what we mean and mean what we say and have no regrets. It’s okay to catch feelings for someone, you don’t always have to come off as tough. At the end of the day, who wouldn’t want to find their ride or die, their best friend to share the special moments that life has to offer? Instead of looking at relationships as a ball and chain type of situation, try to look at it from a different perspective because I promise you, I’ve witnessed true love and I’m all here for it.
I’m no expert on love and relationships, in fact I am far from it. I’m just a thirty one year old woman out here (trying to survive) while looking for the man of my dreams.