As life goes on, you become more and more of an individual. As a child, your parents knew everything about your life. They drove you to school and softball practice and they picked you up from your best friend's house after a sleep over. They also knew how you could not sleep without your night light on until you were eight and how ever since you were a little baby you loved it when it rained. They knew everything about you that made you, you. And then you got older and you made better friends. Your friends knew that you failed your science quiz and hid the paper from your parents. They knew that you would never let them borrow your favorite grey hoodie. They would never find out about the nightlight, but it seemed like now they knew a little bit more about you than your parents did. As you moved on to high school you met even more people. They had no idea that you still had a silly grey hoodie hanging in your closet even though your mom tried to make you throw it out two years ago. In fact, no one but you knew that. These knew friends did know that sometimes you arrived late to class and called yourself out so your mom would not be mad. They knew exactly who you wanted to go to Homecoming with and they swore they would not tell anyone. You soon found that it was easier to be around these people. They might not know the exact address to your kindergarten best friend's house like your dad does, but you do not feel like you have to justify your actions to them. They understand you better than anyone else because they know the most about how you feel and what your life is like on a day to day basis. Then you graduate and you find yourself halfway across the country. Your with people you have never met before and you soon find yourself telling them that you have always loved the rain and you find yourself defending your high school crush. For the first time in your life, you are not around people who know something about you. You realize that to them you are a blank slate. As you go on to present yourself and make memories with these new people, you realize that everything you shared with your friends and family back home is fading into the distance. The failed science test seems decades away and you begin to wonder how the people you knew for years would react to the way you walk, talk, think and act today. You suddenly see that through it all, through all the show-and-tells and football games and phone calls and vactions, you were not only making memories with people you loved, you were makng y ourself, Everytime you made a descions you etching a mold of who you are in the world around you. You were no longer contained by the lode scions of your parents, the experiences with your friends. You became you because you did things that were fully your own. The only person who went through the journey you went through, was you. All along you have been your oldest and most trustworthy firend. All along you have been there to know and understand yourself.
Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.
What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.
I've heard it all:
"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"
"You didn't even give him a chance!"
"You pay too much attention to the little things!"
What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.
However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.
So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?
Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...
1. Wants to know my friends.
Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.
I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.
Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.
2. Actually, cares to get to know me.
Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.
This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.
3. How they talk about other women.
It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.
If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"
Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.
Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.
4. Phone etiquette.
If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.
If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.
He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.
To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.
Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.
So, it is looking like I am about to leave my teenage years behind. I think that I want to reflect back on this time in my life and think about what I want to keep with me in my twenties and maybe some things I can let go. My teenage years have been full of love from my family and friends; hard work to make good grades in school and creating art. I developed several great friendships that I have held on to across the miles even though I went to college 14 hours away from our previous home. I am so thankful for the friendships I have made in college as well.
It seems like friends you make in your childhood and younger years can really stand the test of time. Maybe it is because when you became friends you were truly who you were. Everyone was genuine and didn't put up walls to protect themselves. You got to know someone on a deeper more personal level more quickly than if you had met later in life. I also think we laughed even more as children and that always creates good memories to look back on. So I think in my twenties I will try to hang on to the "childish" way of making friends. I will try to show my true self and will accept them for who they are, and we will laugh....a lot.
I think a good thing to let go of is always trying to make dead-end relationships work. When we were children on the playground and we tried to play a game together or jump rope and it just wasn't working, we would run off and find someone else. It was easy. It was just natural. Now sometimes I find myself trying to stay in a relationship by being overly nice, giving gifts, trying to find what pushes the persons "good" buttons. I might spend so much time trying to figure this person out that I leave out more solid relationships that are worth my time. So in my twenties, I will try to be more realistic about who to spend my time on. Some people are just never going to stand the test of time. I can continue to be cordial but won't let them rule my time and thought life.
As children, we loved our parents and siblings and would show love to them in a myriad of ways. Maybe it was hugs, pictures on the fridge, good night kisses, playing games, or just quality time spent together as a family. Starting my twenties, I am mature enough to realize the value of these people in my life. Thankfully, I have always known this. I was never the type that was embarrassed if someone saw me walking with my Mom or Dad or being dropped off in the Mom Van somewhere. I always knew these people loved me more than anyone else I was about to meet. But in my twenties, I plan to keep up with my family even when I am eight hours away from them. We are never too old to need the love of family.
As weird as it is to say goodbye to my teenage years, it's honestly helped me to soak in the precious moments of everyday life and treasure them even more. Every year when birthdays come around, it always serves as a reminder how quickly the days, months, and years fly by. I think that has been one difficult part of this birthday season. It's hard to say goodbye to the past, without a clear map of the future. But, I must remind myself that this is why growing up is a beautiful thing- as we live life and experience new things, we are better prepared for what the future may hold. Everything that I have experienced in my 20 years has served an important purpose- to make me into the person I am supposed to become. Yes, life is always changing and so am I... and change can be hard. Very hard. But one thing to remember is God is always constant. He will never change. No matter what number is on your birthday cake, He is always there...the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the Rock that we will always be able to cling to. Isn't that a wonderful thought? Even if we don't know what's in His plans for us in the coming year, it's important to make Him a part of our plans. Rather than worry about change, let's embrace it all- the good and the bad- and look to the Lord to see how He will guide and shape us.
Teenage years- the time has come. I must say goodbye to you now. But, you will never be forgotten. I will hold your memories in my heart forever. Twenties- I am excited for all that awaits me.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9