Recently I found myself in need of a vehicle. With most things in life, I tend to be very impatient. I jumped at every decent car I could find online, only to be disappointed in person. After awhile I became discouraged that I would never find a car that was dependable, able to handle my reckless driving, and within my price range. I realized that my list of demands far outnumbered the cars available to me. It seemed that to find a car, I would need to give up what mattered most to me. I found myself settling for cars that I knew I wouldn’t be happy with. My mom urged me to persist, “You need to be particular. Like you are with boys.”
Then it clicked. Relationships are like cars.
I’ve been single for what feels like forever. I’ve casually dated and found myself in short term relationships but nothing has ever really stuck. I’ve always had fairly high standards, something that has turned the ocean of available men into a small pond. I’ve met a lot of great guys, but somehow timing and life got in the way and I took that as signs that it just wasn’t meant to be. More often than not, I find myself worrying that my high standards will leave me single until the day I die. It is on those days I have to remind myself that I would not settle for just any car, and I will most certainly not settle on the man I plan to spend the rest of my life with.
Relationships are no different. You go out into the world, looking for a life partner. You may set up a date and get to know each other. If you like what you see, you make it more serious. You then meet the family, learn about their past and where they hope to be in the future. Eventually, if you like what you find, you seal the deal and you’re happily married.
That car search though, is tough. You’ve done your research and your mind is set on what you want and you begin to look for YOUR car. You come to find that none of the cars on the market meet your needs. Some have too many miles. They may have some dings and scratches. Some may be out of your price range. They don’t have the sunroof you envisioned. You find yourself hopeless, thinking maybe there isn’t a car out there for you.
You go into the dating world with idea of what you want in mind. You date around and test out the waters but nothing feels right. Maybe they’re too tall or too short. Maybe they’ve had a history of bad relationships in the past. Maybe they’re just not interested, or they’re just not at the same stage of life. Maybe they’re great on paper, but you just don’t have that magical connection. You find yourself hopeless, thinking there’s not a person out there for you.
Then you see that car in the distance. It’s not at all what you hand in mind. It’s fuel efficient, has been well kept, and runs smoothly. It isn’t shiny and new. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you thought you wanted, but it’s in your price range and suddenly it becomes exactly what you needed.
You meet that one person and something just clicks. They may not have the body of Zac Efron. They may not be the next best thing to come out of Harvard, but they’re sweet. They’re kind. They know just how to make you laugh. They’re dependable. They somehow manage to handle your mood swings and constant need of attention. Being with them is easy and effortless. Suddenly it makes sense why it never worked with anyone else in the past. This person was made for you.
At least I hope that’s how it works, I’ve only recently found my perfect car. Doing so, though, has taught me that I need to be more open minded to the people that enter my life. I will not lower my standards, but I will learn to let go of the things that don’t really matter (regardless of how much I think I want that sunroof). When it comes down to it, no one is perfect. They may not be everything you asked for, but you'll find they're everything you need.
So future husband, wherever you are, you can find me windows down, music blaring, in my new (to me) car.