The number of romantic interludes I’ve had is embarrassingly low. Like, so low many of you would be shocked. However, it was pointed out to me the other day the way I talk about places to live, other people talk about romantic relationships. And then it hit me – what other people experience in their dating life, I experience in my home life.
I have moved 32 times (roughly) in 29 years and in that time I’ve experienced a LOT. I’ve had short-term flings (i.e. sublets); I’ve experienced love at first sight – my apartment in San Francisco – which has now turned into a phantom ex, the one I measure all others against. I’ve also had the experience of my love turning into a nightmare and lamenting how it happened – I’m talking about how my San Francisco upstairs neighbor started playing loud music and I didn’t sleep for four months.
I’ve moved into places that sounded good on paper, places I liked well enough but didn’t love – like my in-law unit in Balboa Park with a yippy dog – that eventually drove me nuts. I’ve remained good friends with exes, such as places in Washington, D.C., and we catch up every so often. I’ve “dated” apartments with kids (i.e. had a roommate with a child), and savored foreign lovers – there is a hotel in Vienna that I go back to year after year with pleasure.
In my current place, it wasn’t love at first sight, but we liked one another, it had all the qualities I’m looking for, but it turns out my apartment can’t commit. I’m sad to say, my landlady blew up at me unexpectedly and asked me to move out before my lease is up. I do have a lease, so I’m not sure when I’m moving, but at the moment we’re in that awkward space of knowing our “relationship” is coming to an end. In the interim, we are linked due to circumstances.
Not to mention I’ve been on loads of first dates (i.e. going to look at a place after first reading about it on Craigslist), attended tons of parties (open houses), and been rejected countless times. And I find myself wanting places that don’t want me – places that sound so intriguing and perfect but can’t be bothered to give me the time of day. And the reverse – places have wanted me that I haven’t.
The feelings that other people have in romance – the hope, the excitement, the euphoria, the resentment, the disappointment, the anger, the heartbreak – I’ve experienced in finding places to live. I bring this up because I’m a teensy bit ashamed of my paltry dating life, but now I see the universe is infinite and unlimited and so I’m having similar experiences in an unconventional way. Unconventional doesn’t mean bad, it means unusual. It doesn’t mean I’m any less equipped to deal with a partner when he comes along because I’m feeling the same things other people are, just in a different way.
I wrote this post because I find the situation to be funny, but also because maybe you think in some ways you don’t measure up. Maybe you feel ashamed because you’re not having the same experiences other people are having. I’m here to tell you, maybe you are and you’re unaware of it. Maybe life isn’t so much about a route or a path as it is about feelings. Maybe every person is supposed to experience hope, excitement, euphoria, resentment, disappointment, anger, and heartbreak, and it’s the emotions that count, not the particulars.
I dream of a world where we don’t discount our emotions. A world where we stop comparing ourselves to others, always coming up short. A world where we realize feelings count more than circumstances. A world where we embrace our unconventional selves.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.