A Series: Dating at 21 (Pt. 1)

Part 1: Discover You

I am probably not the best person to be giving advice about dating or relationships for that matter, but I tell myself I’m not THAT bad. Let me elaborate…

Ever since moving to Toronto 3 years, I have been in a relationship. I wasn’t sleeping around or going on a dating spree like in Taylor Swift fashion, but I instantly found myself in a solid long term relationship that lasted nearly 2.5 years. Let me start off by clarifying that I have no regrets or intensions to bash my past relationships, but I see all of these experiences as little lessons and periods of my life. Each holding it’s own truth and reasoning for happening the way they did.

Five months have now past, and I have gone through my (numerous cycles) of ups and downs. In the midst of all of this reflection, it has become super obvious to me that I am so young. Well not SO, but I am young. 2.5 years in a relationship at that time, was 1/10th of my life.

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What I find so interesting is listening to my friends or peers stories about their past relationships or dating life. A common theme that made itself present was that around this age, we become the ideal victims of such confusion. Placed in a time with high expectations and contradictory knowledge of how to handle it. This has really intrigued and motivated me to write a series like this. Whether we like it or not, these past experiences contribute to who we are – and I want to explore it more.

First off, I think the biggest thing I have learned coming out of a long-term relationship at a young age, is the reality that I really don’t know myself as a person. Supposedly during this period of my life, I am suppose to be figuring myself out and finding my place in the world – but I honestly feel like these past couple of years have been an illusion to this theory. I mean, in a relationship – you are constantly working on the us, so when do you have time to work on the you? I am not saying that dating was a distraction or the sole reason to this confusion, but it definitely did not push me in the ways I wanted to be pushed.

It’s not that you are purposely neglecting yourself or your needs, but there is another person to consider…all the time! Whether it be going out, your plans for the weekend, how you spend your free time, or just budgeting financially. All of these little things add up to the big thing: a committed relationship.

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The first lesson, don’t be afraid to go after what you want. The way I see it, relationships at this age can result in 1 of 2 outcomes – either you get married and live happily-ever-after, or you break up. There is really no in-between. At the end of the day, no one should tell you what to do, except yourself – so why not make life decisions that make you the most happy? Sure, it COULD be called being selfish, I just call it life. Discover you and what you want in your life, and don’t settle for anything less.

This series is a reflection of who I have become and learned over these past couple of years – and I hope to hear from others as well. Dating at 21 should be fun, not scary – unfortunately, it’s just not always the case. I hope to share the hard reality of growing up, falling down, and getting back up (somehow).

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