Things are Going Well, it Must be Time to Hit the Road
I spent the past few years coming to the firm conclusion that my happiness is dependent on three things: a rock solid community, a strong sense of self, and my fierce independence. In both high school and college, I committed myself to serious relationships, which while wonderful in their own way, ultimately left me feeling unsure and insecure. I craved the affirmation that came from having a partner and the structure that came from a partnership. And then on the eve of my senior year of college, I suddenly found myself very single and started asking questions like… what do I bring to the table when I show up alone? As time went by, I flew through my final classes, started casually dating, traveled across the world, applied for jobs, and eventually came to Seattle to start a life, while every step of the way checking in—was this what I wanted? Was this my dream or someone else’s? Am I happy? Did I remember to put on deodorant?
Slowly, I developed a more unique (and questionably more aggressive) personality. I discovered the person I am when no one else is around and there is no one to call, the person I am when there is no decision maker but me (not that I necessarily make great decisions, or even good decisions, but at least I’m making them). I became my own source of strength. I’ll argue that not everybody needs this time as much as I did, or needs to be independent as much as I do. I have friends who gained more strength from being in relationships then they did from being alone. But for me, being on my own was crucial.
So… here I am, living my not-so-glamorous, but wonderfully hilarious basement-chic life, firm in my belief that I discovered the secrets to happiness, when I decide to give my number to a guy at the Seattle Town Hall last December.
And then basically, in a matter of months I took what I knew to be true, accepted it, and threw it out the window.
After a 6-month whirlwind romance, I suddenly had the option of leaving behind my beautiful community, my amazing friends, my beloved room to instead jump on the road for a half planned, half fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants, rendezvous climbing trip in Europe. I would let go of all the stability in my life. I would dive headfirst into a relationship. I would be, for all intents and purposes, homeless and jobless. I always knew I wanted to travel again, to hit the road and push my boundaries, but was I letting go of the woman-power mantra I’d come to live by?
Despite moments of panic here and there, in the last few weeks I’ve come to realize what’s really true. Maybe I won’t be the solo decision maker anymore, maybe the showers will be fewer and farther between (which goes back to the important questions to ask oneself – Am I happy? Did I remember to put on deodorant?), but ultimately, I am not abandoning my happiness dogma, just stepping forward with a strong foundation beneath my feet. I'm finally ready to be part of something bigger than myself, something I can’t predict, something with potential high risk, but an even greater potential reward.