Many of us naively look back upon our youth and think, “Oh, to be young. How wonderful it was back then to fall in and out of love; to look at someone and feel the piercing of Cupid’s Arrow- the pitter-patter of your heart when you’ve met your prince charming of the moment. It was so great to be unencumbered by the chains of responsibility, regret, pain, loss or horrible credit.
When I reach back into the recesses of my heart I can still feel the sun on my shoulders and hear the joyous laughter of my friends as we made our way through our youth relatively unscathed.
And then I remember.
It did hurt.
If I sit quietly and reflect with fierce resolve, I can remember the painful moments of sitting by the phone waiting for the call that never came. I remember sitting at home, grounded, and realizing that Johnny Be Goode (who I only really loved from AFAR but was sure that he must KNOW that we were destined to be together) was probably at the huge party flirting, laughing and falling in love with some other fair-haired shapely young woman who was not grounded.
My heart remembers how it felt to be broken apart by a friend who may or may not have decided that she liked the cute boy you secretly loved, and while she might have pretended to be helping you get together with him it was she who ended up locked in a steamy embrace with said boy.
Oh the dating days of youth.
Dating with the body of a fifty-year old woman is hard enough- but stuffed inside of that somewhat wrinkled and tarnished body is the unfortunate heart and emotion of a 16 year-old.
Damn it all to hell.
It’s been hard to remind myself what “dating” actually means.
Supposedly, and logically, it means that you go to dinner, have a lovely time, and go about your business. It does NOT mean that you wait by the phone 24 hours a day, check your text messages 100 hours a day, or make up crazy reasons why the person can’t possibly reach you.
And so I am laughing at myself as I find my way down this awkward, fun, crazy, somewhat familiar path. I will try to remember the advice I give my girls- the advice I never followed when I was young, and that is this: You have to live YOUR life, respect and love YOURSELF, and then if the time and the person is right, love will find you.
And it will not be the jealous, hurtful, angry, ugly, painful love.
It will, I’m sure, finally be glorious.