Last night I re-watched the Friends finale- you know the one: Rachel is about to leave for Paris and Ross runs after her to persuade her to stay with him and their daughter in NYC. The episode that made you cry the first time you saw it and you had no idea why because relationships and love just don’t seem to be your highest priority at 18... nor do you want it to fog your concept of reality. But 5 years later… here’s what I have to say about that-
You are 23. And you are single… I know what you’re thinking, “23 and single… What does this mean? Am I just so super successful in my career I don’t have time to date!? Or maybe I developed a stutter and grew a third nostril rendering me indescribably hideous? Well… no. Neither of those assumptions are correct (especially the second, thank God!) You are not incredibly successful in your career *see previous letter*, and you still have your blonde hair, clearer skin, and LUCKILY still only one petite, normal nose.
You have dated many guys, but have not found the ONE yet. It’ll be difficult but try to find peace in that, even though you have been to over 15 of your friends’ weddings in the past three years and gone single to every single one of them. Some of these weddings are for people you know from high school, but mostly those of new friends you’re about to make. Yes, you are going to make new friends that will stay with you for your lifetime. Just wait- the few that remain from high school and the new ones you keep even after college- they’re the best things that will ever happen to you. Evaluate your friendships by the level of happiness each and every person you form a relationship with brings you. If they bring you stress, don't bring them along on your journey. If they bring out the best in you, hold on to them no matter the distance between you both. People are your greatest treasures- you'll learn that even the dullest of moments in life can turn into the grandest adventures if shared with the right people.
Remember that you deserve a godly man, one who loves Jesus and follows the 10 commandments. Trust me- your mother will want to test him when you bring him home. Oh, and remember when your grandfather said you want to find someone like him… you’ll roll your eyes but he is right. He taught your dad how to be a good man, father, and husband. And your dad will prove to be the best model of what you will need in a man to be a greatest husband to you, father to your children, and man of Christ. Just wait, he will blow your mind with his love. So yes, find someone like your dad and grandfather.
Oh, and don’t be ashamed to admit you’re a hopeless romantic like I know you are when you’re 18 years old. It doesn’t mean you’re “too girly” or “soft” or anything in the vicinity of “childish”. Being a romantic means you’re opening up for the chance to experience extreme happiness with another individual. It means you expect class out of the men who pursue you and that you demand respect in all of your relationships. Being a hopeless romantic will keep you wanting picnics like described in Frank Sinatra songs (yes, you’ll learn to love Sinatra), black tie and long dress dances, and flowers on your doorstep after a hard day. Being a hopeless romantic will also keep you on your toes to respect your man and treat him like a prince- make him feel loved on a regular basis with sweet notes on his lampshade to wake up to, dinner made from scratch and served on your back porch, impromptu dates to the batting cage or a run in the rain. Being a hopeless romantic doesn't mean desiring everything you see in a Katherine Heigle romantic comedy- it means you love to be loved and to love others in a creative fashion- so embrace it and NEVER let your heart grow weary of it.
There will be guys who tell you that this is a too-high-expectation out of them and that fairytales aren’t real. And you will keep in mind that not every day is filled with these moments. Some days will be marked with disappointment, feuds, and disagreements… but don’t let it lower your standards to be treated like anything less than you know you want.
That being said… be prepared: you will have your heart broken. It’s not fun, nor is it pretty. You will be upset (some for longer periods than others) and you will deal with them in varying ways. There will be buckets of tears shed… and that’s OK. But remember to keep your chin up and keep moving forward. At the end of the day, you can escape the voices of everyone else, but you will always remain with your own thoughts and opinions of yourself. Make sure those are happy and optimistic. Because boyfriends will come and go, and they will play a role in how you shape yourself- but let it ALWAYS be for the development of who you want to be. When they go, take what you learned and apply it to become the best version of yourself (and to find someone better for you). And above all else- Keep believing in your happy ending.
Until the next lengthy note from me… keep going, lovely!
All the best,