I came to college, like many other people, holding tightly to my story of the high school sweethearts who made it work. My high school boyfriend and I went to two different colleges, although not too far from each other, so earlier on in college I thought our story could prevail. By the end of our few years together, it was clear I was griping tightly on to a tale that no longer wanted to be told. Our own journeys grew further apart as time went on. He became a person I no longer knew, but I insisted that we were worth fighting for. I wanted our love story to be worth fighting for. Eventually, he decided it wasn’t.
I spent the next year of my life desperately wanting to find my new love story. The truth is, whenever you go looking for a love story, you normally don’t find it. I found a lot of things during that year, none of it being love. I found awkward rounds of flirtation and boys that reinforced much of my fears. I found a lot of lonely nights questioning my worth. I found strong drinks to cover up weak confidence. Mostly, I found a lot of brokenness.
Amidst a flurry of questionable flirting endeavors and drinks uptown, I began to realize how unfulfilled I truly felt. I was determined to fill the lull in life that I felt after my break-up. I learned the art of dressing up, cradling drinks, and smiling at everyone who looked my way. My friends and I would joke about the husband hunt we were all on or the MRS degrees we were pursuing. I was determined to be in control of my next love story, in hopes that I could keep it from turning into another tragedy. Despite my bad luck in landing a new epic love, my story was falling in to place more than I knew.
I was reaffirmed in my life mission of finding true love one day last year during a staff meeting for all of the resident assistants in the hall I worked in. We had to set professional goals for all the other staff members. The universe had, of course, put on me on a staff with all boys. I braced myself for the ridiculous demands I expected to follow. In a semi-serious, semi-comical moment of staff development, my co-worker, Matt, presented me with my own professional goal for the rest of the year: to find true love.
At the time, the professional goal was a mere moment of comedic relief, but in the bigger story that was unfolding this was a moment of foreshadowing for a story I could have never imagined.
Six months later, after he went through a break-up and I gave up on cocktail hour flirting, we started dating.
After wanting so badly for a new love story, the moment I stopped looking and just started living, my new story found me. We often return to that moment at our staff meeting, when he said with a smirk that I simply needed to find true love. Whenever we talk about it, I’m reminded of how when I let go of control of my love life and embraced all parts of my life I was able to live fearlessly.
“Remember when I told you to find true love?” he often asks me, “I’m glad I’m the one you found.”