There are all sorts of mates. Tablemates, friends, roommates, housemates, dorm mates and for some that lifelong mate/spouse/partner. When I was young I could pretty much hang with just about anyone. As long as they were not “mean” I could coexist and not be bothered by much. When I really wanted to feel like myself and feel appreciated of course my circle got a lot smaller and I hung out with friends. I had some TERRIBLE roommates and a couple of good ones that became lifelong friends. JoAnne was a great housemate. I have a husband that is good fit for me. But, I had no idea what I was supposed to look for.
Hindsight is 20/20 they say. This is why old people have so much wisdom and advice. They have been there. Eventually they stop trying to help you because in their stage of life, they realize you can not see the forest for the trees. Such is the circle of life for humans. We are so damn stubborn and righteous. LOL
So here I am in my 50s realizing that I was hella cute when I was a teenager and not the hideous blob that I thought I was. I realize that I had great potential in college and should have gone for gold, gotten a loan and applied to a different college, scholarship or no scholarship. I should not have “settled” for a career just because everyone knew I would be good at it. I should not have wasted time trying to befriend people who truly did not care about me. They just wanted me to drive them here and there, babysit for them, help them with homework, pay for their dinner when they “forgot” their wallet for the 5th time, etc.
I wish we could visit our younger selves like the ghosts in Scrooge. Instead of being scary we would be fabulous like Glenda the Good Witch or Oprah from A Wrinkle In Time. Then we could give advice to our former selves like, “Girl you are HOT. I know you don’t even know what that means, but you do not have to settle. Have some swag and enjoy being YOU.” “You made a B in science and you are upset? You do realize more than half the class made C or less, right? There was only one A – you did great!” “Yes, you gained weight but it’s WEIGHT and it comes on and goes off – don’t wallow – go take a walk”. “They never talk about it but women have miscarriages all the time- you are not faulty, you are not broken, you are just human. You are not a cow. If it is draining your energy it is okay to STOP trying for a baby.” I could go on and on and on. But I digress. . .
Whatever kind of mate you are looking for, don’t forget to think about YOU. We often forget that. We are focused on if we are a good mate for them but we have to think about ourselves too. If it is a life long partner, you must consider if they can take care of you when you are sick, ill or dying. If you know you can do that for them, you need to ask them and yourself if they can really do it too. Otherwise who is going to take care of you? If you are with someone that just hides when you are sick or refuses to help you then that is a sign they may not be able to be a caretaker. That does not make them awful. They just need a mate that is willing to do more of that. Hopefully they will know themselves enough to know they will hire a nurse for you if needed.
When you are looking at your friend and wondering if they are best friend material you look at similar things. Does she also do thoughtful things for you or is she just really good at receiving gifts and saying thank you? When he forgets to meet you for lunch for the 10th time do you laugh it off or sulk because it hurts? If that relationship works and you are truly satisfied then that is great. But if you are feeling forgotten or taken advantage of, it’s not a good fit.
I truly think some of us forget to think of ourselves. Just writing that sounds so selfish, but I have finally learned that caring for your SELF is not selFISH – it is selfLOVE. That is the one lesson I would LOVE to go back in time and tell my younger self. Stop playing with that kid – she is going to run back to her pod of girls and make fun of you later. Don’t loan that boy your cowboy hat, he is never going to return it. Your mom should not be treating you that way – tell someone – anyone – what is happening. That man is not going to be a good lifelong partner. Don’t wait 6 years to figure it out! You knew it after year 3. I would also tell my BFF to yell at me to run. LOL It was not her job but I would have loved it if she had.
Of course we can look at our past and say, if we did not go through all that we would not be the person we are today. Maybe. But I think I’ve always been who I am. While some experiences may have fortified my personality I think I could still be me without being used or abused. I could have done without about 50% of my negative experiences. Since I can’t go back in time, I try to gently remind my own daughters how incredibly great they are. Don’t worry, I put them in their place if they are being selfish or mean to one another, but I teach them to forgive themselves as easily as they forgive others. I hope the ideas sticks and they will be happier for it. Good luck to everyone looking for a mate.