Dating In A Technology-Saturated World

Love is difficult enough on its own, but when you add our little black screens to the mix, things become just that much more complicated. First, let’s talk casually dating. There are a million different apps and websites you can use to meet people. Making a choice — or three — of what you want to use can dictate the kind of people you will meet. There is a dating app for everyone, whether you are looking for a farmer, a fellow vegetarian, or someone who loves Disney just as much as you do. This is great because it takes searching high and low out of the equation and sets you up with a partner who has at least some of the same interests that you do. Even using the more standard dating websites makes finding a partner a little easier because there are usually questions to answer that calculate what percent of a match you are with someone, which saves the smalltalk and goes straight for some of the biggest deal breakers like religion, smoking, or even what kind of family someone wants.

The dating culture now is different than it ever has been before because we have endless options. It is so easy to go out with a person, see a flaw you don’t like, and think, “Well, on to the next one!” when you have access to thousands of profiles online. Odds are there’s someone who fits the bill of exactly what you want, right? The problem with this rationale is that there is no such thing as a perfect person. We live in a time where if something is broken, we don’t fix it — we just get rid of it and upgrade. It isn’t worth the effort of learning how to jump over a hurdle or adapt to a new way of using something; it is far easier to just throw away a broken object than it is to put the time and effort into making ours work again. The same goes in the dating world. Far too often, as soon as someone learns about an issue, they decide to move on to find a different person without said problem. This turns into a vicious cycle in embarking on the search for perfection which, in this world, does not exist.

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Now let’s touch on solid relationships. The little black box certainly doesn’t make finding a partner easy, but once you’ve gotten one they work their little plastic butts off to make everything a little more complicated, despite their initial intention of making life easier for us. Instead of reaching to hold their partners in the morning, people reach for their phones. Rather than sitting together at the dinner table they sit on the couch in front of a television. Hours upon hours each week are spent on Facebook and scrolling mindlessly through Instagram. This whole new age of technology has greatly changed the course of our lives — for better and for worse.

At the end of the day, despite what it sometimes seems, we own technology — it does not own us. We can make our own decisions on how to use it to better our lives and enrich our relationships instead of harming them. I like using my little silver laptop to type words onto a screen and share them on here with you all. I like playing Super Smash Bros and Fortnite with my husband, and I like that I can shop no matter how I’m feeling and that there are people who will drive to my house with a piping hot pizza if I use my phone to order one. Technology is great as long as you know when to use it and how to continue to connect with your loved ones in person. This is why I harp so much on the importance of quality time spent with loved ones, rather than just time. It can be so easy to think you are pouring into others when you spend so much time with them, but if that time isn’t spent wisely it won’t really make an impact on their heart.

I still haven’t finished making my resolutions for the year, but one of them is that I am going to be more cognizant of how often I am using my phone and to put it away more when I am with my loved ones. I am going to invest more time in journaling and having heart-to-heart conversations, and be more productive about reaching my goals for this year. What are your resolutions for 2019?

New Beginnings

I rarely go out for NYE anymore, but it’s still one of my favorite holidays. I love words and symbolism, so the idea of having a clean slate is such a beautiful thing filled with possibilities. This is my favorite idiom on January 1st, and I take resolutions pretty seriously.

The past few years I’ve been choosing a “word of the year” that I try to keep as the foundation of the decisions I make. 2016 was “perseverance.” It was the year of the deployment and involved a whole lot of patience, sleepless nights, and pushing through the really hard parts. Something I remember so well about this year was running away from my thoughts at the gym. I often rode the recumbent bike and pushed harder and harder to try to escape from the difficult parts of life. As I’ve grown up I’ve found my coping mechanisms for hardship involve either working out, or doing my hair and makeup for no reason other than to feel like I have control over something when I can’t do anything about certain things life throws my way. I have a hard time dealing when people do things that hurt me, and I begin to feel claustrophobic when I know there’s nothing I can do about the way others behave or the fact that my health is declining despite working hard to feel good. Finding things I can control when it feels like things are spiraling has been so helpful to my heart.

I skipped 2017 because I felt too busy and excited for Robert’s homecoming. I wrote all about trying to get Tom Brady to come greet him at the airport, then about what our reunion was actually like. It happened to be perfect, even without the greatest quarterback there with us. We started a normal life together this year, and I focused on being in the present a lot. This past year was supposed to be “Fearless,” but as I’ve said a few times before I failed miserably at this word for 2018. I didn’t leave my comfort zone enough, and I gave up on a lot of my writing because I felt scared of sharing my intimate thoughts with the Internet. One of the reasons Single in The Suburbs really took off in the beginning was because I was able to candidly talk about my life without much of a filter or fear of being judged. I loved being open about the dating world with everyone because I realized that my dating life was just as uncomfortable, frustrating, and fun as every other twenty-somethings. I embraced the awkwardness, shared my weirdest stories, and ultimately tried to help other people realize they weren’t alone in anything. We all were having a hard time trying to find love and meeting someone who really understood our heart.

My problem now is that I don’t always feel as relatable anymore. I feel like nobody understands the pain that I have (Even though I know they do, and so many have been through so much more), I am more guarded and protective of my relationships, and I am afraid of the shadows of strangers that lurk on the Internet. Instead of feeling like I have a nice space where I can share without being judged, I feel like there are so many people who are cruel to others for having a different opinion, and “different” is a word that seems to define me. I can’t always relate to normal twenty-something’s lives, but I rarely find myself feeling insecure about being different. I was raised to love and be kind to everyone — whether or not they are similar to me — and I don’t understand the culture that accepts being cruel as a way to show disagreement. The Internet is plagued with trolls and people who get a kick out of tearing others down, which makes sharing any sort of opinion frightening.

This year I asked my Instagram friends to help me choose a word. We were either going to focus on “Joy,” or try “Fearless” one last time. The vote fluctuated from leaning heavily on “fearless,” to giving “joy” the lead later in the day. They switched back and forth a few times, and I liked that people seemed interested in both words, but ultimately I landed on FEARLESS for my word of 2019. I chose it for a few different reasons. First, I think it’s more difficult for me. Joy is something that comes more naturally with my personality, and although it’s been more of a struggle through times of hardship, I am always going to try to be joyful — regardless of the circumstances in life I cannot control. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 2019 or a decade later, I don’t see that changing about me. I like a challenge and being fearless this year certainly is going to be just that. I don’t want to lose the part of my heart that makes me kind, but I need to get my edge back that makes me more resilient to other humans.

Finally, I got some words of wisdom from a friend that if I live fearlessly, joy will come along with that. This was exactly what I needed to hear to pull the trigger and choose 2019 as the year of living fearlessly. I want this to impact several parts of my life. I am going to start writing on here more about things that matter to me — even in the areas where I feel like I’m different than the majority. I am going to face my fear of rejection in more than one area of my life, and I am going to pace myself for the dreams I want to chase. Finally, I’m going to teach myself that I am more valuable than what my body can and can’t do. One of my biggest fears since getting sick with POTS has been whether or not I could still be a valuable part of the world, even when I feel like I’m at my worst. Exploring what makes me special is a surprisingly scary thing because what I used to really value and love about myself was different before I got sick. I had very different goals and things I wanted to do in my life, but my trajectory drastically changed five summers ago. This is going to be a year where I take care of myself and learn how to be brave, even when it’s hard. 2019, get ready to be fearless. 

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Photo Credit: Katie Nesbitt Photography

New Year, New Me?

“New Year, New Me.” We see it year after year after year and I’m honestly not really quite sure what it’s supposed to mean.

Making resolutions is such a fun thing. Normally I spend New Year’s Eve at home in my pajamas with a glass of sparkling cider in one hand and a Sharpie in the other. My favorite thing is making new goals, adding to my dream board, and checking some things off my bucket list from the entire year. I wouldn’t say a new number on the calendar means that I am going to be an entirely new Krista, though.

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Photo Credit & Makeup: Audrey Denison

My heart still beats for the same people, I still have my same core values, and I am still trying to figure out how to change the world with my thoughts, feelings, and writing. Even if some of my habits change, I’m not going to be a different person.

A few of my goals this year are:

  • Writing more and doing a better job of posting regularly on here.
  • Going back to my gym routine and continuing to heal and kick as many POTS and EDS symptoms to the curb as humanly possible.
  • Planning a wedding with the help of two of my favorite people in the entire world.
  • Eating well and saving money on necessary evils like food, medical expenses, and getting married.
  • I want to make a trip back to New York City. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss living there sometimes, but who says you can’t pretend to be a local again for a weekend?
  • Lastly, I want to start going to church again, but more importantly I want to develop habits that bring me closer to God. I try to live my life in a way that is pleasing to Him, however I fall short every day — and I don’t see that changing drastically since I’m only human. I want to learn how to better love the way Jesus does, and I want to be able to rely on Him, even in the things that sometimes feel hopeless or scary.

I have a few secret goals I will unveil at some point on this blog. One is something I want to do for Robert, one is something I want to learn for myself, and the last is an exciting surprise for a bunch of people I care about deeply.

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2018 has such a beautiful ring to it. Those four numbers somehow look even more beautiful than the last. I know many of us love the feeling of a blank slate for the new year, and I’m certainly not exempt from that. I am going to be slowly rebranding parts of this site, and I do think this new year will bring health and interesting opportunities with the habits I will be forming.

This blog is still going to be heavily focused on relationships and health, but now I will be adding some wedding planning and marriage posts sprinkled throughout. The thing I love so much about this community is that many of my readers don’t really care about the content as much as they do about the heart and soul that goes behind the words that are splashed on the pages. Thank you for letting me be myself and for cheering me on while I do the same for each and every one of you.

So even though most of us aren’t changing who we are, here’s to the imaginary blank slate each of us has that is 2018, and here’s to a wicked awesome year.

2018, Fearless

Fear is a great motivator. It stifles our light and often keeps us from doing really meaningful work merely because of the off-chance that something bad may happen. When we look at someone else’s fears we don’t always see the validity of them and wonder how in the world they are letting something so hypothetical stop them from living their lives; however, our own fears feel very real and valid because they are scenarios that could really hurt us.

I have a small arsenal of writing that I have done but kept to myself because I’m afraid to share it for one reason or another. In 2017 the word I chose for the year was, “strong,” and I feel like despite some tricky circumstances, I have been able to live up to what this word means. Going into 2018 I want my word of the year to be Fearless. The dictionary defines this word as,

Fearless: adj, “without fear; bold or brave; intrepid,”

but I think when you break it down the word simply means, “fear less.”

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Fear in life is inevitable. It can be a healthy feeling, as it keeps us from doing stupid things, however it can also keep us from reaching our full potential. Think of how much you could accomplish in life if you didn’t base so many decisions on fear. The times I have moved forward with actions despite being afraid of the outcome I think my writing has been much more dynamic, raw, and real than when I am merely trying to come up with content.

This is the opposite of what I want to do right now. I’ve had a few things happen that make me want to crawl back into my shell and hide, and the last thing I want to do is continue creating posts that reach deep down into my heart to spill words on these pages for anyone in the world to read. This year I’ve learned that people don’t always want what’s best for you, and their intentions can be malicious and manipulative. I’ve learned that not all women want what’s best for other women, and my heart has hurt because of it. Something else I’ve learned, though, is that it’s really easy to look at the bad in situations. For some reason it seems to be human nature to hone in on the negative. Knowledge is power, and after taking my first step of realizing this, I have learned that the majority of the people who read this blog are kind, caring, and genuine. They want what is best for me, and they don’t have any ulterior motives from reading the diary I keep online. One person in over a thousand should not dictate the way I share my life, and most of us are here to cheer each other on and make every journey easier by being there for each other. This is a time for celebration, and I am so, so excited about my future with Robert, and with writing all about my life and the content of my heart.

So here’s to diving in head and heart first, fearless.

Goodbye, 2016!

This year has been absolutely crazy. It’s gone by very slowly for me, as anticipating something you just can’t wait for often does. You know how slowly December seems to creep by when you’re a kid waiting for Santa to come? That’s exactly how a deployment feels; there is just more worrying and waiting attached.

Every year I write a letter to myself about how the past year has been, and what some of the biggest moments were. I actually had a hard time thinking about this year. Some of the negatives were definitely being in even more pain than normal with my chronic illness, doing a long distance relationship again, and seeing another year go by where I don’t end up meeting my goal of having my sickness cured.

2016 was rough and most of it would not make it in a book of my “favorite life moments,” but the moments that would absolutely made this year worth it. The way I see it, too, is that I am so lucky to be able to live through a rotten year and look forward to a new one. I’m lucky to be alive!

Instead of continuing this as a negative post, I want to share with you twelve of my favorite memories from 2016; one for each month.

January: I am going to get this list off to a bad start and cheat already. I have 2 favorite memories; first, I loved celebrating New Year’s Eve at a house party with some of my favorite people in the world. NYE is a fun holiday, but my main thing is that I love being surrounded by people I care about.

My other favorite memory was pranking Robert at the Japanese steakhouse by telling them it was his birthday (Which is actually in March) and getting this huge celebration going. If you missed this blog post, you might take the time to go back and read it, haha!

February: Definitely doing Valentine’s Day at L’auberge with Robert. I didn’t realize how many times I tried to tease him until I started this countdown, but this was a pretty funny story too I think.

March: I love New York. So much!! My mom and I took a trip there last March, and I am hoping to be able to go back before the one year mark comes up again.

April: Robert and I had a very impromptu date after not seeing each other for over a month. He was supposed to have been gone for good (Oh, and I’ll add his departure ceremony in Richmond as another favorite moment!), but we ended up getting a wonderful 2 days together when his flight overseas kept getting delayed.

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May: May was a weird month. I was struggling to adjust to doing a deployment with someone, as I hadn’t really been preparing ahead of time for it, and I had a lot of kind of big life changes. One thing I really remember making my day, though, was when my friend Elizabeth shared one of the posts I wrote for SITS. I feel like anyone can kind of relate with the warm feeling you get when someone supports something that means a lot to you, but as a writer when people share your innermost thoughts it means the world.

June: A beach trip with Audrey was definitely the highlight of June! I need to take little trips more often, it’s just fairly hard to travel with POTS. I am crazy high maintenance, so I really can’t go with most people (I’m still not good at feeling OK with being a big inconvenience), but exploring and spending time with loved ones is really good for my heart. Even if most of the time is spent recovering from little dizzy spells!

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July: POKEMON GO CAME OUT. Need I say more? (Hahaha…)

August: I went on a second beach trip with friends. This one I actually spent most of the time feeling very ill in the beach house, but the moments I did get to spend out were really refreshing.

September: This is hard to find a good moment, as it held some of the days that were literally the most pain I’ve ever been in, but a pro was the cool, crisp fall weather.

October: This was also one of my hardest months to date, but a favorite moment was hanging out with Audrey in DC and having this happen. I loved re-reading this and reliving my awkwardness, hahaha.

November: I loved this Thanksgiving and spending it with so many loved ones. I also felt very sick for much of this time (Big surprise, right?!) but enjoyed being able to catch up with relatives I hadn’t seen in awhile.

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Hey look! I was in pain but actually had makeup on. This is a rare occurrence in the life of Krista.

December: Christmas was my favorite day of December! I spent it with my immediate family and had the most beautiful day exchanging presents, eating wonderful food, and watching a documentary about Banksy.

2016, you were difficult, but I made it. We’re done, and I’m really excited to see what 2017 has to offer. (Liiiiiiike maybe something with the Patriots?! One more week to really get this a lot of views before I have to have everything planned!)