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?

Heartbreak Works Itself Out

I have had a million different thoughts spinning in my head throughout the wedding planning process. I just got home from picking out my dress and finally sat to let it sink in that the first thing Robert will see me in as his wife is being created right now. All of the delicate details are being crafted for the one day I have dreamed about since I was a little girl, and I can’t wait to see the love of my life waiting at the end of the aisle for me. Writing that gives me chills.

Now that I’m home I’m listening to a few of our favorite songs and daydreaming about how amazing that day will be. One thought led to another, and I realized something kind of incredible about our story. Any heartbreak we’ve faced in the past worked out for the best. Oh my gosh, I cannot tell you how worth all of the pain it this is now. Humans are all the same, and we all face ups and downs in life. Adults know what heartbreak feels like, how hard it is to be rejected, how tiring dating around can be, and how incredible love is.

At 27 I don’t know everything, but I do know that even if your heart feels like it’s been completely shattered, it can be put back together again. I know that pain is often fleeting, as are lonely moments. I know that perfection doesn’t exist, but loving someone who is imperfect can be even more beautiful, and finally, I know that sometimes you may think you’ve lost someone you love, only to realize that you had absolutely no idea what love really is.

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All of our heartbreak and dead ends along the way have brought us together, and at the end of the day, it really does only matter who we end up with. I can remember vividly what it feels like to be heartbroken, but at the same time I don’t ever think about it anymore. I am in such a different chapter of my life that none of that will ever be a part of it again.

The reason I wanted to write all of this is that I know so many twenty-somethings are still figuring things out and some have given up on love or others because of a few bad experiences or terrible heartbreaks. I want to keep cheering you on — whether or not you are dating around — and offer myself as a reminder that circumstances in life change greatly. We sometimes have our crazy ups and downs, but I promise you it is all worthwhile and you are never truly alone, even if it feels that way. Whether you’re married, single, engaged, or have completely written off dating, just remember that heartbreak fades away and one day you might just be lucky enough to realize why things didn’t work out, even if at one point you had hoped they would. God might laugh at the things we think are best for ourselves, but ultimately He knows what is best for us and wants what’s best for us. If we are willing to let go of the things that aren’t right for us, we make room for the beautiful and wonderful things that are meant to come our way.

Never settle for someone just because they’re safe or familiar. Marry your best friend, your partner in crime, your ride or die. This doesn’t guarantee life will always be easy for the two of you, but it does mean that you can be absolutely certain that no matter what comes your way, you’ll have something that is constant and someone who will be there through thick and thin. In the meantime, if you haven’t found your person yet, embrace the single life and find other things to be joyful for. There are so many wonderful love stories in the world, and not all of them are built through romance. Cultivating beauty in other aspects of your life will make the love you find just that much richer when the timing is right. Hang in there, and remember that you are so loved. ❤

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Yesterday I shared a pretty personal post to my Instagram account. This isn’t a particularly new thing, but it is always scary putting your heart out there for the world to see.

Something I am going to start talking about a little more on here is body image. I have been so content with my body image for the most part since my junior year of college, but there have definitely a few little bumps along the road, yesterday being one of them.

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I’ve had an overwhelming two weeks with a lot of sickness (like, normal people colds and such — not only my chronic illnesses) and really gotten off my normal POTS recovery schedule. Missing a day or two here and there is alright, but a large collection of days? Not good.

So not only was I starting to feel worse, but I started getting inside my own head and letting my mind bully my body. Since day one of getting sick I made the decision to be kind and gentle with myself, take one day at a time, and not compare myself to others. Theodore Roosevelt was spot-on when he said,

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I knew that comparing the new life I never wanted for myself — having a chronic illness — with my friends who were going out into the world and getting their first post-college jobs and apartments would only be detrimental to my health. Rather than moping at home about the death of my shiny new dream job at Seventeen magazine I decided to focus on the things I could do. I could watch The Food Network and learn to cook, even if my body wasn’t actually up to cooking yet. I could write short blog posts with my dictation software. I could call my grandparents and make their day a little brighter; I still had the ability to be there for my friends and family. So those were the things I focused on.

When a handful of my friends started doing a bikini body workout I felt a little left out. Not that it was their fault; they would be happy to have me on board, but I am physically unable to do that kind of exercise with my new collection of illnesses. My Instagram feed and Facebook page began to flood with photos of weight lifting, sports bra before and after photos, and small digs at different body types. After a short while it all started to get in my head. Since I got sick I have not been able to do intense cardio workouts (I would faint pretty quickly), and I can’t lift more than a couple of pounds. I lost the muscle tone I was used to having my entire life, and I was the person so many of the girls would complain about being online — the before picture… And I absolutely cannot help the way I look.

This got me thinking more about the culture we live in. When did we start putting our self-worth in the hands of others, and why do we listen to the lies they tell us about our bodies? What exactly is the perfect body and why do we work so hard to change our physical appearance, but forget about changing our mindset? Being healthy is a wonderful thing, but appreciating everything your body can do at every single stage in life is incredibly important. Loving yourself  no matter what your shape or size is, and realizing that your worth isn’t dependent on the body that carries you is an important factor to being content and secure in yourself.

It sucks that we sometimes question our worth because of something as minuscule as the paint job on our outer shell. I genuinely think every single person I meet is beautiful in his or her own way. I can come up with a long list of amazing things about a person if I get to know them. Just ask my friends; odds are I have written them a letter (Or a hundred) about what a great person they are. Why are we so much harder on ourselves than we would be on a friend?

There is absolutely nothing wrong about working out and taking care of your body, (It’s actually a great thing!) but it becomes dangerous you make yourself sick by striving for perfection. I want to be someone people think of when they start to question their own beauty and self-worth. I want to serve as a reminder that it’s not at all about what is on the outside, but rather what’s on the inside that really matters. It may sound corny, but kindness is what counts, and the way we make others feel about themselves speaks volumes above how many “likes” we get on Instagram or whether or not we look like the people we see on television, in magazines, or on the runway. Once we get past our flesh and really dig deep into our souls we can make a lasting difference in this world.