Married By: 26

Kids By: 30.

WHO DID I THINK I WAS, THINKING THIS WOULD HAPPEN?! Now, while I will save my rant on timelines for a later blog, it would be impossible for me to write this article without at least mentioning the timelines that I set up for myself as a young adult. If someone had warned me that I would be a spinster and Bridget Jones in my early 30s, I would have laughed in their face. Alas, here we are! My Facebook is full of stories that make people laugh or constantly say “I can’t believe the shit that happens to you”.  My dating life, the daily interactions I have with people and the dudes I’ve chosen to be “suitors” (trying to stay classy) could make up stories that would fill the entire coffee book table section of Urban Outfitters. Btw Urban, find me and let’s talk!

For example, this was one of my most recent exchanges in a bar:

An obnoxious stranger approaches me and my friend in a bar and aggressively begins hitting on us after asking if we’re a couple.

OBNOXIOUS STRANGER: “How old are you?”

ME: *rolls eyes* “How old do you think I am?”

OS: “Well, I’m 23. I’m asking your age because I don’t do over 25.”

ME: “Well then, luckily you can stop speaking to me right now. And you were never going to be “doing” me anyway.”



This was a blind date I agreed to go on once:

**Set up by an old boss with her friend’s son who is “very attractive, has a great job at a magazine, but he doesn’t even really need to work so he has great work ethic too.” I try not to be too skeptical of this and agree to the blind date. Meet at West Village Italian restaurant, he’s very attractive, great conversation albeit slightly one-sided and slightly self-absorbed. Five minutes into my entree, he gets up to use the bathroom, slams into the table and ends up spilling my entire, still pretty hot pasta dish allllllll over me. Now, we were supposed to go to a magazine launch event after, so he suggests we go to his apartment, which happens to be a couple blocks from the restaurant, and either wash and dry my clothes (“I have a washer/dryer in my apartment, don’t you?”), or he’ll lend me some. Get to his apartment, and he immediately suggests we skip the party entirely and just go ahead and have sex. NOPE. Peter exits. End scene.**


Yet still I keep more or less fighting the good fight in the name of love and not giving up. Despite the fact that I’m terrible at communicating through dating apps, that I’m terrible communicating PERIOD, and that men love to destroy my soul, I still have not given up on the search or the prospect of finding some form of ultimate happiness in love. Why? Because I have experienced the truest of love before and because I know that I am deserving of that again. Most of us are deserving of true love and happiness. While they don’t always go hand in hand, at their essence they do, and that is truly, truly beautiful.

However, it’s still a constant battle between what am I deserving of, what am I asking for, what am I accepting of, and, adulting. I’m having a hard time adulting. Why didn’t I enjoy napping more as a child and realize shit was going to get ‘oh so real’ at a certain age?! Adulting is, a very long list of things but here are the ones that have hit me the most:

– making your bed every morning and realizing that is important (Done and Dunn)

– learning to budget (Failing miserably)

– learning that it takes longer to get places than you think. Just ask the MTA or any of my bosses. (Failing… but I also tell people that I get to places at the time the universe intends me to get there. Oops!)

– realizing that timelines MUST go. (Getting there)

– learning that it’s important to take care of your body and your mental health (Was there, fell off, now getting back there.)

– learning forgiveness, and those things that happened to you when you were younger weren’t necessarily your fault. (Never thought this would be an easy one, but have always known it’s an important one.)

– learning how to deal with loss. Life isn’t always fair. (Better at this one than I ever thought I would have been)

– learning how to deal with love. True love. The complexity of it, the joy of it, the heartbreak of it. What IS TRUE love, and how many times can one really fall in love? Is there a max? Do I indeed have a soulmate(s)?

WHERE. 👏🏿 IS. 👏🏿 HE?! 👏🏿

Love. I’ve always been one to live and lead with my heart, no matter how battered it can get. Live, love, rinse, destroy, spin cycle, dry, and repeat. Something along those lines. I was the one that with every crush, every good date, (or basically anytime a guy was nice to me – oops) was sure I was in love. Any relationship or dating that lasted past a certain time HAD to be love, right? If they said “I love you” and I said “I love you, too”, then that was obviously true love too, right? If I pined about them or lost sleep while creating scenarios in my head and planning our future, clearly it was the love of Shakespeare. Nah, son.

I’ve had many friends (and weirdos on trains, planes, and other forms of public transportation) ask me what I’m looking for when it comes to love. While each time I must refrain from simply saying “some good dick other than my own”, I usually respond with one of my favorite quotes from all of literature. It’s from J.D. Salinger’s, A Girl I Knew:

“She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”

I want to find the person who I look at and forget everything that is wrong with this world.

After overly dissecting my existence thus far in this lifetime, I am confident enough to say that I have been in love four (maybe five) times. I’ve realized it sometimes takes time passing for me to really know if something was love or not, because in many ways I live life too passionately to know in the moment.

LOVE 1.0 was my Irish ex-boyfriend who I met at 20 and who I thought was my soulmate. No one could tell me otherwise, so much so that I moved to a new country for him. Yup.  That love taught me the extremities of a relationship, including the beginning of me coming to terms with the things that I want and don’t want. It also taught me that if I didn’t begin to actively work on my mental health, that the downsides of it could seep into any relationship I ever placed myself in. He was the first to really, really, really show me what love is, and that made me realize I had in fact been wrong in thinking I’d been in love before. We were young, we were sometimes dumb, but it will never discount the value of what we had for that period of time.

LOVE 2.0 was an incredible man who we lost earlier this year. I’ve never laughed with a person more in my life. It’s far too late /slash/ early right now for me to delve deep into this without crying far more than I’d like to.  However, this relationship showed me that any relationship must be rooted in friendship, in the best way possible, at least for me. I can not date you if I would never be your friend. I can not sleep with you if I would never be your friend. And I definitely can not love you if I would never be your friend. I try to hold people to super high standards, (sometimes unreasonably high, I admit), however, I have some of the greatest friends that exist on this earth, and my partner will have to meet that level, or like, he’d never be invited to our own wedding #sorryboutit.

LOVE 3.0 is the man who probably is my soulmate, but who the universe has decided to teach me some cold, hard life lessons about. He lives on the other side of the world, with his partner. I’d read about love at first sight, but I hadn’t experienced it until meeting this man. That love has taught me that life isn’t always fair, but that it’s also important to look out for YOU. In love, I had never done that. It’s not necessarily in my best interest to talk to this person every day, so as much as I’d love to, I can’t, shouldn’t and won’t. Learning to set boundaries, and make your mental health a priority, is the only way to succeed as an individual in any form of relationship that comes your way. Whether it’s friendship, or family, or co-workers, or someone who has your heart, you still need to know that the weight of your own heart is just as important as theirs, and that the scales must be even. Otherwise, someone breaks.

LOVE 4.0 was someone I never actually admitted out loud to being in love with, partly because I was ashamed of it, and because I knew that it was never going to work. I learned a new side of Love, a side that I hated, but a side that I still fought FOR, even when I was fighting WITH it.

I had seen the Good, I had seen the Bad, but I’m not quite sure I had actually seen how Ugly love could become. I bring up the scales again because, in that time period, I gave so much that my side of the scale broke and shattered time and time again. I would try to rebuild it with scotch tape, duct tape, masking tape, gaff tape, yo mama’s tape (you get the point), and hope for the best each time, until yet again I’d shatter and rebuild.  You see, this is what happens when you give all of yourself and love someone, who, simply put, does not love you back in the same way.  I loved him, but I was also in love with him. He (possibly) loved me, but he definitely was not in love with me.

Ultimately, what I’ve realized is: the lesson that needed learn was that you’re not always going to be That Person for the person you think is That Person for you. You can do and give literally everything for and to someone, but it still won’t make you That Person for them. And, what’s hard to sometimes swallow is, that is not their fault. But, it is definitely not your fault either.

Life is about lessons and we are never done learning. As someone who was always an overachiever growing up, it’s almost as if I have had trouble grasping the fact that I can never know everything. However, I’m starting to enjoy the fact that I may just be old AF one day, rocking in a bedazzled rocking chair, still learning a bunch of new shit.

It makes me smile.

I might be holding hands with someone while I rock. I might be rocking solo. Only time will tell.


Peter William Dunn is a born and raised New Yorker who is currently a freelance writer, producer, director and sometimes actor in the city.
His professional passions include film, music, literature, helping other artists thrive, and all around storytelling.
His personal passions include puppies, babies, black and white milkshakes, and attractive men with accents. (Also he has an extra strong track record for emotionally unavailable men, but don’t tell him we told you that, and don’t yell at him for speaking in third person right now.)
His current loves are his dog Domino, a whiskey neat, and in case you didn’t know, his mother is the greatest human being on earth. <3
Leave A Comment!
Share This