Many of us were averaging at least three dates a week and meeting regularly to discuss our progress. For years, we were each other’s support — emotionally and physically.We chaperoned wisdom teeth removals, held surprise birthday parties, gave each other pep talks before big meetings, cooked dinner together on Sunday nights.New York, with its large, faceless crowds and anything-goes attitude, felt like a shield from the wedding wind. And in that vacuum, without anyone watching or any force pushing me, I stopped dating. I started going to classes and workshops and spent most of my Friday nights on the couch with an essay and a box of cereal.
And, although I was scared to admit it, at 34, I needed a change.“If you think the San Francisco dating scene is bad, wait till you get to New York,” people warned me.
I would widen my eyes to try and look scared, but the truth was, I couldn’t wait.
I always assumed that having kids was part of adulthood— what people did when they grew up, the next step to becoming a whole, fulfilled person — and that getting married was the necessary precursor. Being happy on my own terms was a relief, even if happiness for me meant pulling my hair out over an essay for weeks at a time without leaving my studio.
Even if happiness for me meant something entirely different than what everyone said happiness for me should mean.
If I knew one thing about my move back to New York, it was that I did not want to date. I was sick of telling my story, a story that not long ago felt unique and personal, but now felt empty and scripted.