Today's post is from West Lee, whom many of you may know from what he calls his "15 seconds" on Season 7 of The Bachelorette on ABC. What you don't know is that he is an up and coming blogger with a flair for storytelling and introspection. (Sound like anyone you know? Yup. :)) Good stuff...read on!
It’s funny...when most people look at the progression of their lives, they see it as a series of important events. Their first girlfriend. Their first car. Their first pregnancy scare. These are the markers that tell us we’re growing up, that let us know that slowly but surely we’re on the path to being (gasp) adults. Usually, by the time they walk down the aisle, get a job and start paying a mortgage, people feel like they’ve officially made it.
Not me. I’ve done all that stuff, but to be honest I’ve never really felt all that mature. I’ve been married, I own a home, and I’m a reasonably successful attorney. So I should be grown up as shit, right? I mean, right??
Don’t get me wrong, all of those things are great; but at the end of the day a trained monkey could do them. They let 18 year olds get married, for Christ’s sake. You really think they’re any smarter than a chimp?
But today, I feel like as much of an adult as I ever have. Why, you ask? I’m sitting at the end of yet another failed relationship, and a very large reason behind that relationship ending was the fact that I wasn’t ‘adult’ ENOUGH. So there’s no reason I should feel this mature, is there?
I’ll tell you why. Because I’m okay. A girl I love beyond words has decided she no longer has romantic feelings for me; but instead of being catatonic, instead of looking for distractions at every turn, I’m actually alright. I’m facing it, I’m dealing with it, and I’m still moving forward.
No more fetal position for this guy…
Maybe that doesn’t sound like much to you, but for me it’s a pretty big deal. When my high school sweetheart dumped me, I ran away to Europe…for six months. When my wife died, I went into an almost three year spiral of drugs, alcohol, and meaningless trysts (which, granted, when you say it like that it doesn’t sound that bad; but trust me--it sucked). I’m the guy that isn’t okay. I sulk, I live in the past, I blame myself to an unreasonable degree…
At least, I was that guy. But today I feel…good, almost. Sure, I wish things had turned out differently, but I’m finally at a place where I won’t let an emotional speed bump deter me from reaching my goals.
And that’s the difference. That’s why I feel like a genuine, honest-to-goodness, adult right now. Because in the past I would’ve let my heartbreak haunt me. I would’ve missed work, stopped writing, and probably taken another 3-5 years off of my liver. But now, I’m going to keep on growing, and keep becoming a better me--because that’s what I deserve.
I guess what I learned is that life isn’t about what happens to you. It’s what you do with the things that happen to you that matters. Sure, I’ll probably get sad from time to time, and I know that I’ll miss her; but somewhere deep inside, I also know that I’ll be okay. Maybe it isn’t a degree, or my first child, or something that’ll be apparent when they play the game tape of my life. But I’ll know…that this moment, this tiny, invisible moment, is when I grew up.
West Lee is a 30 year old attorney/wannabe writer living in Columbia, South Carolina. He was on ABC's The Bachelorette for about 15 seconds, but mostly he's just known for being highly inappropriate. Why, just today he farted in an elevator and, when met with accusatory stares, pointed to an elderly lady standing next to him.