In somewhat of an order. Chronological-ish. Really long, so I expect no one to actually read this, just something I wanted to do.

 photo lawnie_zps8d44ea78.jpg
As a fourth-year on the Lawn, taken somewhere I probably shouldn’t have been. Not the only time…

1. The Lawn. As a student at the University of Virginia, I felt really conflicted about the school and the extent to which I belonged there. And that was the topic of my application to live on the Lawn, in one of the 54 original rooms constructed under the direction of Thomas Jefferson–a tremendous privilege offered only to fourth years who had demonstrated excellence in academics and contributed positively and uniquely to the university community.

I said that I never even meant to go there. I’d gotten into Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, and NYU offered me a scholarship. But staying in-state meant attending the top public university in the nation, and my parents promised a better quality of life and cost of living than I would have in Chicago or New York that was hard to turn down. No student loans, and spending money along the way.

The problem with U.Va. was that it seemed snobby. It just did. Classism, racism, and sexism among students were palpable, particularly for the third of us that participated in the Greek system. But sometimes it felt systemic. My academic advisor was an astronomy professor who all but laughed when I said I wanted to take his calculus-heavy introductory astronomy course. I got an A.

By the end of my first year, I wanted out. I took a road trip to New England with a guy I’d dated for a few months my first year, and I scheduled a transfer interview with NYU. He set the alarm to PM instead of AM, I missed the interview, and I came back to U.Va. ready to try to embrace it.

I took a screenplay writing class over the summer and loved it, which led to applying to the selective 20-student Media Studies major, and being admitted. I joined the club diving team, to get over my fear of diving boards after hitting my head doing a back flip ten years before, and I found solace in leaning backwards from the high dive and landing head-first in the cold Olympic-sized swimming pool. I joined the filmmaking club and started making feminist short-form documentaries, one of which actually received real attention. I got elected to a position on the Inter-Sorority Council. I wrote a few articles for a contrarian news magazine. I started interning for the Virginia Film Festival. I went from a committed volunteer for a 24/7 crisis hotline to a trainer and program director. And the summer after my second year, I was hired by the Office of Admissions to give campus tours to prospective students and their parents, and I announced at least twice a day to 30 or more strangers that I genuinely loved that school, and that you’ll get out of it what you put into it.

I said all of that in my application. And I got in.

 photo 734358821_0a5c8b93e3_o_zpsb6ec30d5.jpg
41 West, and a friend’s dog.

After the selections, I was summoned to a big classroom in the Commerce school to pick a room, and I recognized a lot of names but knew very few people. In spite of having a pretty early pick, I chose one of the smallest rooms. There was a bloque of guys who intended to occupy Bachelors Row–the small row of rooms intended for what few bachelors were attending the university in the nineteenth century, and generally occupied by men since–and they let me know I was welcome to be the “bachelorette” of Bachelors Row. I was known in my circles as a lush and a flirt, even though I never actually “did it” until after college, and I guess my reputation had spread. I accepted the offer and soon moved into 41 West Lawn.

It was one of the best years of my life. And those guys that I lived with were some of the best people I’ll ever meet.

Sometimes I wonder how I ever fit in at the University of Virginia. But then I think about the Lawn, and everything that it meant to me. It was the first time in college that I felt like I truly belonged somewhere.

2. One-credit courses. When I was in high school, I talked about double majoring in this or that in college. But once I actually got there and saw all the classes I could sign up for–I could learn how to act, study Bollywood films, and hear Julian Bond talk about being a leader in the Civil Rights movement!–one concentration seemed like more than enough. I enrolled in a ice skating my third year for one credit, and several weeks in, my coach called me something no one had ever called me before in an athletic context: a natural. I’ve kept it up over the last ten years, and my guy recently described me as more graceful on ice skates than in shoes.

3. My work ethic. I got on my first payroll at 15 years old, shelving books for the main branch of my small hometown’s public library, and my current job is my twenty-second paid job. I have been a music columnist, a food writer, a field hockey referee, a hair salon receptionist, a reality TV casting agent, and a Moroccan-themed cocktail lounge server. I like knowing I always have some skill to fall back on.

4. Facebook. The University of Virginia was the sixteenth university to receive thefacebook.com, in 2004, and I joined as soon as it launched. I’m as dazzled by it today as I was nine years ago. It’s changed everything.

5. Google. Ditto.

6. Sex & The City. And New Girl. Love is clumsy.

7. The realization that the truth is never really that bad. When I was young, I told the occasional white lie or made up little excuses, and sometime in my early 20s I decided I just wouldn’t do it. I had occasional nightmares for years about lying about forgetting my mouthpiece in a field hockey match in high school. It seems like it would be the harder way to be, being accountable for all of my mistakes, but I’ve had no truly bad consequences come of it. Some might say I’m way too open and honest, but I’ll take that over being a liar or cheater.

8. Austin. I moved to Austin right after graduating with honors from U.Va., with only one interview scheduled on arrival, a part-time seasonal freelance film festival position with deferred commission-based pay. But I got the job, and soon I was on my way to making what would turn out to be about $4 an hour my first few months out of college. I sold program advertising in half the time I was expected to and moved on to securing a car sponsorship–plus I got to watch entries to the film contest in the evening, and not get anything for that except the pleasure of participation.

I was on my own and seriously happy. Without a thousand college extracurriculars to fill my days, I started making truly close friends–something I’d regretted not doing the best job of in college. We tubed down muddy rivers with coolers of beer, danced at nightclubs in sparkly tank tops, played kickball in an all-women league, brunched in every neighborhood, and detailed our personal lives over bottles of wine.

And my job situation got better. I got hired as a casting associate on MTV’s reality show “Room Raiders: Texas” on my 22nd birthday, and I toured the homes of 400 young adults in Austin and Dallas over four months, video camera in hand. The goal was to get the prospective daters to do something unusually wild on camera at the end of their casting tape, like perform a hidden talent, or just strip down, which I treated like a sociological study, and the producers in New York reported back that I was good. I loved my coworkers, some of the most quality people I never would have met in any other circumstances, and I found out what it’s like to have access to the best nightlife in two of the most fun cities in the US every night of the week. (It’s fun.)

 photo cowboyflip_zps3b1cd3fe.jpg
Getting flipped by a real cowboy at Gilley’s Dallas, during an open casting call for “Room Raiders.”

When “Room Raiders” moved back to New York, I got an internship with the Austin Film Society, and I got to staff Quentin Tarantino’s film festival at the Alamo Drafthouse and a number of sxsw events. I eventually met director Richard Linklater, a supporter of the organization. It was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, since he directed my two favorite films “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset,” and a number of other brilliant movies, and he seemed completely amused to meet his biggest fan.

And I saw more live music in a year and a half in Austin than I’ll see the rest of my life. Thanks to Austin City Limits Music Festival, I’ve seen Arcade Fire, Muse, Coldplay, Oasis, the Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Bob Dylan, Massive Attack, Gnarls Barkley, Thievery Corporation, LCD Soundsystem, and a few dozen other notable bands. The famous “Dust Bowl” of 2005? I was there. I was sick for months afterwards.

9. 2002 Ridge Lytton Springs. It’s the wine that made me love wine, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. I was in San Francisco seeing about a guy in 2005, and we had dinner with another couple at a neighborhood Italian restaurant. They brought a magnum of Ridge Vineyards’ 2002 Lytton Springs, and I decided then and there that I really wanted to know more about California wine, which I realized would require drinking a lot more California wine.

Eight years, scores of winery visits, and hundreds of bottles of California wine later, I still think there’s no better red wine than a single-vineyard Zinfandel blend from the Dry Creek Valley in a good year–jammy and spicy and sweet.

10. The gazpacho at the Whole Foods flagship store in Austin. It was solid gazpacho, on the thicker side, full of fresh vegetables, and very garlicky, which I’m sure the guys I was dating loved. It also had avocado in it, which, for the first 21 years of my life, I’d avoided. But I really wanted to get the past the grassiness and sliminess and just like avocado like everyone else. I thought, if I overwhelm the flavor with tomato and garlic, and the texture with corn kernels and cucumber slices, maybe I can wean myself on to it.

So I’d go to the packaged soup aisle and tilt the clear plastic containers toward me so all the solids would press up against the clear plastic, and I’d go through one container after the other to find the gazpacho with the least avocado. And I did this for months, a couple times a week. A cashier actually started greeting me, “Hey, crazy!” because I was so particular about this and other purchases I was making at Whole Paycheck on the world’s tightest budget. Happily, by the time I was moving away from Austin, I was looking for the most avocado to press up against the plastic. And then I was still a little crazy, but a little more normal for liking avocado. I eat it almost daily. I’m eating it as I type this.

11. C and S. Thanks to these two women, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to work for a new alumni relations office at the University of Virginia in 2006. I was young and green, but I was really eager. After a long interview process, I was hired and moved right back to Charlottesville, just over a year after I’d graduated and left it–I thought–forever.

I loved that job. I loved that job. I traveled to 25 cities in the central United States about a quarter of the year to recruit and train alumni club volunteer leaders and help oversee major alumni events. My work intersected with development and admissions, which I’ve always been passionate about. Not long after I started, my Singaporean club president visited Charlottesville and said he wanted to fund a free transportation program for international students, from Dulles Airport to Charlottesville, and put me in charge of it. My boss said that if I took it on, there was no room for failure. I wanted to do it. It went well overall, with some variables I just couldn’t have anticipated. I still consider it the best thing I’ve ever done in my professional life. Again, I loved that job.

But terrible things happened to me while I was living in Charlottesville. I couldn’t stay. I even decided I needed to change fields (but thankfully came to my senses). I submitted my letter of resignation from this perfect job on September 15, 2008, perhaps the worst day in recent history to leave a job, without a job waiting for me. I’m now back in higher ed, and I will never, ever forget the competence, warmth, and fairness displayed every day I got to be a part of that team.

12. The Hook. I was hired as a food writer for the Charlottesville newsweekly soon after I “came out” as the coauthor of a snarky local gossip website, around 2007. I had no idea how to be a food writer, though. As much as I loved reading Frank Bruni’s groan-filled restaurant reviews in the New York Times, I had a difficult time making general statements about restaurants and instead documented each meal like a historian. I was so glad for the opportunity and the editing, and most of all, the publishing. I’d love the opportunity to do it again.

13. The iPhone. When I got my first one, I couldn’t help but admire it and think, “It’s the future!”

14. The New Yorker. My understanding of conflict in the Middle East, compassion for disaster victims, knowledge of the art world, familiarity with New York, love of magic, appreciation for Las Vegas design, interest in farm-to-table dining, and general savoir-faire are all informed by this magazine. I became a subscriber for life at 20.

15. China. In autumn 2007, I was sent to China for work. I was to help supervise an alumni tour of Beijing, Xian, Chongqing, and Shanghai, and it’s one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to me. The most powerful experiences of that trip were viewing Chairman Mao Zedong’s preserved body at Memorial Hall in Tiananmen Square, completely alone as a Caucasian among the Chinese; seeing China’s rural poverty first-hand, visiting a farm outside Beijing; exploring cities by night with my fellow tour leader and encountering only warmth and interest from the Chinese; contracting food poisoning from cruise boat water on the Yang-tse River and getting out of bed just in time for the Three Gorges Dam and our evening descent in the locks; and eating every meal, really, especially the one with the snake wine.

 photo 3gorges_zps6b1a81e8.jpg
Looking down into locks with ambivalence at the Three Gorges Dam.

16. Nonny. My mother’s mother. She’s amazing. She’s nearly 90 and can write and cook me under the table. (Beautifully set, with crystal and silver and china with hand-painted tall ships, and fresh flowers or boughs of pine.) I’ve started to draft several stories about her for this, like how she basically got a Harvard Business School MBA by grading the students’ tests for years, or how she used to buy nearly a whole cow from the butcher to save money and hang it in her tiny Boston apartment bathroom while my grandfather was studying medicine at Harvard, or how she comforted her children through so many of those adult hardships that you never think will happen to you but they just do. But I can’t write about any of these things without crying myself into a total meltdown, so just trust me, she’s amazing.

17. New York. Thanks to my terrible, terrible mistake of leaving a stable job in September 2008, I started 2009 unsuccessfully job-searching in major cities from my small Virginia hometown. So when a friend from high school said he was looking for someone to sublet his North Gramercy apartment in New York City so he could take an internship back home in Virginia, I agreed to take it sight-unseen. I knew I could wait tables, if nothing else.

And wait tables I did. I briefly worked for Momofuku Milk Bar, which had just opened and felt chaotic on both sides of the dessert display, and for a French bistro so poorly run that I basically asked to get fired and did. But then I ran into an old friend from the Virginia Film Festival, who was working in reality TV, and he got me a production assistant job on VH1’s reality show “I Want to Work for Diddy.” I spent the summer of 2009 in the company of P. Diddy, his entourage, and the laidback production crew, in locations like his uptown recording studio, a gazillion-dollar yacht, and the Chinese Scholar’s Garden in Staten Island.

The production company kept me on for post-production, and I worked a night shift transcribing footage in the flower district. It’s one of my favorite jobs I’ve ever had, just for the peacefulness of it. I’ve always been a strong typist, so the work was just pleasant. I had almost no interaction with my supervisor, either, because of the night shift, and when I did see him, he just made sure I could stay on and keep working for them. Best of all was that flower deliveries came in to the many shops on west 28th Street during my shift, so the sidewalks were littered with petals by the time I walked home at 3:00 a.m.

 photo diddy_zpsadb897e6.jpg
As a production assistant on “I Want to Work for Diddy.”

Then they assigned me to work on “Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane,” and I got to work out of a shiny new post-production facility in the West Village, where interns came around with wine and beer every Friday afternoon for tips, and the manager threw holiday parties for holidays I hadn’t even heard of. It was next to a candy factory, and the air outside the building smelled like a different fruit or chocolate every day. When the show “Louie” moved onto our floor, I gawked over Louis C.K. (but stupidly never said “hi” or mentioned my enormous crush on him). And I got a weekly subway card and carried petty cash, which made me feel like a million bucks, even in my cheap H&M outfits with my ever-lengthening dark roots and split ends.

I let that job end when “Kimora” wrapped, knowing I would move to LA a month later, so I spent the last few weeks of my year and a half in New York just being a tourist in my own city. My family came in to celebrate my grandmother’s 85th birthday, too, and we had a ball. I also walked 11 miles one day, from my apartment at 29th and Lex to Park Slope in Brooklyn.

When I look back on my whole time in New York and think of the things I did the most, I think of ice skating, which was inexpensive at Central Park and Prospect Park and free at Bryant Park (read on); the Museum of Modern Art, where I was a member and visited frequently; and take-out from Iron Sushi and Thai NY, which I ordered every week. And I think of restaurants and bars. Sometimes, now, I’m hard on myself for that, spending money I didn’t have on small plates and craft cocktails. But I wouldn’t change anything, either.

 photo nonny_zpsb4d557a0.jpg
I gladly took over when my grandmother opted to forego the scooter we rented for her in Central Park for a bit.

18. Anthropologie. Every girl in her 20s deserves a well-made cotton dress or five that makes you feel like you could just be laying down in the soft grass beside a bubbling brook, holding hands with a good man who likes you for the easy-going and kind and worldly person you are, with birds and crickets chirping as the sun sets. This hasn’t happened per se, but in my Anthropologie dresses, it obviously could.

19. Ghostland Observatory. I’ve seen them in concert five times, more than any other band. I love the mirror-shattering vocal indignation, laser light shows, hair braids, trance-like organ melodies, Elvis capes, dissonant guitar riffs, and struts and thrusts across the stage. I once introduced a friend who was a music columnist for the Village Voice to one of their shows, and he couldn’t stand them–then wrote a review that said as much. I was crestfallen. If you’re reading this, guys, I am so sorry. You’re perfect to me.

20. “Before Sunset” and “Before Midnight.” I love the whole trilogy from director Rick Linklater and actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, but “Before Sunset” is my favorite movie, ever. You follow Celine and Jesse through Paris in real-time as they talk about how they last left off nine years ago, what’s happened to them since, and what they could be. I get goosebumps just typing this. It’s such a beautiful film. And while the third in the series, “Before Midnight,” is frustrating throughout and angering at times, I’m so glad it was made. I’m looking forward to the next installation sometime in my thirties.

21. NPR. My guy got me into NPR. Before we met, my only exposure to its shows had been Garrison Keillor anthology books-on-tape that my parents rented from the public library and played on family road trips. I liked them only because they were a surefire way to fall asleep through Ohio, Delaware, or North Carolina. My guy couldn’t believe that a cliched conservative-turned-liberal-during-college wasn’t listening to NPR, though, so he suggested I try “This American Life” and sent me the first 500 recordings digitally to ensure that I had no excuse. I’ve probably listened to three-quarters of them. I later discovered “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” a game show that reviews the week’s news, and the podcasts are the only thing that can get me remotely excited to exercise.

22. My metabolism. I mean, COME ON. I’ve been wearing the same small size for most of the last ten years, with only brief interludes in a size up or down, but my favorite foods involve fatty meat cuts, sauces made from egg yolks, and hot peanut oil, and my favorite activities don’t involve exercise, self-restraint, or personal bests. So I opted out of my last cholesterol test because I didn’t want to know! I can wear my college graduation dress! Isn’t that all the cholesterol test I need? No? Well I didn’t ask for your expert medical opinion anyway.

 photo metabolism2_zpsddb9906c.jpg
Ready to snatch up a slice.

23. My thriftiness. I have mostly made very little money in my 20s, but I’ve been unwilling to forego great food and culture. So, I prioritize. I’ve had my hair done at a lot of hair schools and hipster barber shops, and I’ve kept up a massage habit with Groupons or made appointments at massage schools. (Only one was uncomfortable!) I do my own nails except for maybe two cheap pedicures a year. I buy generic brands. I cook. I clean. I don’t mind.

But I’ve also found some really fun ways around paying for a nice lifestyle. In Austin, there was a very granola massage bed company in a tony neighborhood that relied only on word-of-mouth to advertise its beds, so when you signed up to be on their list, you’d get a punch-card for ten free thirty-minute sessions (and not surprisingly, the company no longer exists). I used to dress up in my preppiest U.Va. clothes–pearls, definitely–and act like a young trophy wife, assuring the staff I was telling all of my friends about them, which I’m sure no one bought. Then I’d go to a lakeside coffee shop and drink unlimited iced tea and use their free wireless all day.

In New York, the seasonal skating rink at Bryant Park was free to use, but you had to pay a lot for skate rentals and lockers. I’ve had my own skates since college, but I needed to circumvent the locker. I wore my thinnest ballet flats to walk the 14 blocks to the park and carried my skates in a plastic grocery bag, then on arrival, I put my shoes and the bag in my coat pocket, and I skated for free, with the lions of the New York Public Library admiring my aptitude for loopholes.

Now that I’m in Los Angeles, I enter ticket giveaway contests and keep an eye on Eventbrite, where you can view and RSVP to any of hundreds of upcoming parties. Best of all are gallery openings, which tend to have great art and free wine.

 photo freeparty_zps94d23217.jpg
At a Hawaiian-themed cooking showcase and competition at the Fairmont in Santa Monica with some of LA’s top chefs, with free tickets I’d won.

24. A dream about cutting all my hair off. I love hair. I’ve dyed mine every naturally occuring color except black, I can braid masterpieces on my head and others’, and I even worked at a hair salon for two years in high school, and then over holidays when I was in college. But until my late 20s, I never had great hair. It’s thin, so when I gather all of it into a ponytail, the ponytail has the diameter of a dime. I have cowlicks everywhere, but it’s not uniformly curly. I’ve never liked wearing it down because it lacks fullness and weight, so it’s never been longer than shoulder length.

I’d wondered about cutting it all off. But a hair stylist once told me I didn’t have “delicate enough features” to pull off boy-short hair, and I tried to forget about it. Subconsciously, I guess I never did. In the summer of 2010, I dreamt about cutting it all off and everyone loving it, and the dream stuck with me for days. I asked my guy how he felt about short hair, as I knew some guys would never consider dating a short-haired woman, and he immediately took to the idea of a punky pixie cut on me. My mom was so excited that she mailed me a check to help me pay for an actual professional to do it.

It wasn’t particularly drastic at first, but after about a year, I had it styled so short and white that I barely looked like myself from before. And I finally knew what it was like to have good hair. Sometimes, it was embarrassing how many compliments I’d get while I was out with other people. I’m growing it out and have dyed it back to my natural color so I have styling options when I get married next year, and the attention has disappeared completely. I’m fine with it–my self-image isn’t very looks-based–but I do miss how easy it was! I literally didn’t do anything to it. Those were the days, waking up a half hour before I needed to leave for work.

25. Self-like. I’ve always liked doing things by myself. When I was about 10, I asked my dad to drop me off at my favorite sandwich shop in our hometown and pick me up from the library a few hours later. It went great. Then, right before I turned 20, I went to Ireland by myself. Now, at 30, I dine out by myself regularly even in a serious relationship, and my guy is the only person I’ve ever enjoyed going to museums with. I like hanging out with me. And that’s one of my favorite things about me.

26. Friends. Sipping on a mimosa and talking about men with a great girlfriend is one of my very favorite things to do in the whole world, followed by sipping on a second mimosa and talking about men, followed by sipping on a third mimosa and talking about men. Actually, given where the conversation usually goes in the third mimosa, that one might be my favorite. And my friends usually let me pick the restaurant, even though they have great taste in restaurants, because they know I only want gourmet sandwiches and fries for brunch, which is really picky of me, and they like me anyway.

27. Lucy. I always wanted to rescue a dog, but I had to be able to afford any scary vet bill that might come along, and I also had to be able to guarantee that the dog wouldn’t be alone for unreasonable durations of time during the day. Finally, in 2013, my guy and I were ready to adopt. A wonderful foster mom at A Dog’s Life Rescue found us Lucy. After two meetings, we knew. She crawls under our sheets at night and sleeps in past our alarm, wags her tail so hard when she sees us that her entire rear end wiggles like a fishtailing car, and squeaks her chew-toys gleefully and pulls out the stuffing so that our floor looks like it’s full of clouds from an elementary school art project. She has given us more love and trust than we thought possible in only nine months, and she proves the adage, “Who rescued who?”

28. My family. If anyone is making a documentary about enthusiastic people, look no further. We could pull sunshine out of our asses in the depths of hell.

And for that reason and a number of others, I love being with my family. But for the last several years, the only time of year we’ve all been together has been Christmas. We are all passionate about cooking and dining out, and over the holidays, our days’ activities are defined by the dinners we cook together.

There is Christmas Eve, typically steamboat, a Singaporean meal in which you cook various meats and vegetables in communal broth using skewers, with a variety of interesting sauces to choose from on the side. On Christmas we’ll make something very fancy, like whole ducks, racks of lamb, or a roast beef. There is usually a night of from-scratch pasta from my mom’s 1970s hand-crank machine, with homemade meatballs. Whoever is the first long-distance child to arrive at home gets a meal of their choosing, which we sometimes just offer to make ourselves. There are at least three kinds of cookies and two cakes or pies throughout the week.

The pi├Ęce-de-resistance is the Malay Family Cooking Challenge, wherein we all cook with a theme ingredient and serve our dishes throughout the day. The theme ingredients have included bananas, chocolate, and lemons, and human tears seem to be a recurring ingredient. The resulting dishes have included authentic Japanese ramen noodles from ash water, Peruvian causa, Oaxacan mole, Hawaiian manapua, pork tongue tacos, bell pepper ice cream, and a now-infamous cajun casserole with bananas.

And I love that I go home to the only house I’ve ever known, and I sleep in the bedroom I left when I was 18 years old. I never do as much reading or exercising as I mean to, and I always smother the dogs and drink too much wine. But when I’m home, I just get to be myself, and reminded of who I am.

29. My guy. We met in 2007, on an autumn Tuesday night in Charlottesville, Virginia. I went over to a friend’s house after the gym to pick up champagne flutes from a party I cohosted with her, and she enticed me to join her for $2 microbrew pint night at South Street Brewery by offering me a glass of wine and a cigarette. At the time, that was all I needed to forego a quiet night in with crossword puzzles and grocery store sushi–those were my gateway drugs. I was wearing whatever makeup I hadn’t sweat off after twenty minutes on an elliptical machine, a white but yellowing ballcap, tight gym pants, and a sporty jacket, but I agreed to go for one beer.

I had a few. I met my guy at the bar that night. We had both briefly gone out with people who were dating each other. He was in Virginia visiting his family and stopped in Charlotttesville hoping to visit with the woman he’d briefly dated, but she was busy, so instead, he found himself at a bar with her boyfriend. The boyfriend, meanwhile, wasn’t supposed to be seen talking to me. (I’ve mentioned I was a flirt.) And so my guy–not yet my guy–was foisted upon me.

I thought he was very cute. I liked his kind eyes with his bad-boy 5 o’clock shadow and tongue ring, and the way he rolled up the sleeves of his plaid shirt, but no tattoos, which I’ve never cared for. He was living in LA after film school, working in entertainment, and I was impressed that he was ruining my stereotype of guys who wore camouflage baseball hats with everything he was saying. I couldn’t quite pin him down that night, and I probably never will.

We Myspaced each other soon after, and I called him a few weeks later to request that we go out on a date the next time he was home in Virginia for Christmas, and we went on many dates that Christmas. All of them good. I knew I really, really, really liked him when he did a card trick for me.

We tried dating long-distance, but that didn’t work. We dated other people locally, and that didn’t work, either. By summer 2009, I was working in TV production in New York City and more than a little frustrated with my love life. One of the camera operators on our production was a guy who lived in my neighborhood growing up, and when we Facebook friended, I expected to see mutual friends from our hometown, but I didn’t expect to see my guy in the group. When I went in to work I asked him how he knew my guy, and he said something about what a “great guy” he was, and that they’d worked on a show in Vegas together. A week later, I sent my guy a Facebook message, and our exchanges led to his visiting me in NYC in the fall. The next summer, I moved to LA and we officially started dating. He is one of two guys I’ve dated longer than two months, and the only guy I’ve dated longer than six months, and he has never held that, or anything else, against me.

I don’t believe that there’s only one person in the whole world for us. But I do believe there are only a few. And I do think I was meant to meet my guy. We’ve since figured out that were in the exact same rooms at the exact same times but living on opposite coasts twice before we finally got introduced.

30. 30. I was ready to be done with my twenties.

Advertisements