“The ‘what ifs’ will kill you!” (Part 6)

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So here we are, just a few short months into my course and I was filling a big void in my life. I’d finally found what I was good at. What I loved to do. As I was saying, It never felt like study, It felt like I was looking up stuff I wanted to know. Not because I had to learn it, but because I genuinely wanted to know how to make myself more proficient and better at my passion. Alas I was also starting to get lonely again. A serial monogamist always longs for that closeness. That longing to have the option to hold someone at night. Someone to make life a little better than it already was. Tinder was my platform of choice. “Why not the gym?”, you ask? “If I was so into fitness, then would that not be the best place to meet someone?”. Short answer, “NO!”. The gym is probably the worst place to meet someone.

Lets set one thing straight. Girls who are in the gym are usually, as are men, self conscious. In my experience anyway. Women do not want to be hassled or stared at by anyone, including men. People are in the gym for a reason and it is usually because they have an insecurity they want to address. So going up to and talking to someone who is self conscious will not get you anywhere. Now.. there is a small percentage of women and men who do like to be looked at and hit on. These women and men have zero interest in anyone who comes up to them and it only fuels their egos when this happens. I must note that these are my opinions, my observations and I realise there is exceptions to every rule. Not all people in the gym are just insecure beings. Some actually want that cute guy or girl to talk to them. The risk to benefit ratio was just too large for my liking.

Nevertheless… online dating was something that was easy to do. It allowed for me to study, workout and still have fun with my friends while continuing to find myself. In short, it was safe. I must digress though, it wasn’t just a walk in the park. You think you’re getting along with someone, meet them in real life and they end up being nothing like who they were in their online persona. Great picture angles to mask what they really looked like. Feigning an interest in fitness because they fell in love with the idea of me; not actually who I was. Also I looked taller in my pictures than real life; a small bit of a let down for some girls. Pardon the pun! Fail after fail I was starting to really get disheartened. Then it happened, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I fell for someone when, I thought, I shouldn’t.

I kept telling myself I didn’t want a relationship. I was looking for something more convenient to what I was trying to do. I wanted to be something more than I ever was before. I wanted to be the best version of myself and I thought ‘love’ would mess that up. How wrong was I?! She came into my life like a tornado and challenged everything about me. My perception of what I thought I should be, who I thought I should be. She loved hard and jumped in with two feet, finally someone who wanted me as much as I wanted them. I was so reluctant to be my honest self to her. My training was to come first, no matter what. Falling in love and wanting to do your own thing conflict so much. Here was a woman who was stronger than I ever could be, she has an illness you see, but that’s not what I’m going to go into over this platform. Never complained about it, just got on with life. Made me feel so much more special than anyone ever did; and with each passing day fell for me more and more.

A little more context is needed here I think. At this time I was living in my mam’s house, following vacating the apartment I associated with the last failed relationship, it was also a bedsit to where I would stay on the floor. Finding it hard to rent in my home town as it was far too expensive and I wanted to pick myself up on my own. It was just another chapter in my life, I embraced the challenge, but never gave up hope because I knew I was going somewhere in life.

Avoiding love at all costs, I decided to take a step back. I was falling for this girl big time but my mind didn’t want to let my heart. “You shouldn’t feel like this!”, I kept telling myself. “It isn’t going to be good in the long run!”. What I wasn’t admitting to myself was how I was falling for her too. Imagining myself with this beautiful woman by my side, pushing me to be a better man, and running out of excuses in my head. Love was inevitable and taking the plunge again was terrifying, I’d been hurt so much in the past. Admitting defeat to my heart, my head didn’t stand a chance. “What had I got to lose at this stage?!”, saying this statement lightly. The answer was everything in my mind. But you know what; when you look back on your life, you’ll always regret the chances you didn’t take. “The ‘what ifs’ will kill you!”

A few more months passed, I was living with one of my friends and finally my head gave into the woman I realised I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. The woman I want to build a family with, the who would not hurt me, the one who would help me develop and drive me in what I am passionate about. Now I knew what it was like to be one of the lucky ones, finally realising what this meant. I thought I knew what love was but it never felt like this before; it wasn’t just lust. It was something more, something mature, something I could be happy about; “Best decision I’ve ever made!”. Life was finally falling into place.

The next challenge was to follow through with the dream. How? Well, that’s a story for another day.

To be continued…

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