The Atlantic recently published a piece on couples who make conscious choices about milestones in their relationships as opposed to letting them happen out of convenience. I stumbled upon it a while ago when the topic was already fresh on my mind, when my lovely man and I decided (over a Jameson, of course--I may be an open book but I'm still totally terrible at relationship conversations like anyone else) that we love our relationship the way it is and don't feel the need to move in with one another just because it might be the convenient option.
We had entertained the idea because, as a lady who lives on her own, let me tell you: the rent is too damn high. And we've been dating for a considerable amount of time, we love each other, and want to be around each other a lot. But while these are fine reasons to move in with someone, we decided that it was still a huge step. And we figured, perhaps by the bottom of our whiskey-drained glasses, that we valued this milestone. We wanted it to be a deliberate step, not one stumbled into because it would be easy.
Every relationship is different, and that's the beauty of two people getting to make decisions together: every pair has to decide what is right for them, regardless of what other people say. It’s a double edged sword, of course. I love my independence: I can genuinely say that most days, I dig my own company. (She's sassy as hell and likes to watch Real Housewives? What's not to love?) But there’s nothing—and years of chasing after a false sense of this has led me to understand—that can replace sleeping next to another human who accepts your rough edges and your smoothed curves (CUE JOHN LEGEND), who is both the keeper of your secrets and the promise of your future. I am simultaneously a firm believer that I am complete by myself and equally grateful that I have someone who complements that person with his own complete, wonderful self.
So come fall I will pack up my Claire things--which, for anyone who might guess, includes an endless array of journals and books; a beloved Degas print my mom is letting me use/have? Still unclear mom, so I'm keeping it for now; favorite photos of my family, my pup, and meeting Lauryn Hill; three baby succulents I've managed to keep alive all year; the typewriter that belonged to Uncle Floyd; the vintage ice bucket with little dancing penguins on it; an old-school dresser I've converted into a bar; an air conditioner I could not live without; the tiny wooden Buddha that does its best to tell me to calm the F down; a desk that used to be my dad's that he's letting me use/have? Still unclear dad, so I'm keeping it for now; and an assorted number of boots I am ashamed to admit I own. I will pack up my Self and move her to her next location; a bit smaller, a bit cozier, but still just Hers. I will place her things in boxes and go on being Me--with an amazing guy to help me do the heavy lifting.