Dear Blog:

Happy Birthday! Today you are one year old.

When I started you, I was fresh out of two relationships, both of which left me heartbroken in a short period of time. I was underweight, because when I’m sad, I can’t eat. I was confused, but ready to leave it behind and embrace my single freedom. And as I wrote here a year ago, I was ready to learn.

What have I learned? The true harshness and depth of life’s lessons cannot be impressed upon others easily through a few keyboard strokes. But for the sake of simplicity, here is a list of five things I learned this year about life, love, dating and relationships.

-It’s fun to be single. I spent most of my life yearning for a boyfriend. Most of the time, I didn’t have one. But last year, I was single and I LOVED it. I had a full social calendar, hung out with different groups of people, and tried new things. It was awesome. Deep down, we’re all looking for love with the right person, but what I learned last year is that being single is only a negative if you have the wrong perspective. And that Debbie Downer attitude isn’t going to help you find love, so you might as well have fun.

– It’s not ok to walk on eggshells for your boyfriend.
Duh, right? It’s that Cosmo advice I always rolled my eyes at. What intelligent, college-educated woman doesn’t know something about self-respect? But when you’re me, circa 2007, and you are in your second serious relationship, admitting there is something wrong is impossible. Confronting a man about things that need to change isn’t going to happen. I never truly felt comfortable around Frank. I held my tongue when he was out of town for my birthday. I didn’t complain when he didn’t call, or when he chose others over me. I didn’t consider that his age and history might indicate he was a bachelor-for-life. So there went a year of mine, all because of denial.

-When a man says he loves you after three weeks, it’s probably not true.
Another duh. And it might be true in your case. But for most of us, fairy tales should stay on a bookshelf and not applied to real life. When Darren told me after such a short period that he loved me, I should have told Prince Charming to get a grip. That way it would not have been such a shock when, two months later, it turned out he didn’t love me after all.

-A rebound relationship can be a good thing.
Darren was my rebound after Frank. My fragile heart made a poor choice. He wasn’t my type at all, and many of his attributes would have raised a red flag had I been sane. But, looking back on it, he helped me get over Frank faster. And when we ended our short, crazy thing, I didn’t have much feeling left. Sounds odd, but it meant I moved on faster, started this blog and began living my awesome life.

-Friendship takes some work.
Technology is a wonderful thing. But having 392 Facebook friends or 286 phone numbers doesn’t mean you’re any closer to other human beings on this planet. Our lives are all busy, with work, families, boyfriends, girlfriends, activities. But life is short, and when it comes to keeping up with the people who mean something to you, once in awhile, you’ve got to find 15 minutes for that phone call, and spent 10 working with your google calendars to squeeze in some girl time. Because when the shit hits the fan and the boyfriend is out of town, who is going to be there?

-Painful lessons are a good thing. All of this living meant learning. Without it, maybe I would not have realized last spring that I had the possibility of real, true love right under my nose. I had dismissed the idea of dating my friend Kevin, but through this blog, some soul searching and some thoughts on my lessons, I realized that it was worth it. Now, nine months later, we’re living together in domestic bliss. We still haven’t had a fight, but it’s not because I’m holding my tongue. I just made a smart choice this time.

So thanks, blog, for teaching me a thing or two about relationships. Any chance you can help me figure out my career? Oh well.