For today's post, I'm supposed to talk about my first love. I was contemplating taking the cop out method and talking about cars and how my grandpa started a used car dealership after returning from World War 2 and how I've been around cars my whole life, how I worked on race cars for years and now work in the auto industry. Instead, I'm going to tell a story.
This is the sad story that every guy has some version of. It's the story of the crazy girlfriend. For the sake of this story, I'm going to call mine Janet. This is the story of how I loved Janet, hated her, and then came to love her again.
In high school, I was a part of a program called Michigan Youth in Government. It's a program where kids from high schools across the state converge on Lansing and have a mock government for a week. My junior year, I met a cute girl from another UP town who was running for Governor. Now here's the thing. I was initially not interested in her, but was interested in another girl from the same school. Most of that week, I spent with this other girl, including at the dance they held for us on the last day.
It wasn't until the trip home that I ever had a chance to actually sit down and talk with Janet. Since this was a trip to the UP, it was several hours long. There's nothing like a seven hour conversation to get to know somebody.
I'll try to spare you of most of the stuff that will make you want to gag from how gushy it was. Suffice to say, that we thought we were perfect for one another...until it ended. We were together for almost three years. Then she broke up with me, seemingly out of nowhere. Two days later, I found out that she was dating a mutual friend of ours.
This is where the hindsight came in. Looking back, I saw everything that was a clear signal that we weren't going to last and ignored. She's rather religious, where I'm an apathetic atheist. She spent quite a bit of time trying to convert me to belief, and I kind of went along with it for a while. There's a red flag for you. If your significant other tries to change something that is a fundamental part of who you are (I'm not talking about minor character flaws here), get the hell out as fast as you can. When I look back, there were four or five red flags that I should have seen and gotten out.
The breakup was rough. Then again, this is that sad story that every guy has, so you could have seen that one coming. It took me months to get to the point where I could get out and be social with new people. When I finally did (at the pressing of a friend of mine), it felt great. I joined Michigan Tech's satirical newspaper The Daily Bull. This led to parties with the other writers and their friends. This, in turn, led to my pledging Mu Beta Psi National Honorary Musical Fraternity. If I hadn't pledged Psi, I never would have met my wife.
A short while before I met Katie, I started really getting into the men's personal improvement movement. You could call it pickup, but that's only a small part of it. The reality is that I utilized the same concepts and ideas that I was learning about meeting women to just improve myself in general.
One of the things that I learned through this whole process was to look back on what happened in past relationships and to learn from my mistakes. In this, I came up with my favorite line. There is one common element in all of your unsuccessful relationships: you.
I wouldn't be where I am today and with who I am today if Janet and I hadn't fallen in love, she hadn't broken my heart, and I hadn't learned and moved on. In time, I learned to look at everything in life this way. I wouldn't be who I am today if just one event in my past had turned out differently. In this way, I once again love Janet. I love her for the same reason that I love everybody who I encounter, because I wouldn't be who I am without them.