I Want To Kiss Everyone: 17 Things I Have To Do Before I Settle Down

by Candice Jalili

I want to find the man of my dreams, fall in love and have a million babies (or five, but we’ll iron out the details later).

I just don’t want that right now. I’m not ready for it. I still have things I need to do by myself before I commit to a relationship.

So, to the millions of boys DYING to settle down with me, I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to wait a little. I’ve got things to do before I can spend the rest of my life with you.

I need to fall totally and completely in love with myself.

Before I fall for anybody else, I need to fall for myself. I don’t want to have lukewarm feelings, either. I want to absolutely love myself to pieces.

I need to understand myself.

OK, I know that I will never totally understand myself. I mean, does anybody (Maybe Buddha or the Dalai Lama or Pope Francis or something, but that’s besides the point)?

I am not a spiritual figure, so I will never have a full grasp of my complexity. But I do want a clearer understanding of who I am. At the very least, I need to know what parts of myself I'm willing to compromise on -- and which parts I'm not.

I need to travel enough to know where I want to live.

I want to see the world -- and not just on Google Images or my friends' Facebook albums. I want to see it firsthand. I don’t want to be the mom who's folding laundry and dreaming of Marbella.

And, most importantly, I want to search the world for home. As the saying goes, "Home is where the heart is," and I have every intention of finding that spot before I agree to move to God-knows-where for a job relocation.

I need to have a rough draft of my life plan.

I need to know where I am going before I decide to take someone with me.

I need to kiss every one of my crushes.

I want to have stupid, embarrassing crushes on guys who are probably in no way, shape or form as great as my wild and unstoppable imagination has made them out to be. And I want to go ahead and kiss every single one of them.

Okay, so Chris Pratt is probably out of the question. But I will be smooching all of the other ones.

I need to enjoy playing games.

Games happen in the beginning. They happen before the settling and the comfort. I want to enjoy the chase and the text-strategizing and the hard-to-get before it’s all over.

I need to be reckless.

I want to rack up as many wild and embarrassing stories as possible before I commit to one person. I want to get much drunker than is socially acceptable -- and not feel that bad about it.

I want to take a stride of pride (or two or three or four…). I want to do whatever I want just because it’s fun.

I need to have my heart broken.

This is a big one. I've had my heart stung and pinched. But I have never had it truly broken.

Heartbreak is a necessary human experience. People write songs and books and plays and movies about it. I want to feel that. I NEED to feel that before I can truly appreciate the kind of love that lasts forever.

I need to fall in love for the night.

I want to experience an entire love affair that lasts all of 12 hours (see: "Before Sunrise"). It will be a little preview of what's to come, if you will. Before I meet Mr. Right, I need to fall in and out of love with Mr. Right Now.

I need to let my guard down.

I need to learn to be open about how I'm feeling, and I need to stop being afraid of losing in love.

I still don't know what I'm so afraid of losing (my dignity? the upperhand?). But whatever it is, I need to put away the shield I'm brandishing.

Every guy who rejects me for who I really am brings me closer to the guy who won’t.

I need to be crazy in lust.

I want to like somebody so much -- and throw myself so deeply into the chase -- that I turn into a legitimate maniac. I want to call him 47 times in five minutes and tell him way too early in our "relationship" that I like him.

I want to cry in a public venue when I see him with another girl. I want to yell some obscene profanities at the girl before I realize it's his sister. I want to get the batsh*t crazy out of my system before I find the guy I’m actually crazy about.

I need to have a wrong love.

I need to be really, truly in love with a guy who is totally and completely wrong for me. He does not necessarily have to be some sort of evil mastermind or serial cheater, but he just needs to not be the right guy for me.

Until I know who's wrong for me, how will I ever be able to tell who's right?

I need to know who I’m looking for.

This relates to my last point. I need to know who it is I’m seeking. Sure, the person he's not has a lot to do with that. But I also need to get a realistic idea of who he is.

My current idea -- a hedge fund manager who has a heart of gold, a super close-knit family, a hilarious sense of humor (but obviously finds me hilarious, too) and shared love of everything I love, from rom-coms to Mafia movies -- is a bit unrealistic.

I need to make important decisions on my own.

Being able to order a meal without consulting my dad across the country would be nice.

Sample text conversation:

“Do you think I’ll like the risotto, Dad???”

“No. You hate risotto. I’m in a meeting.”

And it’s not just my meals. Even the men I date are vetted by my friends and family. Heck, they’re the ones drafting 90 percent of the texts I send to men.

I need to be able to stand on my own two feet and, I don’t know, send a text to the guy I hope to spend THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH without consulting everybody I know.

I need to seize every opportunity.

If someone invites me to go away for the weekend, I need to do it. If some stranger on the subway asks me to dinner, I need to go. Now is my time to do everything I want without asking for anybody's approval.

I need to chase someone who is just not that into me.

I need to know it’s not so easy to find someone. I need to put my best self forward and realize that my best self isn't always someone's top choice.

Understanding this will make it a million times easier to find a guy who likes me just the way I am.

I need to bask in my alone time.

I need to sleep starfish style for as many nights as I can before I commit to a lifetime of spooning.