One day, while I was cleaning the dishes with my mom after making dinner, she started talking about an old boyfriend from high school.
This story lacked the typical confusion or drama that we've come to expect from the tales our generation shares.
After we finished, I started thinking about my mother’s dating history and the limited amount of stories she has told me.
I’ve heard about a few different men, but she didn’t have much dating experience before my dad.
Or did she?
Who did she filter out? Were the stories really that simple?
This got me thinking about myself and the stories I’ll tell my own children some day. I never really looked at it this way, but the people I give my heart to become permanent stories I'll one day pass on, either as signs of warnings or encouragement.
Will I filter anything or anyone out?
Obviously the more complicated people (or "stories") are more entertaining, but I'm not sure I'll want to shred my child's idealistic view of romance.
If my mother's stories occurred simply as is, what lessons are there for me to learn? I do want to prepare my son or daughter before any hearts are broken, and I know I’ll explain the dangers of “talking.”
As players of the dating game, we need to realize we are stories in the making. Characters in our lives will repeat our behaviors and treatment to others.
When someone you’ve been intimate with tells the story of your fling, do you want your legacy to be a cold breakup text or silence without warning?
I hope when the guys I’ve cared for tell their children about their romantic relationships, they’ll depict me as caring and passionate above all else.
I want them to remember the stories of how we laid in bed on rainy days and talked about our childhood, or how we had our nightly meet-ups in the stairwell.
These fleeting moments may be a bit more significant to me than to another. But I do think it’s important we take the time to think about how our actions impact others.
So many people are struggling with mental illnesses or human difficulties we cannot fathom. We also need to be more careful about who we let into our lives and more importantly, our hearts.
I’m not sure I’ll want to sit down for bed one night to have my daughter ask about my dating history, after which I'll describe how I desperately chased the frat boy who couldn’t form a sentence because I wanted to prove to myself I could be loved.
When I put my actions in this scenario, my perspective changes. Now, I am trying to use common sense and think before doing.
It seems simple, but it's interesting to view the stories from the eyes of our future selves looking back.
Not only do I want to tell my child favorable and memorable stories, I want to be a fond memory for the others I come in contact with.
I don’t want that lonely boy to tell his son that women can be cold and selfish, using you only when they need the attention.
I don’t want to be the overly possessive one who disliked his abundance of female friends.
Personally, I’m starting to think in terms of the legacy I’ll leave behind, and we all should. Decisions become a lot simpler to make, and your relationships become much more meaningful.