A little over two years ago I dated a boy… let’s call him Nick. (I’ve never actually dated a Nick, but it’s a hot-boy name, so let a girl dream.) Nick and I met on Tinder.
I was fresh out of a long-term, long-distance, long-prolonging-the-inevitable relationship.
My Tinder bio at the time read, “Not looking for anything serious,” followed by a bride emoji and the big red X emoji.
Clearly, I was there to “have fun,” as the kids say.
And I did have fun with Nick. I had a lot of fun. More fun than I’d had in a while. It was weird.
We had a deeply unrealistic relationship. We’d spend every Friday night through Monday morning together, and then we wouldn’t talk at all during the week. We both hated our jobs. He was a marketing director at a big agency and I was a receptionist at a finance firm (obviously, he was a bit older than I was).
He admired me because I was young, hopeful, and following my acting dreams. (He had always wanted to be a film director, but never let himself pursue it, because of the success and status he had achieved.)
I admired him because he was engaged with life in this way I had never been before.
He cared about tech, knew about film, followed sports, would spent countless hours watching late night shows and researching random facts on the internet. He was familiar with politics and pop culture. He knew a lot about snakes and science. (Like, what?!) He was interested in running, surfing, biking, hiking, and camping.
Sure, he hated his job, but he was embracing his experience of life.
I, on the other hand, didn’t know much about these things.
Depression made me think, “What’s the point?” about almost everything. If someone wanted to talk to me about politics, I’d feel like “What’s the point? Politicians are all the same.” If someone made a pop culture reference, I’d have no idea what they were talking about, because … well, what’s the point?
I was missing out on a lot of life, because I didn’t see the point of it.
I wasn’t all that thrilled about living life. I spent a lot more time questioning it. My perspective was pretty much: If I’m going to die anyways, why spend time learning about random shit when my life is inconsequential and nothing matters?
Pretty fucking bleak, I know.
That mentality was interrupted when Nick showed up. My depressing point of view was called into question when I witnessed how he was living.
We’d take weekend trips, during which I’d blow my whole $500 paycheck. We’d go to the beach, where he would show me beautiful, new spots I’d never seen before, despite growing up in this city. We’d drink too much and share extravagant meals. We’d play laser-tag and pool.
We’d go hiking and find new restaurants. We’d go to a bar and pretend like we were meeting for the first time. We’d go cowboy camping and not know what we were doing the next day. We went to a bug convention at the Natural History Museum. We hung out at the park and people watched. We’d share juicy details about our sex lives and exes, never considering what was “polite” or “appropriate.” We’d have this amazing sex, where I felt like he was penetrating my being. It was electrifying and intimidating and exhilarating.
I think I was his escape, a fun way to forget about the parts of his life he was unhappy with.
He helped me enjoy my life too, but in a different way. He wasn’t an escape. He was an entry point. An entry point into my life, not out of it.
He set an example of how I wanted to live.
I began to engage with life in a new way.
Before, I never understood why people would have BBQs and watch sports. Suddenly, I understood! … Because it’s fun! Because it’s a way to enjoy yourself.
Not to say my life was completely void of fun or joy before he came along. Definitely not! In fact, I was often the life of the party.
But this was different … it was like things that I used to think were pointless and a waste of time, suddenly were things I was okay participating in.
It didn’t really matter what the point was.
And that gave me a lot.
I realized that I want to embrace life while I’m here, not resist or reject it just because I don’t understand it.
What’s the point of that?
With him I felt like, “Wow! This is living. This is being alive.”
Our relationship didn’t last, of course, but I’m grateful for this new perspective he offered me. Whether he knew he had that effect on me or not, I don’t know.
Nick (your name is not really Nick), if you’re reading this, thank you. And I hope you quit your job and make a film one day.
Of course, I know depression is not circumstantial. It’s something that’s just there sometimes. I’m not saying a shift in mentality will make depression go away. That wasn’t the case for me. I don’t think that’s the case for anyone with depression. But it did make a big difference in my own life view. And that life view informs how I live even two years later. For that, I’m grateful.