I often wonder how many times First Lady, Michelle Obama was asked if she would settle before she met POTUS? Imagine, twenty something year old Michelle, ivy educated, tall, radiant and absolutely beautiful.
However I’m sure as most conversations go with twenty something’s after a brief round of questions about schooling, careers and other priorities, she soon found herself leaning in close as someone with a sly smile whispered “So, tell me about the boys.”
There are several thoughts that run through ones mind before addressing the topic. My initial thought is “how did we get here?” coupled with “Why again, am I single?” When it comes to checking off the “marketable” criteria you’ve got all the boxes filled. Yet you’re fumbling to find the one square you’ve missed that solidifies why you're “alone.”
I’m sure the initial outward response is laughter but the most awkward part is realizing the person is unamused and staring at you, waiting for an answer. What am I suppose to say? “Oh the boys? Why yes. Yes I am involved with a young man that I have not told you about because I enjoy torturing you with thoughts of my singleness.”
It’s an odd and awkward conversation, yet it serves as some sort of weird right of passage into adulthood. If there was a chance to opt out of these discussions I'd be the first to exit stage left, sadly there's usually no secret passage or emergency staircase that leads out.
I understand that your twenties are the time (for some) to settle down and start families but there's a huge crowd of us still trying to figure things out. Figuring things out with a significant other would be nice yet it is not as easy as it lends itself to be. Rapper Bun B said it best "Don't be a lame, you know the game and how it goes. We tryin' to get chose" and it's true! However it's hard to find someone with good intentions in a sea of inconstancy. You can always be a "great catch", but there are a few people out there who've extended their rods and don't quite know what they're fishing for (or vice versa).
My role model, First Lady Michelle Obama doesn't give relationship advice often, but when she does I'm all ears. In an interview for Glamour Magazine with journalist, Katie Couric when asked about qualities to look for (after all she is married to a man of great stature) FLOTUS shared, "Cute’s good. But cute only lasts for so long, and then it’s, Who are you as a person? That’s the advice I would give to women: Don’t look at the bankbook or the title."
Ah, the title. This is where some of us may fall short. With the idolization of power couples everyone is searching for someone who can "match" their "rise and grind" mantra but that's only the tip of the iceberg. Beyond the persons instagram likes and linkedin connections who are you really talking to?
Mrs. O shares these sentiments as she continued, "Look at the heart. Look at the soul. Look at how the guy treats his mother and what he says about women. How he acts with children he doesn’t know. And, more important, how does he treat you? When you’re dating a man, you should always feel good. You should never feel less than. You should never doubt yourself. You shouldn’t be in a relationship with somebody who doesn’t make you completely happy and make you feel whole. And if you’re in that relationship and you’re dating, then my advice is, don’t get married."
Choosing the right partner should feel like landing a scholarship. Not only is it of great value to you but it also challenges you to grow, work harder and become a better person. Don't settle for someone that feels like taking out a loan. Meaning it wasn't hard to get, you can spend most of your time on cruise control, barely make it and later end up paying back more than you bargained for. Find someone who can meet you where you are mentally and spiritually; equally yoked. This takes time. Michelle Obama (then Robinson) had already graduated with both her Bachelors and Masters degrees and had entered the working world. She was around 25 when she met the young POTUS however we know that for "relationship watchers" going from around 20 to 25 with no relationship that leads to engagement can feel like an eternity but people need time to grow.
I imagine, that even then they were not the people who they are today however they not only saw potential in each other, they saw a prosperous future. There was no instagram at the time so I know they probably weren't reposting pictures of coupled public figures with the caption "I want." Instead they were working with what they had, each other.
Photo Courtesy of White House Flickr
So to all my fellow millennials out there who are single and waiting for a miracle, be strong and continue to do your thing. Love will find you when it needs to and it'll be the scholarship that changes your life, forever.