For a long time, I’ve considered myself an old soul. Well… I believe in reincarnation, so I guess I would say I’m a recycled soul. No matter how you choose to word it, the basic idea is the same: I don’t get people my own age.
My girlfriend likes to say I’m a little old lady in a younger body (although most days I don’t feel like my body is very young, either). I’ve had friends who affectionately told me that I instantly developed a “mom purse” as soon as I started carrying one – chapstick, tweezers, anything you could possibly need, and I’m prepared. (I even keep a spare copy of my girlfriend’s ID in my purse, but that’s another story entirely.)
I don’t understand hookup culture. I block strangers who call me babe, hun, or any other random pet names. I think the idea of the side chick is deplorable. I don’t get “twerking” and I have no intention of figuring it out. And I really don’t understand anyone who says they met the “love of their lives” more than once a year.
(I know, you can love many people in your life – but it takes longer than a month or two to actually “love” someone. And if the two of you give it up within a month or two, is it really love anyway? I don’t think so.)
Maybe I’m just too cynical, and I’m okay with that. I know I’m not alone – and I don’t even mind if I’m in the minority. After all, why should I care about what’s “normal” when I can just be wonderful me?
But as an old soul, there are certain things that I do differently than most people. If you find yourself agreeing to most of these things, maybe you’re an old soul, too.
1. I don’t care about your drama.
I don’t keep up on the tabloids, or the social gossip. I hear it in passing, more often than I’d like, but I don’t care to perpetuate it. Your sister got arrested and your brother can’t stay off the drugs? I’m sorry – but I don’t want to hear it.
But it’s not actually that I don’t care. I feel things too deeply sometimes, and I’d rather distance myself from these things. If I hear about the problems going on, I’m going to want to step in and save the day – and that’s not a good position for me to be in, when I can hardly save myself.
(Oh, and don’t tell me a problem unless you’re expecting me to try and find a solution – I don’t do negative chit-chat. That’s not small talk, it’s emotional entrapment.)
2. I need romance in my life.
I need someone who’s going to sweep me off my feet, because when I enter a relationship, I’m expecting great things. My expectations aren’t unreasonable – I just need to know you care, more than just you telling me that you do. Show me! Be my hero every now and then!
But my generation is pretty dumb when it comes to romance. Not all of it, of course, but far too much of it. This means I’m often underwhelmed in my relationships. As lame as it sounds, I’d really rather you make me a nice dinner than parade me in front of your friends.
(But that’s not to say you can’t put me on display – as long as you’re consistently proud of me when it’s just the two of us.)
3. I’m a walking conundrum.
I need structure, but I crave freedom. I need to feel safe without feeling patronized. I need to feel like you’re there to protect me, without feeling like you think I’m helpless. It’s a thin line I’ll have you walking on, but I promise it’s worth it.
I don’t even understand myself sometimes – I plan everything out, but I want to be surprised. Yet, when I am surprised, I often get irritated that my plans were broken. It doesn’t make any sense, and yet here we are.
(I don’t expect you to understand – I just expect you to let me be a mystery.)
4. I can’t do the hookup thing.
I tried for a while, after high school, and it just wasn’t me. No matter how much I tell myself that I’m not going to fall for someone I hook up with or hang out with casually, it ends up happening, at least to some extent. If we sleep together, I’ve probably already got feelings, whether I admit them or not.
Back when I was trying to be that person, it really irritated me, and I’d respond by running away. I fell for some of the worst possible people – the ones who just wanted sex. If I couldn’t imagine a future with them, I wouldn’t give in – and sometimes this resulted in some really mean comments.
(To the women who shot me down, I thank you – knowing what I know about myself, I would have eventually given in, and it would have destroyed me.)
5. I question everything.
I’m a horrible over-thinker. I can put together something you’ve said today with another thing you said six months ago and if the comparison doesn’t really make sense, I will bring it to your attention. If you’re inconsistent, I will notice, and it will prompt me to check for other inconsistencies.
It’s really not that I don’t trust you – but I don’t trust myself to not empathize with the ones who hurt me in the past. I’ve been let down so many times that it wouldn’t make sense for me to take things at face value.
(But if you don’t give me anything to question, I’ll appreciate it forever.)
6. I can’t help but focus on the big picture.
I’m highly philosophical, and that can occasionally cause problems for me. I have this habit of seeing both sides of the argument, and talking myself into thinking I’m wrong. I’d like to think that helped me in relationships, but really it just teaches the women I’m with that I can be easily convinced that I’m in the wrong.
I need someone who can see the big picture with me, but who can also let me know when I should really be paying attention to the little things. I’m going to see the forest, and the neighboring meadow, but I need someone who can show me the leaves and flowers are beautiful, too.
(Of course, this would have to be without undermining the beauty of the forest itself.)
7. I rely on my intuition, even when it’s wrong.
I see patterns when there might not even be any. Sometimes this means that I’m wrong, and I’ve come to terms with that. I won’t always admit it, but I know my intuition doesn’t have a 100% success rate – and I need someone who’s still going to love me, even when I am wrong.
Most of the time, though, my intuition is going to be spot on, and I’m going to want you to go along with it unless you can logically explain to me why I’m not making the right connections.
(But if you can’t cite proper sources, it doesn’t count.)
8. I don’t need to be impressed.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have to try, but I’m not expecting you to blow my mind and put all my broken pieces back together. I would rather have simple promises that you can actually fulfill than for you to promise the world.
I’d rather have a handful of wildflowers than a dozen long-stemmed roses. I’d rather you introduced me to your favorite TV show than take me to a crowded movie theater. I’d rather you cook me pancakes at 2 AM than take me to the finest five-star restaurant.
(But if you’re going to take me out, I do enjoy sushi.)
9. I can be more than a little brooding.
It might seem like I’m a pessimist, but really, I just set my expectations too high. I think things are going to be great, and then when they’re not, it breaks a little bit of my heart. I’ve been disappointed far too many times to count, and it’s taken a toll on me.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be around you. If anything, I need someone to break me out of my head and remind me that there is still good in the world. If you can be the good, even better – but I’ll understand if you can’t always be that person.
(Just don’t expect me to stick around when you’re being a pain.)
10. I need my partner to talk about things.
Communication will always be one of the greatest forms of intimacy, and I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who can say exactly what’s on their mind. Of course, I would prefer if the things you have to say are at least mostly nice, but that’s not always the case – at least you’re telling me.
Not only the things on your mind, I want to know about your history. Who are you, and who did you used to be? What did you want to be when you grew up, and what are you doing to reach that goal – or did something change it for you? I want to hear every story.
(Some of them more than once – I want to know you inside out.)