In last semester’s Collegiate Magazine, I said that I would write a de facto response column from the first-ever story I wrote for The Collegiate, “Valentine’s Day for single people,” so buckle up, here we go.
Valentine’s Day 2018 is the culmination of a circle story in my life. It started back on Cupid’s Day in 2016 and has turned my life around for the better.
I’ll try to keep the part I already shared short, 2016 was one of the best Valentine’s Days I have had in my now 20 years. My girlfriend at the time put together a scavenger hunt around both of our hometowns (Grand Rapids and Ada), which led to her asking me to our girls’ choice dance, our second to last dance in high school. It was truly incredible and it was one that I will never forget.
We then broke things off that July.
I was hurt, she was my best friend and then she was just gone, completely out of my life. I really did not know what to do with myself – I was lost.
She began her college career at Central Michigan University and I started mine at Grand Rapids Community College and we really did not talk all that much, except for my birthday in October and then New Year’s Eve when our group of friends got together.
My second semester at GRCC, I signed up for Journalism 251, which was one of the best decisions I’ve made during my time as a Raider. I was able to express myself and share that story the next Valentine’s Day which I, like many others, was single for.
I was able to write a column that told my story and shared how to make what could be a miserable day for others more bearable.
The thing about whirlwinds, is you will always come down and things start to clear up. You start to see things with clear eyes and a full heart. I know I did.
So remember at the top of this column I said, “my girlfriend at the time?” About that…
She read the article I wrote about being single on Valentine’s Day and loved it. So that ensuing Friday, and through communication with my brother, who remained close friends with her over time, we had a meaningful conversation for the first time since July 2016. We talked about school, life and our relationship until roughly 4 a.m. and it was worth it. I felt a genuine happiness for the first time in a long time the next day, even while doing chores, I had the biggest smile on my face the whole time.
Over the next few of days, we talked out the problems that plagued our relationship in the past and decided that we wanted to try to make those adjustments work and we got back together not knowing exactly what was going to happen.
That decision was met with concern from those on the outside, family and close friends predominantly. My common response was, “We’ve both matured, so I think it’ll be okay!” And it has been – more than okay since then. I would not want to use superlatives and say everything has gone perfectly, because it hasn’t. What relationship does? But I notice more positives in my life than I do any negatives and that is what makes the whirlwind year exactly that, a whirlwind.
Since February 25, 2017, I have had nothing but the best year of my life. I got to see the Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field for my first trip, which was another unforgettable journey. I later was able to see the Florida Gators rip the figurative and collective hearts out of the Kentucky Wildcats football team in September. I became an editor at The Collegiate over the last summer, covered events and games that I never thought I would. Just last Tuesday, I was accepted to CMU to go to school with my good friends, and be close to my best friend.
This year’s Valentine’s Day, we will unfortunately spend the day apart, but we will spend it on February 25 in a combination of the novelty of Valentine’s Day and the personal significance that day. While she is in Mount Pleasant pursuing her career in therapeutic recreation, I will be spending Valentine’s Day at the media table in Gordon Hunsberger Arena for the GRCC Basketball games as they take on the Glen Oaks Vikings in a Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference matchup.