Travis Tucker. A name straight out of a country song. We dated for a brief couple of months about 3 years ago. We met a few weeks after I broke up with my first and only serious boyfriend. I had been the one to end things, so I was excited to be single again and back on the dating scene, especially in MENver, Colorado.
There were sparks from the moment we first exchanged messages on a dating app. Our first date is still one of the best I’ve ever had. I fell for him so hard and so fast that it scared me. He was everything I had ever wanted and exactly who I felt I didn’t deserve. Tall. Athletic. Smart. Compassionate. Adventurous. Sincere. And oh my god so funny. He made me laugh so much, and I was delighted any time I got a laugh out of him in return.
I admired Travis, and I respected him. Being around him made me want to be better. But I wasn’t ready to be better yet, and I think he knew that long before I did. But looking back on who I was then, and some of the conversations we had, I think he would be proud of who I’ve become.
I’ve taken risks. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve tried new things. I’ve figured out what I like and what I don’t. What I’ll tolerate and what I won’t. I’ve worked hard, and it hasn’t always worked out. I’ve given myself time. I’ve given myself permission to not try so hard. I’ve grown more confident, and a little less apologetic.
I remember when we broke up it was nearing his 30th birthday and I remember his frantic feelings of not having enough to show for himself, not measuring up to his Ivy League peers, of simply not being enough. I couldn’t understand how someone so perfect in my eyes could feel this way, but as I get closer to 30 myself, I have a better understanding of those feelings of anxiousness, and the dread of falling short of the status quo.
I remember how crystal clear his vision was for the future, regardless of what anyone else thought. He didn’t have it all figured out, but he knew what would make him happy. I remember the frustration he felt while overcoming one obstacle after another, especially when no one seemed to understand where he was headed, including myself.
I was devastated after we broke up, even though it had only been a fleeting few months together. I felt as though I had lost something special, and it was because I was the one who didn’t measure up. Looking back, I still agree with both of those statements. I look back and see how I was a little too much, how I needed too much, and even as he tried to create space for both of us to breathe, I clung to him tighter. Once things ended all of the grief and sadness and anxiety of two monumental breakups sent me into a spiral, and ultimately that chaos led me to India, and everything changed.
On the final day of a 10 day silent Vipassana meditation course, a day before starting my journey home, I felt compelled to reach out to him. I wanted to share with him the tremendous growth that I had just experienced, in the hopes that maybe the timing just hadn’t been right for us. But it didn’t take long to find out that he had followed his dream, and succeeded. And he found someone to follow that dream with him. Selfishly, I was sad for a moment. But mostly I felt proud and hopeful. I smiled, and put the phone down. Seventeen months later and life has more questions than ever, but I’m finally I’m starting to feel proud of me too.
Thinking of you, Travis Tucker