By Justin Hernandez
Originally published on Advocate.com March 14 2014 3:30 PM ET
Our 20s are an interesting time. It’s the decade where we get that first taste of freedom that comes with being an adult. We enter this new phase of life bright-eyed, somewhat naive, and filled with optimism. And even though there are endless choices and possibilities, we devote a lot of time to trying to figure it all out. At least that’s how I remember it, but perhaps it might be better to hear it from someone who is still in his 20s.
Rick contacted me on Twitter after he read last week’s profile piece "Single, Fun, Fit, and 50," and he offered to share his thoughts about his search for love. What happens when a 20-something starts to fine-tune what he is looking for in a relationship? As he explores his options, the answer might be directly in front of him.
What I’m looking for might be right in front of my face, but I’m just not sure. Being single for the past eight years, I’ve told myself that I want to find my soul mate. That special person who I think of even as he is lying right next to me; who I can communicate with by not saying anything and just by looking into his eyes. The guy who holds me to let me know I’m not alone, the one who makes me feel safe, and the special person who is on my team, joined by each other’s love.
I feel like it’s been really hard to find this man, even though, as I alluded before, he might be right in front of me … we’ll get more into that later.
Being in my late 20s, it seems like everyone around my age group is more interested in what they see. More emphasis is put on having a ripped body than a ripe personality. Guys spend much of their free time in the gym — and the remainder of their free time trying to be “seen” in the bar scene. And even while out in a social setting such as a bar, everyone’s eyes seem to be on their phones checking out who’s hot on apps like Grindr or Scruff.
While I work in social media and find it to be an amazingly powerful tool, it seems like so many in my generation have become so reliant on it that they have become socially inept. Trying to get someone to look up, have a conversation, and not look back down at their phone every few minutes seems impossible! Not to mention just finding a guy with similar interests, who has a somewhat stable job, background, and living situation, seems to be yet another challenge.
As thirty gets closer each year, I’ve realized that I’ve worked hard to grow into my own skin and now really want to settle down with someone. Building a family and a life with that “one” is very important to me, and I find myself thinking about it a lot. It may be because my family threw me out of the house after college because I was gay, and for a very long time, it was just me. While I have made amends with all of my family who are now wonderful supporters of me, those years without them make me yearn even more to start a family of my own.
I think I’m ready to give of myself to someone special. I want to be someone’s husband, a father, and also be a role model for all of the young gay Latino boys out there to give them hope. I want them to know that they can do anything, and can overcome their struggles and achieve great success.
I want to travel with my future husband. I want to do unknown and challenging things with him, and simply wake up next to him every day and enjoy all that life has to offer together. As I get past the part of my 20s where I felt like sex was all that drove things, I’m now ready to find that one.
Interestingly, I’ve had the privilege of having someone in my life who I consider to be a true best friend. I met this guy when I started college, and he has stood by me to this day. He has been the most giving, passionate person I have ever known. He would climb mountains for me, and I believe I would do the same for him.
Even though we are friends, I wouldn’t set aside the idea of spending my life with him. As I dream of finding that “one” who will sweep me off my feet, I wonder if my best friend could do just that, but we’re not giving each other the chance.
Whoever the “one” might be — whether he’s already right in front of my face, or if I haven’t met him yet — I am ready for him. Until then, all I can do is just keep being me … loving, living, and looking.
JUSTIN HERNANDEZ writes about sex, dating, and relationships for The Advocate and Gay.net. Follow him on Twitter @HernandezJustin.