“the list”

Keepers of wisdom, knowledge, and experience have often given me the same piece of advice as I have journeyed along in life:

Know yourself enough to know what you desire in another human being.

Lately, I’ve been dreaming, thinking, and yearning for another person to share my life with. I know I’m not alone in this desire; however, saying this aloud is rather, well, new for me.

For a long time in my life, I thought that marriage was a farce. I suppose that’s being a bit harsh, however, divorce has surrounded my life and I never, never, never want to go through that again.

I am not embarrassed to admit that commitment has often freaked me out.

Eventually, though, my heart has softened towards the idea of a life-long partnership. I suppose falling in love helps the cause. Once you have a taste of what love looks, feels, and is like, it’s hard not to desire this as a forever-kind-of-thing. Moreover, I’ve tasted, literally so much beauty, adventure, and experiences in life – but have done so alone. Frankly, I want to keep exploring all that life has to offer; yet, what sweetness it would be to share this.

I don’t think relationships (or marriage) make us whole. Definitely not. I’ve lived long enough as a strong, single, independent woman to know that’s not true. I’m a Christian, too, which matters because I so happen to believe that my wholeness comes from a deeper purpose altogether. Still, I think God created community for a very particular reason.

Our lives are meant to be shared. Among friends, among families, and also between life partners.

I’ve halfheartedly tried dating websites. I have taken part in church groups, sports leagues, and young leaders’ networking groups in hopes of stumbling upon the right person at the right time.

Yet, I have had to return to the advice given to me by so many. I’ve had to do a lot of “inner work” so that I can actually have my eyes open to who I am, and in turn, what I want. Counseling has helped, but so has re-configuring my own goals, time, and priorities. Preparing oneself to adequately engage in any relationships takes a lot of work. I don’t think people talk about this very much – but I think it’s really, really important.

So, I recently made a list of qualities that I am looking for in another person.

That’s a fun exercise, if for nothing else to see what is important to you.If you have never done this, I encourage you to do so.

I included things like, “will challenge me” and “loves to travel” and also qualities such as, “hopeful” and “easy to talk to.” The list is yours. It’s about identifying the qualities, characteristics, and attitudes you desire in a partner. It’s not an inflexible check-list; I don’t expect that in order to spend my life with someone that they have to have every bullet point. But, it’s a good compass in a map of wonder, I think.

In addition to “the list”, I also wrote a poem. It’s about what I want in a person. What I hope for. What I pray for. In some weird tension of waiting and searching, I have my eyes open to whatever may come my way.

“What Is It That I Want”

Never ending maps as mere compasses illustrating our boundless exploration –

The freedom of the sunshine;

The liberation of the pen.


Stories are made and told;

Inspirations are defined as boldness is revealed.

You aren’t who I thought you were.


Creating of community sparks magic.

In wilderness, we go together and find treasured jewels.

Coffee lines our books and we ask,

“What are we all doing here?”


My dear, existential, lover, we share this.

Explore this, experience this, our eyes are

Open to the divine of it all.


Fear is quelled; kindness triumphs

And the possibility of a better society is





By our bootstraps, we pull up this kind of place –

We are the keepers, haven’t you heard?

Stewards in God’s delectable majesty.

Companions in the offerings of grace.


I dream for peace, for an unscalable love.

I imagine stories bursting forth from the rocks below –


Behold! A tapestry of hope.

Let us rejoice.

Categories: relationshipsTags: , , , , , ,

Heather Newell Oglesby

Hi! I'm Heather. I am a writer and counselor in-training. I share stories so we can keep the magic of being human alive. I spend a great deal of time going on long walks with my wife, rollerblading, learning, and traveling to find new adventures. By day, I work as an Education and Employment Specialist for Jefferson Center for Mental Health, working with adolescents who have experienced their first episode of psychosis. A Colorado native, I love dark-roasted coffee, sunshine, and succulents. Enthusiasm, passion, and possibility: that's me at my best.

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