“What are men to rocks and mountains?”
– Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
As a kid, I was obsessed with boys. If I wasn’t chasing them or pinching them, then I was writing songs and acting out stories about them with my best friend. I dreamt of the day my imaginary boyfriend would become tangible. I would lie in bed before falling asleep, wondering whether I would ever find someone. Boys were my world and I was the definition of a hopeless romantic.
Finally, that day hit. I dated someone in college for nearly three years. I relied on him for everything, yet, half the time I felt completely alone. I was utterly destroyed when things ended, but after some time I got back on my feet. I graduated, went to Africa, got my first teaching job, then enrolled in grad school in Finland. These things wouldn’t have happened were we still together. I may have been happy, but maybe not.
Now, what I worry about before falling asleep isn’t whether I will ever find someone, but what happens when I do. Because I am way too happy being alone…
since I’m not really alone.
Little me would be so confused. It’s not like I am someone who has different men every week or so; In fact, I have none! But, it’s the freedom that comes with being single and that freedom is not something I wish to give up anytime soon.
“With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?”
I can go to sleep whenever I want. I can wake up whenever I want. I can eat whatever I wish to eat and whenever I want to eat it. I can go out or stay in. If I want to jump on a plane and go somewhere, I have nobody that I need to check in with. I can be selfish.
Sure, those in relationships say that they are happy they get to experience all these things with their S.O. and I get it. I was happy too. But as much as you can convince yourself that you aren’t limited, there is always going to be the time you really want to eat at Olive Garden but end up at the Chinese Buffet to satisfy your partner’s cravings, or the trip you really want to go on but your vacation schedules just don’t line up.
“The only thing that shatters dreams is compromise.”
Something that is key in a relationship is compromise. That compromise isn’t something I am willing to make with just anyone. I make it for my friends and family, but even then it’s not something I have to think about in most of my decisions. I compromised myself when I was in a relationship. He became another limb to me, which left me disabled when he was gone. I felt more alone then because I had lost my independence.
Not to sound crazy, but I am more ready to have a child then to be in a relationship. Having worked at an orphanage and day care, I am fully aware of the challenges of parenthood. But, until the child gets older, there is no drama (other than when one baby steals another’s crayon or when baby is hungry) and I would receive the child’s unconditional love.
Supposedly, when you get into a new relationship you lose two friends. I have experienced firsthand being on the losing end of this, and it sucks. I watched as my friend decided she didn’t need anyone else, and realized that’s what I had done as well. What I learned from my breakup is I don’t need someone else to make me whole…my warm bed, coffee, and chocolate fill me just enough.
“To reach a port we must set sail –
Sail, not tie at anchor
Sail, not drift.”
For those of you out there who are tired of constantly being single just realize this: you aren’t with somebody now for a reason. Take the time to do what you want to do, and someone will eventually fit into the mix. Seriously, the world is immense, and there is an excessive amount of people on it. If we all spent our lives just looking for love, progress wouldn’t be made. People need to explore outside, create something, study what they are interested in, eat delicious food, exercise to their heart’s content. Waiting gets us nowhere; wishing for something that we cannot control slows our own progress. Finding the love of your life isn’t going to make your life extraordinary. You will just be like everyone else who finds the one. Sure, marry eventually, but do something great in the meantime. There is no need to seek him out or lower your standards to feel whole. Be whole first, and eventually your lives will overlap.