How to Stay Zen if You're Single at the Beginning of the Year
Use these tips long after the ball drops
I don't want to admit it, but I grit my teeth when I meet new couples around the holidays. I force a smile around the punch bowl. I dump an imaginary vat of eggnog onto their blow-dried heads of hair.
I continue listening to their "meet cute" stories. I smile like a man possessed as they kiss beneath the wreaths of holly. "Did you know Mistletoe is actually Germanic?" one of them inevitably offers. "Tell me more, Brian!" as I crank up the oven to end my suffering.
The hostility toward cuffing season is entirely my own doing. You have to admit, though, there's a lot of people pairing up, right?
Yes, couples are forming all around you this winter. Yes, it takes a mature person to not be envious of their success. No, you may not have a date for the party you're headed to, but by god, you're putting yourself out there anyway like a turkey waiting to be stuffed.
Put down the stuffing, friend. It's New Year's Eve and it isn't worth the calories.
Read on for how to practice gratitude amidst the craziness of coupledom. A declaration on getting down with yourself at the start of year three of the pandemic.
1. Embrace it
For now, single is what you are. No, it does not define you, but it is part of you and all parts deserve a closer look.
Maybe someone left you to put you back on the single map. Maybe you were the one who called it off - this carries with it a different kind of weight.
Whatever you went through to arrive at where you are, acknowledge it and breathe it in. There's power and passion in embodying what you're going through, not rejecting it. It's one of the most contagious attitudes you can ever put on display.
Yes, you are single, and you may even be frustrated because of that, but that's not all you are.
You deserve to own it, so you can dive into a deeper sense of self long before you commit to someone again.
2. Act on it
There's an "x-factor" to not being paired up at the moment that gets better with age, too. You've felt it, I imagine. It's feeling most alive when you're alone in a crowded room.
It's intriguing, a layer of mystery. It's all those single friends that rub off on you with their fluidity, endless charm, and inextinguishable social graces.
How are they able to harness such energy in a world that puts them down? Always up for a challenge, will you refuse to give up and give in, as well?
My grandmother had an expression that said, Sit or stand, but don't wobble. If you're unpaired, move forward with it, so you can discover something challenging, exciting and new if you choose to make it an adventure.
3. Take a break from social media
I don't think much needs to be said on this one except for (insert Schwarzenegger impression) "Do it! Do it now!" Sometimes we get so trapped in the cycle of device addiction, we don't realize we are fueling a "partner search" just to fit in with the dozens of photos we interact with every day.
We click on them because we like them. We like them because they make us believe that online perfection exists in real life.
Give yourself a break from this comparison syndrome while you're out there existing on your own.
Power off your devices and start living your life. For baby steps, try deleting Instagram and TikTok for an entire weekend.
4. Go outside and meet people
This is something I return to because it's easy to practice, but so difficult to maintain. Both men and women can take part in it. What's required is an attitude of openness and presence.
Take some inspiration from Step 2 and go outside when you're feeling single. If you're a flirt like me, have meaningful interactions that can go places at a time when no one looks each other in the eye.
To the men specifically, you should know that thousands of women are going on record saying they'd prefer to meet a guy offline if the moment feels right.
Why not set yourself up for the perfect moment? I truly believe any single person is doing themselves a disservice by either not approaching or not being open to being approached.
5. Also…get yourself a "weird phase"
In the end, we both know you don't need anyone. What makes relationships so beautiful is when we are chosen and pursued by somebody out of millions of other independent men and women.
I'd like to invite you to sit with that a while if you're a single person reading this. It takes some pressure off, I think, which is one of the main points of life anyway.
Lean into your freedom and get crazy for a while if that's helpful. Grow your hair out (Hello, quarantine.) and change your clothes. Don't be afraid to become someone you may have run from in the past.
Do something that causes you to disappear and make some adult mistakes. While you're gone, learn how to give to the world without any expectation.
Break something, make something, just don't return until you have your own back. Everyone wants a love story. How about getting out of the way and letting yours write itself?
All this and more is waiting for you within singlehood. Not in a chapel, across the aisle, or even on a dating app you're swiping through on your way to a rockin' Valentine's party.
As for me, I'll be dwelling on this while I RSVP for yet another wedding in the summer sunshine of Los Angeles.
Paired up or not, I'll see you out there. Now hug a couple and start celebrating.