Singleness Isn't Waiting
You don't have to wait for Mr. Right in order to be happy.
You’ve been waiting for this. You clicked on this link because you, your single and desperate self, need more advice on how to make singleness worthwhile. “What’s wrong with me?” you ask, possibly scarfing chocolate and watching The Notebook. “Why am I still single? I must be doing singleness wrong. Please, O' Internet, tell me how to single.”
We all know there’s an exact science to single. You do all the right things and eventually, you magically bump into The One. Not intimidating at all, right? You have to get the formula exactly right, or else you’ll end up alone forever. You have to do exactly what those lists on Cosmopolitan and Pinterest blogs tell you to do. You have to read all those Open Letters on the Internet so you know exactly what is wrong with boys who won’t ask you out, girls who always say no, and how to be wonderfully single in the most perfect way possible.
You could be 15 or 55. Singleness can hurt sometimes. Because (surprise) it’s kinda lonely. If you’re in your twenties like me, everyone and their mother are getting married (well, hopefully their mother is already married). Or they’re in steady relationships — those week-long high-school flings are (most likely) a thing of the past. And you, the single person, feel like you’ve been left in the dust.
In fact, I was talking about marriage to some friends awhile back, poking fun at the fact that I have “plenty of time” to plan my wedding, and my friend told me, “Yeah, marriage usually requires a boyfriend first.”
I’m not going to pretend that didn’t hurt. This friend is in a steady relationship. Several of my friends are. (Don’t worry. This post isn’t going to be me complaining about Singleness. My complaining begins and ends here.) That comment wasn’t said to hurt me, but it kinda got me. It caught me by surprise and made me aware of something I didn’t like thinking about — I’m alone. (“You’re not alone!” says people. “You have all these friends!” Not the same thing. Sorry, it’s not. Okay. Complaining over.)
So here you are, single as you are. I’m not writing an “Open Letter to Single People” or an “Embrace Your Singleness” because most people who write that junk aren’t single anymore. And they forget that it can hurt a lot. Sometimes it was eviscerating. (Am I complaining again? I’m complaining again. Sorry.)
So singleness, am I right? There’s definitely a single trope that we’re all aware of. There’s actually a couple. In the movies, we’re the ugly friend. Or we’re the frenemy or nasty person, who’s usually blond. We’re the nerdy, awkward ones. We’re not the Disney princess. We are the cute, fuzzy animal that accompanies her in her musical numbers. Or the second-string princess, like that girl in The Princess and the Frog. You know, not Tiana, but the other one. The one whose name we don’t remember because she wasn’t Tiana.
Am I complaining again? I’m complaining again. Sorry.
You’re just waiting for that magical movie moment where you run into a handsome/beautiful stranger and your life changes forever. Where the camera zooms in on their dilated eyes and then pans to your hands accidentally touching as you both reach to pick up whatever you dropped (because you inevitably dropped something). Because that’s what life has built up to, right? That magical turning point where you finally get your happy ending?!
But that’s not how it works. When you meet someone cute, there’s no magnetizing force that draws you together. At least there hasn’t been yet (because according to all your friends, “you just haven’t found the right person yet,” they say in a sympathetic voice. Am I complaining again?) You just kinda stand there awkwardly and stare at them and imagine what it might be like to say hi to them. But it never happens. And you may or may not beat yourself up for it.
Singleness is a strange monster. One day you can be so freaking psyched that you’re single, the next you can be downright sad. Maybe it’s because (taken) people tell you “Being Single is fun!!!” And you believe them, but you also know that there are parts of it that are very not fun. Your taken friend is not wrong. Being single is fun sometimes. Friday night “watch (and eat)-whatever-the-heck-I-want” time is a real thing for me and I love it.
Being single is also not fun sometimes.
Because sometimes you come across a moment where you stand there and think, Gosh. I wish someone was here to experience this with me. And not just anyone. But someone. You know what I mean?
So, I’m not going to tell you anything new about being single. I’m not going to pretend I’m some sage who knows everything about singlehood (why the heck is that a word?!) because I spent six months in the Himalayas with a monk walking barefoot on hot coals or whatever (Do people blog about that? They probably do). I’m not going to drop a vague truth bomb on you (“You have to go find yourself first before you find someone else.”) I’m just going to say something that you can take or leave.
You just have to be okay with it.
You don’t have to be “Yay! I’m single and ready to mingle! ;D” or “I’m gonna die alone! DX” Despite what people/media/culture might tell you. You don’t have to think that just because you’re single, you need to be wild and crazy and party all of the time. You don’t have to think that you’re the odd one out, the weird nerd who can barely talk to a guy/chick. But you do have to be okay with it. Because if you’re not, it’s that much more miserable.
“It’s not your fault you’re single!” some well-meaning people say.
“Just find someone already! You’re not trying!” others say, especially when you hit your 30s.
Who are you supposed to listen to then? Is it your fault, or isn’t it? I’m not trying to complain or down-put people who say these things, but these things hit single people in very specific places in their heart. Very raw places that a lot of people have poked at. Something they might occasionally poke at too. But it’s a place that’s very vulnerable and very real. A feeling that they’re not enough. That dreaded feeling that “something’s wrong” with them.
I’m gonna say it again: You just have to be okay with it. I’m not going to try to begin to understand or explain away the pain that some single people endure almost every day. I know it can hurt a lot and be alienating and isolating. I’m not going to stand up on a soapbox and tell you, “If you’re single, this is how you should live. Don’t waste these years.” Whatever that’s supposed to mean.
The only way you could waste your singleness (I am so fed up with these words and their stupid prefixes) is by not living at all. Like becoming a hermit or something, unless that’s what you really want to do. I wouldn’t blame you. I’m surprised I didn’t move to Iceland after graduating high school. Sometimes the drama just reaches a peak and you need to get away.
So just live. And be okay with where you’re at. You don’t have to be overly happy about it, but neither do you have to be overly sad. You can be right smack-dab in the middle, and that’s okay. You just have to keep waking up every morning and finding new things that excite you, that ignite your passions. I’m not saying that that’s the formula for “finding someone.” But that is the formula for living, whether you’re with someone or not.
I know it hurts. I know there are fun parts and there are stupid parts. I know people say stuff about fish in the sea and “your time will come.” I know there’s that spot in your heart that you can’t quite explain, but that’s definitely there and feels raw.
But your life doesn’t revolve around that magical moment where you bump into Mr./Mrs. Right in an extremely unconventional way. You’re not a second-string princess. You’re not a weirdo. Nothing’s wrong with you.
Just keep living that awesome life of yours. And live happily ever after, wherever you end up.