“I’m single because I was born that way.” ~ Mae West
If the only problem in your life is that you’re single, the total number of problems in your life is zero. I want an iMac, I think it would be lovely to own an iMac, but the fact that I don’t doesn’t amount to a problem that needs to be solved.
I have a friend who disagrees with me about this. To the extent that he believes that we shouldn’t have Valentines Day because it makes single people who are lonely, miserable. I’m not sure I’m entirely sold on the point of celebrating February 14th myself, but I find it interesting that this same person sees no problem with Mother’s and Father’s Day, even though those are torture for people who were parents until their child died, or for those who are unable to conceive.
Single people are accorded a special status for their supposed misery in our culture, which I find odd considering that to be in a happy relationship is not our default state.
That isn’t to say that I don’t think single people shouldn’t look for a relationship if they want to be in one. What saddens me is that so many people seem to live whole chunks of their lives as though they were provisional. I know so many people who are postponing buying a house or going travelling, or putting some other big dream on hold, until they ‘meet someone’. Even though there are no guarantees that they will, or that if they do, that person will share their dreams and want to fulfill them.
Now, I can see how some people might feel that those experiences will be better if they are shared with someone they’re in love with. But the risk of ending up on my death-bed regretting that I, not only never met ‘the one’, but never did any of the other great things that I wanted because I was too busy waiting for ‘the one’ to show up, terrifies me.
Also, if you’re going to put off doing anything good until you’ve met someone, what do you plan to talk to them about when you do? How you had all these amazing hopes and plans, but that you were waiting until you met them to put them into action because you just knew that then everything would be perfect? Way to pile on the pressure.
Life is imperfect. But that’s no reason to not participate, to not start living it right now.
If you’re feeling lonely, pick up the phone and talk to somebody. Better yet, go to somewhere there are people, lots of people.
You should go climb a mountain, ride a camel, volunteer at an animal shelter, coach a kids sports team, hop on a flight to Tokyo, or have a box set marathon. Whatever you do, go out there and build a life so amazing and adventurous, that your stories wow everyone you meet. Until you find that, instead of settling for the very next person you come across, and no matter how they treat you, it’d take someone equally brilliant for you to want to share the fabulous world that you’ve built for yourself, all on your own.
Not convinced? If you really can’t bear spending time alone – reinvent yourself. This is the best possible opportunity for you to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.
After all, a partner won’t take too kindly to their loved one changing completely when they’ve already invested in the person you were when you met them. Yet, if you can’t stand to spend extended periods of time in your own company you hardly have the right to expect that anyone else should want to either.
Like I said before, I’m not suggesting that anybody should not want a relationship, but for now, just try embracing the single life – because for the time being, it’s the only one you’ve got.