I am single.
Now, if we were face-to-face, you'd be giving me that sad, pathetic, half-smile that says, "oh, you poor thing, thirty-three and single -- you'll find someone soon." The fact is, I am single and I am more than alright with it.
For the many years before I met my last boyfriend I was single. I've never been one to jump from guy to guy. In that time, I managed to get sober, clean up my life, sign two book deals and hold down a full time job, all the time while balancing a wonderful group of supportive friends and an ever expanding family. I truly had everything. Everything that is, except for a boyfriend. Modern television shows, films and sad love songs have programmed us to believe that we are all better off with a mate. For many of us this is true. Many people believe that their lives are not complete until they find their significant other, cohabitate, marry and have children (you know who these people are - we are all friends with some form of them on Facebook.) Even as children of a certain generation, the only seemingly happy, successful, single people many of us had to look up to were Mary Tyler Moore or Murphy Brown. Relationships center around everything we do - from the people we associate ourselves with, to the television shows we watch and the products advertisers want us to buy. Relationships are everywhere. And so, after many years of being single, I found the love of my life. For three years, we lived together, raised a cat, moved to California and back together and then broke up. It was devastating. I wasn't devastated because I was single again. I was devastated that I had lost the love of my life through a series of events that could have been prevented, thus saving our relationship.
Naturally, my friends, family and therapist have all encouraged me to move on by seeking the comfort of another and I have protested at every turn. Yes, I truly believe that my ex is the love of my life. I had never fully given myself to anyone before, nor had I sacrificed so much for a single person before I met him, so the breakup has been tough. But I refuse to blindly jump into the arms of another because "being in a new relationship will help me forget about the old one" or "getting over someone involves getting under someone else." I have found that being single is actually really fucking awesome (going through a horrible breakup is not, but that's an entirely different story. I'm calling bullshit on anyone who says "everything happens for a reason." It doesn't.)
Being single is not going to kill you. Being single is not going to ruin your life. Being single is not the worst thing that has ever happened to you. Being single does not make you a leper. It's quite the contrary, in fact. Being single makes you a better person. I know if you and I were face-to-face, you'd be giving me that sad eye roll again, but hear me out. I've always felt that people who bounce from relationship to relationship are shallow. These people never allow themselves the time for them to get to know who they are as people. They are constantly tied down to someone else and that next relationship becomes their identity, whereas people who take time between relationships get to know who they are, what they like and how to survive in this world solo. Single life is actually not terrible at all, in fact, it's quite rewarding and shall I say for some of us *gasp* the adult thing to do.
Now, I'm not saying relationships are bad and we should all be single forever - quite the opposite. I do, however, feel we need to break down the stigmas around what it is to be single. Let's face it, being single has many, many perks. First off, you can do whatever the fuck you want without having to check someone else's schedule. If your girlfriends want to do a weekend in Vegas, you don't have to worry about that coinciding with a trip to your horrible in-laws in Milwaukee. You just go and have fun. Fuck Milwaukee! You can eat when you want, you can go to sleep when you want, you can fuck whoever you want, the list goes on and on. Most importantly, being single gives you're the opportunity to evaluate who you are, what you like and what you want to be. Being in a relationship is great and has its many benefits, but there is something to be said about the chosen few who choose to embrace their single time in this world, for however long it may last. These aren't the guys or girls crying into their martinis alone at a bar or desperately spending their Saturday nights speed-dating, these are the guys and girls who are out connecting with their friends and forging close relationships with their families, discovering their hidden talents, taking the time to get to know themselves better and finding the true love within themselves that will make their love for the next person (should they come along) even more exciting.
So you can chose to give me that sad "oh, poor baby, you're still single" look. Go ahead and give it to me. I don't mind it. For a country with such a high divorce rate, we celebrate marriages as if they're as important as getting a Master's degree or curing cancer (and for some people, they truly are.) But remember, Hitler was in a long term relationship and he was a real son of a bitch. Anyone can be in a relationship. But only a few brave souls can truly be comfortable being single and embracing who they are without having someone beside them telling them how great they are all the time. Being single makes you stronger (because let's face it, dating is a full-time job and trying to navigate your way around Tinder is about as difficult and confusing as putting together a piece of furniture from IKEA) because it allows you the time to find the love within yourself. Think of all of the time you save having to worry about what someone else thinks of you or pleasing someone else when you can worry about how you feel and making yourself happy and a better person. So the next time someone frowns upon your fabulous single behavior, just remember: you're not going home to a group of screaming children and a husband who doesn't pay attention to you anymore. Because you are way too fabulous for that life. So maybe sometimes, it's the single people who should be giving that sad, half smile "I'm so sorry for you" look after all.