February 9

5 Reasons Being Single Doesn’t Totally Suck

WINE

In 32 years, I have not celebrated ‘Valentine’s Day’, save for the bags of Hershey Kisses and trinkets my Mom would give me when I was younger (thank you Mom). I have yet to have someone Cho-Cho-Choose me.

As of this moment, I have been single for nearly nine years.

Not that I’m counting or anything, but that’s:

3,111 days
444 weeks and 3 days
74,664 hours
4,479,840 minutes
268,790,4000 seconds

Vday3(Thank you Google!)

While there are plenty of folks that don’t give a flying f*** about V-Day, there are always those that always feel a little bit ‘singled out’ while walking the grocery store aisles littered with love. It is also possible to feel both, simultaneously. I know I do at times.

As much as I would love to collide shopping carts with my life partner, I’m also an advocate of spending time single. Over the years, I’ve learned more about myself than some do in a life time. It hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination, however there are some life lessons to learn that one should never live without.

If you are sick of seeing red and feeling blue, here are five reasons why being single isn’t totally terrible…

1. Because personal happiness should never be contingent on whether or not you have someone in your life. Finding your own source of happiness is key. Figure out what floats your boat and go do it. I know too many people that are only happy if they are in a relationship. Too many people that place their own value on whether or not they are coupled up. We all end up alone at some point in our lives, if you don’t know how to be happy with the person you are with (yourself), life is going to be a very shitty time for you when it happens. If you don’t want to be with you, why would anyone else want to? Being single is the opportunity to develop the ultimate relationship – with yourself.

VDay12. Relationships are a big deal. When the right one comes along – you hope it is for life. At least I do. Finding a good relationship is life is like finding a good job. There’s always going to be those soul sucking crap jobs in between, and it may take you years to find the one that resonates with you. Do you really want to be stuck at a job you hate for the rest of your life? Gross. There’s always going to be those people stuck in those crap jobs, because there’s always people who are willing to settle out of fear of not being able to pay their bills, much like those who settle out of fear of being alone. Do you really want to be stuck with someone for the rest of your life that you can just barely tolerate? Don’t settle. There’s far too many people stuck in relationships they aren’t happy with – if you’re single, you don’t have this problem. The options are wide open, my loves.

3. This one is for the group of singles that are kid free. There are a lot of folks that are happily married and enjoy the family life (I salute you)… but if you are like me, in your 30s and have yet to tie the knot and pop out a few babies, don’t dwell. Yes, there are some who feel their life calling is to be parents. I’m not one of them, which is a good thing, because judging by the quality of dates I’ve been on in the last near-decade, I suspect it may last another nine years and by that time I’ll be near menopausal. However, if your biological clock is ticking and it’s starting to look bleak – realize there are many ways to find fulfillment in life that don’t always involve kids. Until the time is right, which may or may not happen, find a way to leave your own legacy. Because you know what is sweeter than the sound of a baby crying and more entertaining than dodging poop? The ability to do whatever the f*ck you want, when you want.

4. V-Day is a commercial holiday designed to take your money. Nothing more than a visit from Saint Valentine, the Patron Saint of overpriced crap used to show your unwavering affection. The sentiment is nice, but love should be shared every day. We shouldn’t need a reminder. If you find yourself single on V-Day – don’t sweat it. Think of the dollars you are saving in our unfortunate economy. Which brings me to my next point.

WINE5. More wine. Yes, being single means you don’t have to share with anyone if you don’t want to. Take all those dollars you just saved and go by yourself a bottle box of liquid candy and enjoy (responsibly). Toast yourself and dream up all the things you want to attract into your life. Better yet, go do them.

See, it’s not so bad, is it?

Having said that, being single definitely does have its pit-falls at times. Craving human connection and closeness is natural. I’ve longed for it daily. How cool would it be to have someone you connect with on every level? Pretty neat, I’d imagine. But that being said, there is nothing that trumps loving yourself unconditionally first and foremost – essential to attracting someone who will do just the same. Enjoy your freedom while you have it, even if it lasts nine romance-less years. Being single can either be really shitty, or pretty damn amazing – it’s all on how you look at it.

Oh and as a side note – I graciously accept wine, chocolates (great for PMS week), flowers and dinners. “He” is out there somewhere… until then, I will treat myself.

But seriously, man… hurry the hell up, would ya?!

I’M WAITING PATIENTLY AND MY WRINKLES ARE NOT!

Vday2

 

 

 

April 27

Staying Together for the Children (and why I think it’s dumb)

“We’re staying together for the children.”

 

I’m sure I’ll ruffle a few feathers here, but I have a pretty strong opinion about this and lately I’ve been crossing paths with a lot of men and women in this very position.

I can understand the good intentions and I can also understand a parent’s desire to place their children’s needs ahead of their own, naturally. And all my respect to the parents who want to set a good example for their children and provide them a stable, loving home.

But is it?

I know a lot of unhappily married folks – as I am sure we all do. Married couples that are no longer in love, yet they go through the daily motions simply because that’s ‘the only choice’.

But it boggles my mind every time I hear it.

“For the children.”

Society tells us that we have to have two parents and live under the same roof to be considered a ‘family’. Most parents think if they actually care about their own happiness as well, their children will grow up to be scorned for life. Some children are also taught that if they don’t have a mommy and a daddy that live together – they aren’t normal.

I think it’s completely ridiculous.

Some parents are pretty darn good at disguising unhappiness. But kids aren’t stupid. They can detect tension. They can detect unhappiness. And even if the parents aren’t fighting, they know when something isn’t right.

I know, I was one of them.

What does staying together for the children really say?

It says it’s okay to be unhappy. It’s okay to not value yourself enough to find your true happiness. It’s okay to settle. It’s okay to live in perpetual misery.

One might argue that it teaches ‘commitment’ – but why does commitment have to be confined to four walls and a roof?

And given that we tell children, “you deserve to be happy”, isn’t that kind of hypocritical?

Should we not then, be leading by example?

In my opinion, what we should really be teaching our children is that a true family doesn’t depend on marital status.

A ‘family’ will be committed to each other and love each other just the same no matter how many roofs they live under.

Unconditional love.

THAT is family.

My parents (whom I love more than anything) separated when I was in my twenties. Growing up though, I knew that even though they did love each other – they weren’t ‘in love’. And I can say with honesty, I have never once felt any less loved because we weren’t contained under the same roof.

And yes, most parents ‘stick it out’ until the children are older, have the ability to understand, won’t be effected ‘as much’. Understandable, but as an adult now seeking to find my own happiness – I can’t help but feel my own sense of guilt. Perhaps had they not ‘stayed together for the children’, they would have had many more opportunities to find their true happiness a long time ago.

Looking back, had I been a child – I would have got through it. Personally, I don’t think a short time of discomfort should be set aside in exchange for years of unhappiness. Life is too short, but that’s just me.

Now, I don’t believe divorce should be an easy solution either, and obviously comes with it’s own negatives. But, in the long run… just as parents want their children to be happy – children want their parents to be happy.

Unhappy parents = unhappy children.

If we want our children to focus on their happiness as they grow older, we have to do the same. The happier you are – the more love you have to give. And what’s wrong with that?

If it’s handled with maturity and dignity – separating for the children can be the best thing ever.

April 19

Toilet Seats and Independence

There are many joys of being single. In the last five years of flying solo I’ve learned a great deal about myself, the art of self confidence, self reliance and self motivation.  Not only that, I have never really had anyone to answer to, I can take up the entire bed, shave my legs whenever I feel like it and I never have to remind anyone to put the toilet seat down.

While I would recommend to everyone to take time to get to know themselves, there are some definite draw backs to being single for a lengthy period of time – other than the very near reclamation of virginity.

Over-independence.

Not that I think being too independant is a bad thing – it’s the challenge of finding other like minded individuals that you’re both (A) attracted to, (B) have intellect and (C) put the toilet seat down.

It can get to be a real pain in the ass. No pun intended.

Don’t get me wrong, hanging out with yourself is awesome. But there are times when it would be nice to have someone to share a few things with. For example, I want to go skydiving for my 30th birthday and it would be pretty sweet to share that kind of experience. I wouldn’t mind having someone randomly to do shit with – like road trips, camp trips and other what-nots here and there. I also wouldn’t mind un-reclaiming my near-reclaimed virginity while gravity is still working with me and not against me.

Having said that – I don’t want to have someone there ALL THE TIME. Not only that, the free time that I do have at this stage in my life is pretty limited and whomever is going to take it up, has to be pretty awesome.

I prefer men that have their own things going on. Sadly, there are not that many men – at least that I’ve met – that understand an overly-independent person’s concept of space.

So, on behalf of all happily single people out there – WE ARE OVER INDEPENDENT AND LIKE OUR SPACE.

This certainly doesn’t speak for all men – but mainly for those I’ve been meeting recently. Normally, most I meet – at first glance, seem to understand independence, and even pride themselves on their own.

Then, before you know it… it’s:

“What are you doing today?”
“What are you doing tonight?”
“What are you doing now?”
“How about now?”
“What are you doing tomorrow?”
“Or how about now?”
“Now?”
“Do you miss me yet?”
“Make time for me, pleeeease.”

Now, this might be suitable for the relationship-y serial dating type of folks. But for those of us who suffer from over-independence, there is no bigger annoyance than someone who wants and needs your time ALL THE TIME.

The only time I want to be completely smothered by a man is un-reclaiming my nearly-reclaimed virginity.

March 26

He’ll Never Be My Everything

One of the reasons I seem to have trouble finding a ‘relationship’ or getting into one – hell, even finding a date for that matter – is because I don’t believe in the ‘conventional’ relationship.

The dynamics of the ‘relationship’ are changing – as some people are now more focused on their own personal goals and choosing to stay single later on into life – but the vast majority of people I meet still have a pretty narrow view on what it means to be ‘in a relationship’.

Man and woman meet. Man and woman fall in love. Man and woman spend thousands of dollars on a piece of paper that says, “I love you”. Man and woman buy house. Man and woman make babies. Man and woman do the same 9-5 thing for the next 40 some odd years. Man and woman move to new home  for more ‘mature’ people. Aforementioned children are now changing man and woman’s diapers.

(And if you’re not part of the 50% that make it this far, you’re probably part of the 50% that pay a few more thousand just to have that piece of paper destroyed so you can start all over again. Rest assured though, someone will still be changing your diapers.)

Blech.

I’d have a more fun taking up knitting and adopting 40 cats – and I don’t even like cats. However, if I put some serious effort into it – my knitting would keep me warm at night.

Okay, I am exaggerating (very mildly), and I know it can be – and is – much more fulfilling and exciting that that. But that scenario, defined by society, is the typical life process of two people (in a nutshell). I won’t argue that complacency is the right thing for some, nor do I have anything against those who do it.

But it’s not for me.

And I don’t really believe in that whole “this is my other half” crap. Last time I checked, I was a whole person.

In my opinion, my kind of relationship is when two wholes come together and forge a dynamic duo – full of love-filled super powers.

Personally, I have a laundry list of goals. I want to own my own business. I want to travel. I want to write a book. Then I want to travel some more. I’d like to pursue my interest in philanthropy. I want to go mountain climbing. Sky diving. Horse back riding in the desert. I want to see and do shit. Lots of it. Maybe there will be a kid or two in there somewhere – but there are parts of my life I want to live before giving life. And I’d like to share those experiences with someone.

I’m not saying that being in a relationship hinders any of those things. It’s finding the right kind of person that has the same kind of mind frame as me that’s been the biggest challenge. The kind of person that can appreciate the present moment and doesn’t put a time stamp on so-called milestones just because ‘society said we should’. Society has this standard that that’s what people my age do – get married, pop out babies, and become another cog in the wheel of the proverbial rat race to get out of debt and pay down the mortgage.

Once again, blech.

Most of the men I have met recently tell me they want to get married and have kids. They want their ‘other half’, they want to feel ‘complete’, and they want a woman that becomes their ‘everything’.

How romantic.

Not.

When someone becomes an ‘everything’, what does that mean? “You’re my everything”. Think about it. Doesn’t that sound a bit ridiculous? If ‘everything’ you have is the result of something or someone else – what did you have before?

So, I decided to google it – and naturally, I found thousands upon thousands images of hearts and what not to give to your ‘everything’.
I also decided to make my own version ->

Let’s say the unfortunate should happen (which most people don’t even want to think about), and you lose your ‘everything’… theoretically, you would then be left with – well, nothing. But you’re not though, because you still have YOU, and that should be ‘something’, right? For a lot of people, they haven’t discovered that ‘something’. And if you don’t have a clear idea of what that ‘something’ is – the relationship with yourself – be prepared to feel a whole lot of yup, you guessed it – nothing.

Most of the men I currently meet also get annoyed because I don’t have as much free time as they do. Some of them, don’t understand why and how I don’t have a favorite TV show, movie, or why I don’t have oodles of free time when I’m not at work. I’m usually working on one of my other projects (I have many), or doing something active, or doing something that involves learning.

“But I haven’t seen you for a WHOLE week! Why are you so busy all the time?!  Wahhhhhh!”

Sniff, sniff.

Not my kind of man, not my kind of life.

I wan’t a man in my life – but I also want a life in my man.

The kind of man I want isn’t around every waking moment of every day. He has goals of his own, and doesn’t need me around 24/7. When we are together, we have fun – and when we’re not, we know how to stand on our own two feet.

He doesn’t live life ‘for me’ – he lives it for him. We’re not each others reason for living – we’ve been living up until this point – so I’d say we already had one. We’re on each others journey for the ride – because some experiences are too good not to share, and we have a damn good time together. He doesn’t take care of me – but he cares for me. We’re there to help each other through the challenges, not as a way to escape them.

We don’t ‘need’ each other to live. We want each other to live.

He doesn’t mind if I go out with the girls – and he doesn’t fear being put in the ‘dog house’ when he decides on a night with the boys. (Seriously, it astounds me the number of men that live in fear of the dog house. If someone put me in the dog house for wanting to be me – I’d be looking for a new house.) Hell, if he wants to hit up a strip club, I’d probably toss in a few loonies myself.

We make compromises and sacrifices just like anyone else. We don’t solely depend on each other for happiness, we simply add to the happiness that we already had. Our relationship is an added bonus on top of the relationship we already have – with ourselves.

We’ll never be each others ‘everything’… but we’ll be each others ‘extra thing’.

Sounds like ‘everything’ I could ever want.

Now… I just have to find him.

But, I’m sure ‘everything’ will come together in due time.

Also, I couldn’t help but add this tacky photo – but it’s not bad to look at and it sums up the added benefit I’m after quite nicely:

March 7

The Journey to Commission

I think that I’ve been in love once.

I say that I ‘think’ I was – because in order to truly be in love with someone else, you have to also be in love with yourself.

I wasn’t.

Nonetheless, there were butterfly feelings and moments of giddiness, and there was even a spark in my eye. I remember the feelings of being in a crowd and no one else mattered. I remember how we made even the smallest things into the most exciting adventures. I was sure that I had wanted to spend the rest of my life with that person.

It didn’t end on the best terms, and for a long time afterwards I only associated that relationship with the heartache it brought… but now as I look back, I mainly remember the good times, and can’t help but smile and be thankful.

I’m also thankful that it’s over.

No doubt I did love the person, and a part of me always will. But, knowing what I know about myself now – I’m not sure if it was ME that was actually in love. I think I was in love with the feeling like this relationship finally made me feel ‘defined’.

Defined by someone else.

At that point of my life, I had no idea that definition comes from within. Within?! What the hell does that mean?!

I knew that he brought out a lot of good qualities in me – and he made me feel great about myself. But, I can’t say that I was myself around him – because at the time, I really didn’t know who ‘myself’ was. For the most part, I was ignorant to the lack of happiness that was on the inside. I was blinded by the notion that since someone else made me feel happy,  this MUST be ‘happiness’, therefore “I” must be happy too.

I wasn’t that young… in my mid twenties  – and although I did have more life experience than the average person my age, I was still floundering through life trying to come up with a ‘place’ for myself. There was a point with him that I believed that I had found that ‘place’ and I had stopped challenging myself. I now had someone to love me – what more did I need? He always would – and that’s all that matters, right?!

Wrong.

It took me well over a year to let it all go. Maybe even two. I remember listening to Selena Ryder’s song ‘Weak in the Knees’ on repeat for days – even months on end. (Have a listen – it’s a great song!) I remember hanging on to all the momentos, even trying to be around the same mutual friends we shared – in a plea of desperation to hang on to even a morsel of that ‘happiness’. More than once, I even toyed with the idea of trying to go for a second chance.

I was torturing myself. And quite honestly, I would have likely ended up right back where I started.

I’m not really sure at what point in time the whole ‘journey’ started – maybe it was on a dateless night reading one too many psychology books – but I do remember it hitting me like a ton of bricks.

I remember that ‘AHA’ moment. The day that I decided to let it go.

I actually remember singing in my car that day. I sing (awfully) in my car all the time – but something was different was about that time. It was full of energy, like all the thoughts I had were escaping through my mouth. And it WASN’T to Selena Ryder.

The day that I realized I was FREE.

I know that I bounced back and forth a few times and I had moments feeling like I really didn’t know if what I was feeling was right. In a way I felt guilty that I was letting it go – but I also realized that I was giving far too much attention to yesterday, and not the moment I was in.

My only way to move forward, was to… well, move forward.

I know that relationships are meant for two people to grow together. But I also think that it happens when growth comes from within, first. In our case, neither one of us experienced either.

What happens if who we are is based off the ideals of someone else?

How can we depend on others for happiness if we can’t first depend on ourselves?

If we don’t know who we are, who do we become when we are left with ourselves?

These are questions I spent the last few years answering. Undoubtedly, single life has been A LOT longer than I would have anticipated – or have really wanted. Life is short admittedly, there are times I wish I had someone to share things with. Someone to share my goals with, someone to take spontaneous road trips with, or someone just to sit in silence with. I definitely need someone to go skydiving with – because it is a goal… one that I’m much to chicken shit to do myself. But, at the same time – hanging out with myself has been quite the adventure in its own right.

My life is far from perfect – and I’m still learning a ton of lessons the hard way and I’m always getting to know myself. The only difference now – is that I know how to live WITH myself.

Now that I’ve got that covered – there’s a much better chance that I can live with someone else, too.

No longer am I looking for ‘definition’ – but rather ‘commission’… a little something extra on top of I already have.