As I trip and fall down the stairs busting my butt for at least the 7th time this summer I cannot help but laugh. I grab one of my best friend's hands as she is trying to hold it together and not pee herself and look up at her and say "I cannot imagine why I am still single." She bust out laughing as we walk down the street to get some iced coffee. While the question was meant as a joke, it is definitely something I have thought about in the last few months...is it me? Maybe I should just run one more mile at the gym? Maybe I need a new interesting hobby? New outfits to catch the right eyes? Sure, I've had a few dates in the past few months but something is missing. That spark, that pizzazz. Some of theme were just idiots, others there were outside factors (distance, for example) that made the prospect of anything happening obsolete, and others were AMAZING men who were just somebody else's somebody.
It seems like absolutely EVERYWHERE that I turn people are getting into a relationship or breaking up from one. Every time I talk to a friend I learn of a new heartbreak or triumph, and Lord knows that I don't think there is anyone on my Facebook news feed who did not get engaged or married this summer. And it is hard and it is exhausting and sometimes it makes me wanna chill out with my main men Ben and Jerry and gain 40 lbs and move to Russia. But, praise the Lord Almighty He has put some beautiful women in my life who are not afraid to speak truth into my life and call me on the carpet...also praise the Lord that it was these women who tried to speak to me and not someone else because had another person said these things to me I would be in jail for punching them in the face.
Society tells me (I won't include all women but I feel like a lot of you have felt it...maybe men too I don't know) that the ultimate treasure and goal in life is to be in the killer relationship but I am calling bull crap. Since when did our worth become dependent one what we could give someone else? So this is my realities of being single...also known as...my 21 year old, awkward woman's guide to the beautiful time that is your single 20s...aka advice from my friends:
1. Date yourself. Why as women are we always waiting for someone else to woo us? Why do we want someone to buy us flowers, tell us we are beautiful, take us places, etc. Why don't we do that for ourselves. My friend Lauren looked at me at dinner the other night and goes "girl, I know this sounds weird but you've got to date yourself again because when this phase is over it is over." So I am giving it a try: making time for friends in distant places all across the country, actually throwing myself into my summer classes, working my butt off to break my P.R. in a 5k, buying the long stemmed roses that I found pretty for myself. There are a lot of things that need to change but there is one thing I am really harping on: I need to fall in love with myself again. Not in a creepy like "oh hey beauty in the mirror what are you doing tonight" kind of way but I need to appreciate the little qualities about myself that I hope others admire because how can I expect any one to want this if I don't even want this? Love yourself!!!! Please! I promise there is something about you that no one else has. Maybe its the way you can decipher big numbers in your head, maybe it is your love of musicals, or the way your nose wrinkles when you talk, or the way you can fit an entire coke can into your mouth...I have no idea what it is but I do know that there are things about you that no one else in the entire world has...cherish them.
"You have to love yourself because when other people are competing with you for your own love you are much more likely to be a better judge."
2. Embrace this time being single. For two reasons: 1. It is the only time in your life that everything you do is absolutely about you and being that selfish is ok and 2. if you sit around just waiting for someone to sweep you off your feet that is incredibly boring and no one wants that.
So, go out with friends to sing karaoke, drive to the beach for a sunrise, eat an entire carton of ice cream, veg out on that cheesy netflix show, go out with friends that the last minute, learn a new hobby, instrument, language, something! Because sitting on your butt waiting for the "one" is 1. incredibly creepy and makes me think you need a therapist, and 2. not attractive...would you want to date someone who's soul purpose in life for the past 5 years was to meet the person to marry and then they would start living life? NO!!! You want someone with stories, excitement, mystery, hobbies! Be that person!
3. Mr. Right might not exist...thank you, Brenna for this reality check. After I finished my entire "HOLY CRAP I AM GOING TO DIE ALONE AND OLD AND WRINKLY!" freakout...this reality did not seem like such a bad thing. If your whole life is dependent on you finding someone else then you have an incredibly empty life. Men and Women throughout the course of history have gotten married later in life, or not at all, and had deeply fulfilling lives, adventures, and legacies. Mother Theresa never married and yet she changed the slums of India for generations to come..and I bet if you asked her if something was missing she would say no. You can love life, have adventures, leave a mark, and make a change without being a wife and a mother. MAYBE THAT ISN'T ACTUALLY YOUR CALLING AND THAT IS COMPLETELY OK!!! Maybe, it is a part of your calling but not the whole thing. Maybe, it happens next month, next year, six years from now, or when you are sixty! But, if your whole life depends on you being in a romantic relationship then when that relationship doesn't work out, or is rocky, or worse, heaven forbid, something happens to them then your whole world will be turned upside down. Embrace the love of your work, your passions, the causes that get your heart pumping, friendships, family, life!
4. Be you. I know that is literally the most cliche thing in the world but my stomach literally churns when I see women changing who they are to impress a man. Even if you do impress him that isn't going to last because you can only act for so long and it will be boring. When you are unapologetically yourself you attract people with similar beliefs, energy, dreams, ambitions, and interest and the connection will be much more sincere. I would rather be alone than be a fake because the good Lord up above knows that if I had to get up every single day and look perfect then I would be a little ball of fury.
5. Wait it out. I have spent years, and when I say years I mean years, dating Mr. Wrong. I have never, ever...maybe once...but rarely dated a man who was genuinely good for me, because of fear of rejection or being alone. But, I am tired of settling for someone who won't be my forever best friend because the moment seems too boring or I am too worried about what everyone else is doing. I would rather be single, and free, and adventurous, and myself than be forced into a mold for a three months and done relationship. Relationships can be beautiful but that can also literally be toxic to every single aspect of your life...it is ok to step back and say "for now, this is about me, and you don't fit into that." OR to even take some time and say "I need to work on cultivating my life, my desires, and my future so that when I meet the right person I am ready and not a little emotional wreck because I don't know anything about myself." I follow this couple on instagram called "Traveling Newlyweds" and they literally look so so so happy all the time, like they are each others best friend...I WANT THAT! And, I am tired of settling for anything short of it because if a committed relationship is the biggest life adventure then why on earth would I want to take it with someone that I just kind of tolerate?