Being Single is Not a Survival Skill
Scrolling through Facebook has become predictable, although this has not curbed my daily (read: hourly) routine of checking in on my friends, classmates, acquaintances, and family. Mindlessly and almost autonomously, I process another engagement, another anniversary, another pair of kids telling a cute nonsensical story.
But the other day, an article caught my eye that broke the monotony. Captioned with my friend’s commentary of, “Some ways to get through wedding season, ladies ;)” was the article:
“Single Girl in a Sea of Couples? Here’s Your Survival Guide”
I have skimmed these sorts of essays since I picked up my first copy of Seventeen well before the age of 17. Articles letting me know that I should not be ashamed of being single, a thought I never had before I started reading these. Articles telling me that this was my time to be selfish, or that another boy would come around eventually. Articles grimacing through a pretend smile as they painted a thin silver line of singledom.
After years and years of reading these, I have grown weary of their repetitive attempts to soothe a wound that should not exist. Being single is not a scarlet letter, nor is it a magical key to freedom and self-enlightenment. It is not even an experience that can be universally understood as it is simply a continuation of an individual life. Yet the substantial expectations placed upon trying to find someone for the rest of your life are real enough that it can begin to consume our lives.
Scores of rom-coms, Nicholas Sparks films, and movie musicals have helped to ingrain a need to search for that special someone. That person to fall in love with, to kiss in the rain, to harmonize with for the big finishing number. Yet life should not revolve around the mythical idea of searching for your other half, for even in there lies an idea built upon the foundation that you are not complete without another; that you cannot fully exist as an individual without another’s contribution.
Being single should not be thought of as just the intermittent periods in life without a partner. Existing on your own, as simple as that may sound, is a vital and ever-changing understanding of who you are and a crucial part of life.
This is not to say that the concept of a relationship is invalid. The prospect of having someone to continue to build your life with and explore its many adventures is a valuable one. This is merely to say that it can be difficult to share your life with someone when you do not know what you want from life in the first place. In fact, discovering that you want something out of life that your partner does not becomes significantly more complicated when you uncover that together.
However, being single should not be an excuse to grow as a person, namely because a relationship should not inhibit growth. Sharing your time and your life with someone, whoever that may be, is valuable and should help you continue to discover who you are. But the existence of someone else should never be the sole factor in deciding who you are or what you can do.
Enjoy time on your own. Enjoy your time with others. Go out and have fun. Learn about yourself and continue to grow as a person. Relationship status should not inhibit any of these things. There is no "surviving" being single; that is just living your life.
So be in a relationship, be single, do something in between or beyond. Just continue to live your life.