Friday, March 20, 2009

what's the point in life when you're single?

Every once in awhile I check the traffic on the blog. I know I'm not to the level of a lot of bloggers, but I seem to have some fairly regular readers (who aren't people I actually know!), and it helps to keep me going, I admit. Not because I think everyone is out there hanging on my every word, but that somehow what I'm saying must resonate with at least a few people. So, if anything, it helps me to feel a little less alone in this whole (stupid!) dating game.

Today though I got someone coming to the blog by typing in this search phrase:

whats the point in life when your single

Now, I don't actually know how they found my blog that way because I went through 7 pages of google results and my blog didn't come up. That tells me that whoever was asking this question was pretty determined to get an answer since they were intrepid enough to keep going after 7 pages. (I wasn't.)

It also worried me. Because that question? That type of question? Sounds like the question you ask when you don't think life is worth living any more.

And that's not ok. So-- whoever you are-- if you're still out there-- Yes, life IS still worth living when you're single.

Before I go on to address all the reasons WHY though, I'm also going to admit that I've been there. I know what it's like. (Trust me on this.)

I know this is a blog about dating, but there's a reason this blog is about dating. I don't have to be single. There have been numerous people in my life who wanted to keep dating me, but I was the one to break it off. There was at least one person in my life who would have married me, had I expressed an inclination to marry him. And yet, somehow--magically-- I'm single. Why is that?

It's because my life is pretty good as it is. So if I were to change it? It would have to be for someone pretty damn awesome. Not perfect. Not a millionaire. Not a model. But pretty damn awesome.

I've dated some pretty awesome guys. I'm still friends with most of those guys. Cause they were awesome. For one reason or another (ok, 3/4ths of the time because they were in the closet when we were dating), they weren't the "awesome" that was right for me.

Some people think I/you/women should settle for Mr. Good-Enough. Mr. Almost-Right. And some people do. And some people genuinely grow to love Mr. Almost-Right and have a wonderful life with him. I don't fault them for that. In some respects, I envy them. But I also know that Mr. Almost-Right is not "right" enough for me.

And that's because my life as a single person is pretty damn awesome. What makes it awesome?

In a word? Autonomy. I covet my Independence. Maybe that makes me very poor dating/marriage material, I don't know. I do know that even in a relationship though I need a lot of breathing room.

I don't have to check in with anyone when making decisions-- from small ones: What type of toothpaste should I get? To big ones: Should I buy this condo? (Answer- YES.)

How do I spend my money? It's mine to spend. How do I spend my time? It's mine to spend. How do I make decisions like - Should I move? Should I get a new job? Should I go to Africa or Europe on vacation?

Some people would feel lonely, or anxious making those decisions on their own. I admit that sometimes-- a very small percentage of the time-- I do too.

But 90% of the time? I feel exhilarated. I feel the sense of my own unlimited potential. I feel the freedom that 3/4ths of the women in this world do not feel. I am living what women for generations upon generations fought, and protested, and died for; what some women are still dying for.

And never, not for one minute of one day, do I take that privilege for granted.

I am living my life as I wish, how I wish, and for myself.

Some people (some people reading this blog even!) might say, "Good thing you're single, Bitch."

Yeah. Yeah it is.

I'm not saying I wouldn't want a partner in my life. I'm not saying I wouldn't accommodate, and welcome, a partner in my life. Quite the opposite. But at the same time, I know myself, and I know that I'm not going to welcome someone into my life who isn't a good fit. And that's why I keep searching, that's why I keep dating; not because I don't want to be single, or because I believe I "need" to be married to be complete or any such thing-- I love to be single!

But I keep dating because I do think that there is a someone out there for me. Someone who will find my quirks, and stubbornness, and big mouth endearing. And I'll find his quirks (and whatever else!) endearing. Yeah, that's the way this love thing works, I know. But I guess my point is that I have faith that if there is someone out there who is right for me, I'll meet him.

And if there's no one right for me? Then that's ok too. I'm right for myself.

I think I'd be a bit sad if I didn't ever marry-- perhaps spending time thinking back to "What might have been," (as I sometimes do with Mr. Almost-Right who would have married me.) But the alternative? Marrying someone who was kinda-but-not-quite-right? That would make me sadder. I know that to do so also wouldn't have been fair to Mr. Almost-Right. Because, you know what? I certainly wouldn't want to be anyone's Ms. Almost-Right. That's not a good feeling for anyone.

And so when I think back to Mr. Almost-Right, I know that I did the right thing in letting him go. Because while he was great, and I was great, we weren't great together. We weren't bad, we were even pretty good most of the time, but I also knew-- even way back then-- that we would stifle each other. That as much as he loved me, he didn't really get me. That family dynamics he hated in his childhood were being replayed with us... and he would surely have grown to be frustrated and hurt, and I would have felt caged in and want to hurt him. And I wouldn't have wanted that-- because I loved him.

Do I think I'll have a family? Yes, with or without someone. I would prefer with someone, and I know it's really hard without someone, but it's been done. There are many children in this world that need a home, and I'll be privileged to be able to provide one someday, I hope.

I keep looking, searching, and hoping to meet someone-- because I know there might be someone awesome and --like Goldilocks's porridge-- "just right" for me.

But in the meantime? My life has a point. I have my friends, my family, my dog, my education (which is taking up too much time at the moment), volunteering (when I have time to get back to doing it, once I'm done with my education!), the goal of doing work that makes a difference, my writing, my artwork, my travel. My point -- my goal-- is to not live an unlived life. There will be time in the future, hopefully, to be with someone. Even then I hope to live a life filled with all those things. In the meantime, why would I live my life as though it's frozen in time and I'm waiting for some prince to come along? Why wouldn't I take advantage of the single life I'm leading now? If ever I'm finally with someone, won't I then covet the single life?

Well, this has been excessively long to make a few rather simple point. Everyone wants what they don't have. Being single is awesome. Being with someone who brings out the best in you (and you bring out the best in that person) is awesome. Anything less? Is not for me. (But! YMMV. Not judging.)

We all go to those dark places, wondering what the point of life is when you're single... But an open secret, (I think) is that married/coupled/(with/without kids) people go to those dark places to. They just spend their time wishing they were single... JUST LIKE YOU.

So, first and foremost, enjoy the life you're living. It's the only one you've got. Make the most of it.


arf said...

Thanks for putting all of that down so eloquently.

Liz Harris said...

Very well said, and by the way I'm one of those people who reads your blog simply because I stumbled upon it and enjoyed reading that I'm not the only one that falls for the bad guy instead of the nice guy. I have a married friend who always reminds me that " the grass isn't always greener on the other side."

Hypatia said...

Thanks, Arf.

Nice to "meet" you Liz! Glad you came out of the woodwork! (And I have to say, the thing I find so amusing about the "bad" guy i like is that he thinks he's the "nice" guy. ha!)