'Couples Holidays' can be a drag, but only if you allow them. Choose to look at Single differently!
As the years seem to fly past in record speed, I've begun to notice more and more the increase of holiday emphasis. Promoting Halloween begins late August/early September, and the minute our clocks stike midnight into November, the shelves have already been slated clean and now full of Thankskgiving and Christmas hoopla. Just when we think after the New Year has been rung in and we're finally free and clear from the bombardment of annoying toy and jewelry commercials, the world at large starts digging into one of the most gawdy ritual days of them all; Valentine's Day. Personally, I have never enjoyed its oncoming, whether I've been attached during V-Day or not, I've always felt nothing but pressure and uncomfortable expectations of it. Television, Radio, and every day grocery store shopping soon become those irritating family members who always cause a ruckus and stick their noses into our private lives by suggesting happiness is only an outcome by proving your affections for someone else and having it be reciprocated.
Now, I've been single for a few months. I was booted right after my birthday in October before all of the holiday massacre began. This has been the first time in a decade, yes, a DECADE, that I have gone into the fire without someone to call mine. I used to believe that it was impossible, and almost a downright embarassment to be alone for anything, especially the holidays. Growing up, I was highly influenced by my environment to believe that the only existence worth keeping is that of a 1+1. Well guess what? I spent Thanksgiving with my Father and relatives I hadn't seen in years and had the time of my life! I celebrated Christmas AND New Years Eve at home with my daughter, just the two of us, and created fun memories of food, games and laughter that she and I will always remember as time just for us girls. We are now less than two weeks away from the Day of Love and hey, I am single and fabulous, I CAN be my own person. Being in a couple does not have to define my worth, nor anyone elses.
I strongly believe that while we may not be able to choose when, how, and who we fall in love with, it is always a choice to be single. People may rant and grumble that they hate being alone and that all of the good ones are taken, but that just isn't true. When we are truly ready and open for Love, it happens. When we cry over not having a special someone, we are choosing to be seen as unhappy and unnapproachable, which is making the unconscious choice to be single. I'm online dating at the present time, and have had an assembly of interested guys, some of which I have as well, but I'm still keeping at a comfortable pace and not tying myself to anyone just yet. Not because I've morphed into my own selfishly independent ways and refuse the chance of finding a compatible mate, I just want the next man I allow into my world to be solid, grounded, and as happy in his own skin as Single just as I have become. We learn the most about ourselves and the people around us when we are navigating the world alone. When we are paired, everything is casted under the viewpoint of 'we think this', 'we enjoyed this', and it's a slippery slope into dimishing the existence of our 'I'. It's not to say that couples can't have their independence too, it's just a different dynamic. They can spend time alone to do what they enjoy, but when married, engaged, or in a relationship, they have that security of coming home to a 'We' as us Singles don't. We pummel through regardless and adapt to not having that safety net to fall back on when the times get rough, or when we hit those inevitable days of lonely solitude. But you know what, you are never really alone. Everyone has family, friends, confidants, there are outlets all around us for connection. No one is ever really suffering alone, you either choose to be happy or you don't. Yes, it is always that simple.
So I sat down yesterday and gave thought as to why I have chosen to be Single, even though I could very well be with someone now if I desperately craved it enough. These are the reasons I came up with;
1) Career and Family Focus. As the cusp of turning 30 inches its way closer, I find myself deeply enriched into my work and being a mother. I've been a caregiver for four and half years, and writing since I was 15. I enjoy caring for those who depend on my strength to make their golden years blissful and cozy, and I relish in how crafty I've become with my relationship advice work. My articles are getting more and more publication and recognition all the time, so while the ladder to my successful goals of being a freelance writer, an advice columnist, and writing a book may be a longer journey than most would care to hang in for, I am because I see a winning end point for myself in the future. I am confident in my ability to obtain the life that I want and am more than willing to work hard to get there.
I've been single parenting for over five years in a healthy and peaceful coparenting team with my ex husband. After the cloud of divorce, anger and resentment subsided, we shifted into mutually respectable parents who have put all of our love and energy into raising our daughter. We wanted her to see that even if two people can no longer be together, they can absolutely be friendly to one another and be happy nonetheless. We were incredibly fortunate to have managed how we have and there be no permanent emotional affects on her from the choice we made at ending our marriage. We are still a family full of love and vibrancy, it is just not the typical 'ideal' many expect, and that is okay. Our unit works for us, and as long as our daughter is happy and flourishing, that is all that will ever matter.
2) Compatible Partners are more and more fewer as we age. It's a realization many choose to ignore or some care not to admit, but it is true. When we're in our 20's, options practically hang from the trees. Finding a date as a twenty-something isn't as trying as it can be in your 30's, 40's, and beyond. Why? Because usually by that time, we have a lengthy trail of experience behind us such as marriage, divorce, and children which can add a weighing down of 'baggage' into a new relationship. The more time we stand alone, the higher chance of us sticking to our own ways can make transitioning into allowing someone else in more challenging to accept. We should never close off oportunities that arise when it comes to our dating lives, but we shouldn't just take whatever comes our way either out of fear and desperation. Even if the odds weigh against us due to the inevitable process of aging, we should never close the door on finding real love if it is something we desire to have and hold one day.
3) Putting love for myself first. I'm not one to make resolutions for a new year, and this last NYE was no different. However, I promised to finally break free from everyone elses expectations of the life they want and see for me, and to really think about and go after the life I desire for myself. My mother quite often worries over my personal life, professing that she would love nothing more than for me than to find a 'manly man who will take care of me'. While I feel fortunate to have a mother who wants the best for me, I don't expect finding Mr. Perfect to be the answer to everything and it being the only result of bliss. Both my older and younger sisters have men in their lives, so I am the targeted black sheep left to herd. When I was married, I chose to be a housewife and full time stay at home parent, so when I allowed myself to fully depend on my husband who eventually became my Ex, I had no job and income to fall back on. I made the grave mistake of becoming too comfortable and convinced that the worst would never happen, so when it did, I had to struggle back onto my own two feet and it took a very, VERY long time.
I've spent years now taking care of myself and my daughter, ending up in lousy relationships where men depended on me for everything, while I became an emotional codependent on them. It took a handful of embarassing mistakes to get it right, but I finally mastered the art of grasping a healthy balance of how to be a real team while part of a couple, but not forgetting that watching out for my own livelihood is just as important. Like Soren Kierkegaard once said, " Don't forget to love yourself first." That is exactly what I have been doing as a solo traveler, and I have yet to feel down or sorry for myself from it. Friends and family acknowledge to me all the time how much happier I have become and are in awe of the glow that beams from my presence. There is no secret to my joy, it has all been an accumulation of light from choosing to embrace the life that I have in the now and not worrying myself over what I should or could have and agonizing over a possible future that has yet to be. We have but one life to live, we should be enveloped in it today with open arms, regardless of where we might be tomorrow.
Valentine's Day is just like any other date on the calendar, except for the build media gives it. We can see it, celebrate it, take it as we see fit, no one can make that choice for us. Sure, we can be hounded into believing that you're not somebody on that day, or any other holiday, unless someone shows love through materialistic offerings like flowers, chocolates, and oversized teddy bears. Can't that happen any other day too? I express my love every single day to my daughter, friends and family. February 14th is a lovely idea, but it has never been a required outlet for me to boast my feelings and zest for those in my life. It should be that way for everyone. So my profession is this; Love open and uncondtionally regardless of society's standards. Welcome Valentine's Day whether you are attached or not because it IS just another day, and it too will pass like the rest. Stop putting pressure on others and on yourself for how things should be and just go with what brings you jubilation. Someday, I am certain, I will attract the right man who will join me on the optimistic plane I am sailing, and my cheer will be even greater. Until then, I will continue to love myself, and everyone whom is part of the life that I have today. Love is not to be wasted or saved for possibilities. Show love whenever you can, to whomever you can, whether it's a special occasion or not. Love is Love, and it is always a beautiful thing!