A date for a date's sake isn't going to make you any less lonely. This is where you need to focus.
It's days before Valentine's Day and the internet is soiled and saturated in Valentine's articles. The sad news is that at days before Valentine's Day, if you don't already have a sweetie in tow, you're probably not going to have anyone you truly care about to go out with in the next week. You may be looking for a date just to avoid the awkward night alone, but isn't it more awkward to join someone you don't love on a day created to celebrate love?
I don't buy it and anyone writing you articles that teach you how to get a date by V-day are pandering you digital opium. A date to have a date on Valentine's Day is like putting a band-aid on a broken arm. You're still lonely and you're still alone.
I have experienced very long periods of time outside of a relationship. I know that hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach when you see everyone else in relationships. How frustrating it can be to be solo when you have incredibly high moments, and again when you're at the bottom of your lowest moments and you're desperate for that encouraging ear. Even the days in between when you just want to share your daily stories. I get it. But I refuse to let those moments define me, my single self.
Years ago a therapist told me, "Gina, what if you never find someone to spend your life with? You have to learn how to find fulfillment in life outside of a partner. If he comes along, great, but if he doesn't, your life isn't wasted."
I just decided I was going to use whatever being single meant as my advantage. There had to be some advantage, right? Now when when I look at my times alone through the filter of "would I have done this if I were in a relationship?" The answer is no, and my time spent has been unbelievable.
Things my single self accomplished that I would have never done if attached:
1. Said Yes to Every Invite: If I get asked to do something, I'll go. I got asked to be a sub on my hair dresser's volleyball team so they wouldn't have to forfeit. I'm initially very shy so only knowing one person was hard. Next thing you know, I'm invited to join this team with a bunch of strangers almost all of whom are 15 years older than me, married and mothers. But my shy single self just kept going, and over time, turning strangers into friends. I've come to love all these ladies and we are very close. One of the best parts? When we go out, they make the best wing-women a single girl could ask for. If I had been in a relationship I would have found an excuse to not put myself out there to meet new people.
2. Started a Volunteer Group: I wanted to get involved, didn't know how or what. My interests are varied. Rather than choose, I made a volunteer Meet-Up group that does all sorts of things. I don't have to drag any guy to these things. I get to just do them.
3. Started Making My Own Invitations: Among my friends, I am now called the "social chair," a foreign feeling label considering I am a natural introvert. But I wanted a social life so I made a Facebook page, inviting my friends, and they invited their friends and so on. We post ideas for things to do, and people come. I've met a ton of new people and new people have now met other new people. We're going to a college basketball game next weekend. We compose the worst softball team in the league so we're thinking about trying kickball next. We plan theme parties. It's great! If I was in a relationship most of my free time would have been spent with him, shared with his pursuits, making it harder to make new friends and experiences.
4. Took a Million Classes: I've signed up for things just because I wanted the enrichment. When else would I have unrestricted time to do my pursuits? If I was in a relationship I'd have to worry about seeing if he either wanted to do these things with me, or if my time away from him would hinder our relationship. Well since he doesn't exist, I don't have to consult anyone. So yes, now I am line-dancing. Tennis lessons? Check.
5. Became My Own Boss: Probably the single greatest thing to happen to me from being single was the fact that it enabled me to become my own boss, something that's made me as happy as a pig in shit. You see, I'd been single so often and done every online dating site, I literally became an expert. I started my business, Expert Online Dating, teaching others how to online date. Now I work largely from home, something I always dreamed of doing. And if I hadn't been single, I would have never, ever gotten the experience to do this. So I can't be sad about any of these years being single because I've made them work for me.
Finally, all of these things made me a much more interesting person. My online dating profile is full of interesting things because I have interesting things going on in my life to talk about! I can get dates all the time and I have tons to talk about when I go on those dates.
What is interesting is that a few weeks ago a very charming and handsome close acquaintance professed he was in love with me. The reasons he gave to why, and how I was one of the most amazing women he'd ever met, were all tied to the things I do above… things I couldn't have done if I weren't alone. It remains to be seen where that will go but what an awesome compliment.
I don't have a Valentine's Date, like many of you. Could I have gotten one? Sure. But I don't want a band-aid for a night. I learned to find fulfillment outside of a partner. For Valentine's Day, I'm going to make a Facebook event with my other single friends and have a fun night.