Remember that movie ‘Sliding Doors’ with Gwenny Paltrow? It made us think of what could have been if we changed one small detail in our lives. So, maybe if things happened differently you’d be married with three kids by now, you’d have stayed with that horrible boyfriend your friends couldn’t stand, you’d be splitting a mortgage, you’d be stepping over play pens to get the phone, you’d be ignoring your in-laws’ passive aggressive attempts to make you hate yourself, and you’d be wearing mom jeans… but these things didn’t happen. You’re single. You’re SINGLE! You do get that I was trying to make the other version of your life sound terrible, so you’d enjoy this one, right?
Here’s the big thing I think we get stuck on: Being single is not just the transitional phase before being married or in a serious relationship. Its not life’s version of us sitting anxiously in a waiting room. You’re not the wallflower on the bleachers wondering if anyone will ever pick you. You might be single for three years. Those three years count. Every single minute counts. They say that life happens between everything else. But then why is it that when you’re chatting at a dinner party the only question people ask you is “Are you dating anyone?” It makes us feel like nothing else is relevant. I’ve had the main toast at Christmas dinner be, “And here’s to Erin hopefully being with someone this time next year!” And when I look around that table and see married couples who haven’t touched each other all night, and whose smiles are forced, and who are minding their P’s and Q’s so they don’t get into trouble, I think to myself that maybe I’m the one who has it figured out instead of the other way around.
I’m not saying that being married is awful and being single is the answer. I’m saying that if you’re lacking a partner by your side and you’re seated at the kids’ table, I promise you that your life has already started regardless of what people tell you. Sometimes when we’re in a relationship we get a little set in our ways and stuck. It’s hard to try something new or venture into unknown territory when we have another half who expects consistency in us. I had a boyfriend who was really into food. Like, he loved to order weird shit and would try anything. He was very bossy about trying to get me to be the same way. I felt pressured and so my instinct was to resist it. I decided across the board I wouldn’t try anything he wanted me to. I didn’t want to have the argument every time I ordered spaghetti marinara that I had to broaden my horizons. I refused to eat sushi and it killed him. So by the time I was curious to try something, I was too self-conscious to because he was so used to me being one way I was scared to change in front of him. The first thing I did when I broke up with him was eat sushi. The boundaries someone puts on us when we want to be compatible with them can make our world small. Not always. Love is AMAZING! But it isn’t the answer to anything. So if you haven’t found it yet, don’t wait for it to find happiness. It’s available now, and for free.
Happiness is about being proud of who you are. Be a good friend, be a good daughter, be reliable, be willing to laugh when things get tough, compliment other girls, care about your job, believe in yourself, be vulnerable, tell the truth, apologize when needed, forgive people…
They say the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it. So, water it.
Featured Image via http://missavagardner.tumblr.com