Why Are You Single?
A few weeks ago I was out at a bar with one of my girlfriends - two bartenders, two of us. The bartender I was talking to was asking the usual questions: Where I was from. What I did for a living. How long I've been in New York, etc. After I gave him the shortened version of my life - and my hopes and dreams - I began telling him about my ideas for Winsome & Canny. Once he gave his feedback he just kind of paused and looked at me. I knew where this was going. There's always that moment in a conversation with any guy when they say, “I’m sorry I don’t want to be offensive, but why are you single?!”
It’s the dreaded question I’ve been getting for the past two years since my college boyfriend and I broke up. I usually give my generic response - which is that I’m too busy for a relationship, and isn’t a lie - but it’s not the whole truth. I realized at that moment that yeah I’m sure it’s weird for guys who seem to think all women want to do is get married and have children. When they meet a single girl who is successful (to some degree), attractive and intelligent, it makes no sense to them. Men often think that we just want to find a rich, handsome-looking guy and go to the Hamptons in the summer and take exotic vacations in the winter, all while posting photos on social media to show everyone how happy we are with our lives. If we're not doing that then there MUST be something wrong with us. Now, that used to be me - the longing for a husband part, not that there's something wrong with me (my exes would beg to differ but that's not the point here).
Now step into my shoes: I come from a small ass town in basically the back woods of Vermont, where if you don’t get out of the town after high school you’re stuck there. You end up having 3 or 4 kids - all by different baby daddy’s - and you work at the local Wal-Mart or grocery store. I was the complete opposite. I dumped my high school boyfriend to move to New York. Don’t get me wrong I loved him, and still do to this day, but he was a junior in college in Boston and we had been doing long distance for my entire senior year. We never cheated on each other, and even had conversations about me going to school in Boston as well, and staying together. I didn’t see myself doing that.
Three months after arriving in New York I met the man I would spend the next six years of my life with. We would become one of those on-and-off couples that had this crazy love and obsession with each other, and people wondered how we would ever stay together. I thought he would be the person I spent the rest of my life with. I had planned out our life - where we would live, what I would do for a job so that we could stay together, and when we would get engaged and then married. I thought I was set. He was going to school to be an engineer and would be perfectly able to provide for me, and the 5 kids I wanted. I laugh at myself now and my childish dreams. I told my boyfriend about six months before we broke up that I wanted to be engaged by the time I was 25. I just turned 26 - I have no money, no boyfriend, no clue what I want to do for a job but have never been more content with that.
It’s strange to think what only two years can do for a person. I now feel the complete opposite - I’m not sure if I want to have kids anymore - let alone get married. A lot of good and bad has happened in the past two years, but all of it has helped me find and understand myself way more then I ever could’ve being in a relationship. I’ll admit that sometimes the lack of regular sex will drive me crazy, but other then that I can’t really complain. I have worked on myself by taking up yoga, practicing Buddhism more often than I used to, and focusing and putting my energy into my family and strong female friendships.
So at the end of 2015 when I was celebrating my first christmas in six years without my boyfriend, I just lost what I thought was my dream job, and my sister announced that her and her husband were getting a divorce I decided to stick to the one thing I could control - my friendships. As long term relationships started crumbling around me I decided to take a step back and acknowledge that I could not put myself into a relationship when I was that much of a mess. All of a sudden I realized the things I did and didn't want in a relationship. I'll admit that I'm cynical to a certain extent but I truly believe that everyone has a soulmate, and even when I find mine it doesn't mean we need to get married.
When I was with my ex my thoughts were about the long-term financial goal. Does he have a good job to pay for a comfortable lifestyle and our future kids? After the break-up - and throughout the last 730 days I decided what I really wanted in my life was someone to enjoy life with. Someone who had the itch and desire to drop everything and go backpacking through Europe, or throw our things into a car and drive across country. I realized I was looking for someone who shared the same ideals as me but could still challenge my way of thinking and make me see the world in a different light. The money no longer mattered to me. I became a victim of my surroundings, forgetting where I came from, a place I have tried so hard to escape since high school. Cliche as it was I wanted the little things in life. To truly experience life.
Why am I single? Because I'm still searching for my soulmate. If I'm going to spend the rest of my life with someone - spend the next 23,725 days with someone - then I better make the right choice. My past relationships have just shown me some of what I want in a life partner and some of what I don't. The relationships around me have shown me the type of girlfriend or wife I will strive to be, or the type of person I never want to be. We should be equal, true partners, and that's not something I take lightly.
One of my guy friends gets so annoyed with me when I complain to him that I haven't had sex in awhile. His response is always, "You're a girl, you can have sex whenever you want!" And while that may be true for both sex and relationships there's no need to rush it. Like I said I'm broke. I'm still trying to figure out where to be in my career, and I'm focusing on making sure all my ladies are in their zone as well. I'm single because I choose to be, not because I can't find a man to date me. I have decided that I need to stand on my own and become the most bad-ass woman I can be. I need to explore the world, create and inspire before I'm ready to "settle down." Even then I may not get married, or have kids. Or maybe I'll get married and never have kids, or have kids and not get married.
The most beautiful thing about this life is that I have the choice to do it however I want. There is every type of woman out there today. We are no longer expected to get married and have children before we're 30. If I ever decide to have children I never want to look at them and think, "If I hadn't had you I could've been X, Y or Z." Instead I would want to share with them all of my adventures and accomplishments and encourage them to do the same. We have the luxury of doing this today and I - like more women than men seem to think - want to do it right the first time. If that means waiting until I'm 40 years old then that's 14 more years of exploring life - and that's just fine with me!