While I’ve always believed that Valentine’s Day represents the raw excess of Americana, there is also a side of me who believes that there is nothing wrong with celebrating the one that you love. Klimt’s The Kiss and an array of movie scenes come to mind such as when Lloyd Dobler is holding up his boom box that is pounding “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, for Diane Court, all of which are dedicated to celebrating love. Writers are no stranger to celebrating love either. You have everything from Paulo Coelho’s Aleph and Eleven Minutes to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. There are myths, legends, and Shakespeare. Musicians have been known to lock themselves in basements or cabins just to write music about love, or the loss of it. Sharon Van Etten. Bon Iver. Even when not locking themselves up, you’ve got singers like Nina Simone and bands like The Beatles who have a candid ability to sing in celebration for love.
We don’t do it enough and it should be a daily practice, not with bought goods necessarily, but with each other using….just each other. I believe in commitment, when it is right. I believe that commitment is also very unnatural for humans, which is why when it is done well, it is an amazing accomplishment. This includes marriages, but there are all forms of commitment. Regardless, time means something to people. When you can say you’ve been with someone for such and such time, that matters, whether it’s been a healthy road or not. That is because you have made an investment. I respect people who are in successful marriages or long-term relationships and while those are rare, I think that they deserve recognition because living with and loving someone well is beautiful. It is also very challenging. Investments in others are always risky; you don’t truly know what will happen. I was once married and while I probably won’t ever do it again, I still admire the concept. You are jumping off the cliff, and hoping for the best in return. In my defense, I would say that I jumped farther and harder than my partner, but I still have no regrets of loving him every day-I just regret how it ended. It’s kind of like reading a really great book, and not wanting it to end, yet you don’t really have control of that outcome. It just happens. Even when not every chapter is amazingly well-written, you are still sad about the ending because you became part of a great story, making connections that mattered for you at the time.
But right now, I’m not currently in love with anyone, and to my knowledge, no one is in love with me, at least not in a Valentines sort of way. While writing that sentence totally sucks, it’s my reality and it’s the one that I wake up to, and go to bed with on a regular basis. It’s the one I’m throwing out to all of you. Unfortunately, as much as I love to hate V-Day, it’s hard to ignore all of the red and pink decor that lines the grocery stores, billboards, and newspapers. It’s just another reminder for single people don’t really need it because when you’re single, you are reminded quite easily on a daily basis.
I have enough amazing people in my life who do love me, and more important than that, I am in love with thineself-finally; all of those transitions that you face in life can lead to success with yourself, but the tricky part is finding other people who have been successful as well that you can stand hanging out with on a daily basis. The hard truth is that most people walking this planet believe in just that: that the purpose of life is to love. As I mentioned, the artists of the world stand united on this topic. And true, sometimes, they are speaking of love in general: love thy neighbor, Mother Earth, your family, friends. Be a peacemaker, blah, blah, but I think that most people would agree that being in love with someone who loves you back is the kind of miracle that we are all searching for and when we find it, we are very lucky. That is the kind people sing about. Write about. Paint about.
Me too. If I were asked what would be some of the things I couldn’t live without, love would for sure be on my list. Yet, I do get up and live without it these days. I make it work, using necessary means, at least in my mind, and have been doing it for quite some time now. True, I have been in love so that helps that process, but I have proven that I can live without it, and can honestly say that I can live quite well. While there have been a few chapters of lust and flings and “dating”, whatever that is, most of my recent episodes, in a nutshell, have been comical. Some things take a long time to change and I’d say I’ve always been challenged by relationships and my latest decade has been no different. Part of me understands those phrases such as, “it’s not you, it’s me” all too well. I have terrible, terrible timing with boys and if it isn’t the timing, it’s those scenarios where I’m way into it and he isn’t, or he is way into it and I’m not. There is also those initial interactions that I am an expert at where it’s this completely boring 10 minutes of my life that I am dying to conclude, probably within the first minute of the ten, but I’m giving it a chance because that is what all of my family and friends tell me to do:
“You don’t even give them a chance.”
“Try to think positively.”
“You have too many expectations.”
The reality is that if you aren’t entertaining me in the first 10 minutes, I’m going to get bored, and begin listing the things that aren’t going well inside my head. As much as I want to stop that double stunt inner-self from speaking to me, she has such a strong personality; I can’t stop her from talking me away from that guy who is probably just trying his hardest to have a conversation when in reality, he should just take me dancing. And I’m guilty too-even when I do the inviting, I know I’ve screwed up so many of those situations that if all of those guys got together to write about them, we’d have a small novella on our hands or a really funny blog. It’s just….hard.
So this means what? What am I good at when it comes to love that I can celebrate during the week of celebrating love? What are you good at? For me, it’s my Singleship. I have become really good at being single. Would I prefer to not be single? Of course, but I’m not one to settle for something that isn’t right, and because what isn’t right has been pounding on my door often enough, I’m still searching. Those people who do surrender to what is in front of them are cutting themselves short and I refuse to join that club.
So, that was a long rant that I’m now going to discontinue in order to make a tribute to all of you single people out there and to myself. Maybe this will help you celebrate your singleship, and its beauty at a time when being single can sometimes be depressing. Here is why I love my singleship, in no particular order, and just for kicks, I’ve limited my list to 10 reasons (feel free to add ones that I cut from the list) because I’m addicted to listing and while I could go on forever, let’s just make me not:
1. Total 100% freedom all day and all night. Relationships are awesome, but so is real freedom. Singleships provide that.
2. When in a singleship, you don’t have to explain why you’re in the mood you’re in or why you don’t want to talk about it. Why can’t my mood just be what it is?
3. You can practice your really bad habits without apology. In fact, you can nourish and perfect them on behalf of your singleship.
4. You can have meaningless, hot sex with strangers, semi-strangers, or something in between, resulting in hot sex without any commitments. Some folks say that isn’t fun, even people in relationships, but I’ve always thought they were either joking or lying. True, they can take wrong turns, but so can relationships, and those turns are way harder. For those that feel it’s slutty, oh well. I don’t agree. People who get what they need are way more common than people who actually practice self-control. That doesn’t mean it’s right, but it also means that it isn’t wrong.
5. Your singleship doesn’t require you meeting other work groups or in-laws or any group, in general, that you wouldn’t find yourself hanging out with if it wasn’t for the relationship. It’s kind of like when you become a parent, as CK Louis suggests, where you are hanging out with annoying parents only due to the fact that your kid likes their kid; otherwise, there would be no way in hell that you’d be with those people.
6. It saves you money. What I really mean to say is that you don’t have to share your money :-).
7. All in all, it can be less stressful, which in a way means that you’re aging better.
8. You can travel more often because you don’t have to deal with someone else’s schedule.
9. Strong relationships are about good compromising. And while I appreciate the art of good compromising, I can also appreciate that in my singleship, I don’t have to deal with it. How’s that for some self-absorption?
10. Just because #1 deserves more than one spot, you can get as much friend time as you need because your singleship, once again, is in charge of how, where, when, and with whom, you spend your time.
11. OK, so I’m cheating. Working on yourself is really #1, and while it should always be everyone’s #1, when in a relationship, that’s really difficult.
Here is to everyone who is single, and loving thineself. And if you aren’t single, I hope you celebrate the love you have with yourself just as much as, if not more, the love you have for someone else.