I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
She asked me, “Do you think I will ever want to settle down?”
I knew she wanted perspective, or even just a pat on the back reassuring her that she was on the right track but instead I said, “Does it even matter?”
She is a good friend but often questions her impulsive lifestyle. She dates and hooks up with a multiple men a week and keeps it a secret from everyone. Well, everyone but me. She seems to be ashamed of her actions but continues to hook up with a lot of men and women.
“Do you feel like this is something you can’t control?”
“I could.” She said, “I just don’t want to right now.”
“And that’s exactly it.” I said.
“You said ‘right now’. So you already know this isn’t something you could realistically see yourself maintaining for the rest of your life.”
We all feel constant pressure from our friends and our family to “settle down.” As if that is the ultimate goal. We are seen as shiftless or directionless outside of a committed relationship. Whether it is your church or some movie that makes you feel guilty that you haven’t found “the one,” it is all unrealistic and unhealthy peer pressure. It seem so innocuous when you’re sitting at Thanksgiving dinner and Grandma looks over and says, “So when are you going to settle down and find a nice boy.” And you know she means well. Most people do. Most people who love you simply want to see you happy. But the truth is, it is really just a not-so-subtle message telling you that your life is not complete without the company of another person.
Each of us has to find our own path. Some of us find our direction when we are teenagers. Some of take a little longer. But most of us spend our lives in a low-level panic, desperately looking for advice. This is our journey and the end goal of happiness will never be achieved by the pushing, shaming, and guilt trips from well-intentioned friends and relatives.
What people seem to forget is that who were are, what we put back into the world, and ultimately, our happiness is not derived from our marital status. Being “single” isn’t some kind of scarlet letter nor is it indicative of our worth or lack thereof. Plenty of single people in this world are charming and compassionate and funny and intelligent and beautiful and just because they don’t have a partner, doesn’t mean that they’re not out there learning who they truly are, what is good for their soul, and how to be a better person. Focusing on ourselves without the influence of another person is a good thing because learning to be okay on our own is a good thing. And that is how we find the confidence to show the world who we truly are on the inside.
Date whomever you like and how ever many people you like. Do it for a month, or a year, or the rest of your life. Date or don’t date. But learn to be okay with who you are when you are alone despite the accusations and guilt trips of others. Anyone who truly loves you and understands your soul should ever make you feel lousy for being independent.
So does it really matter? No. Yes? Maybe? Who cares. Who cares is everyone but the only person impacted by the situation, which is you. And if you’re worried about being single, well then, start looking. But understand this – only when you discover who you truly are, will you be able to effectively open up to another human, allow them inside, and be able to accurately describe the scenery.