With my 28th birthday approaching rapidly, my family and friends have taken to convincing me that I need to find a girlfriend ASAP. You know, as if I don't write about dating and relationships for a living and whatnot.
Of course, they're just trying to be supportive and are looking out for me, but it's not like I don't know how my life looks. I'm living it, aren't I?
It's funny … when you first become single, your friends couldn't be happier for you. But be single for one too many years, and all of a sudden everyone you know begins to get concerned.
Honestly? I'm more concerned when a friend serial dates than I am when a friend has been single for 5 years.
Like most people, I'm single not because I can't find someone to date, but because I haven't found anyone I want to date. More than that, I'm at the point where other aspects of my life require more immediate attention than my love life does. I do a lot of shit. I'm always looking for new projects, trying to make my mark on the world. Love for another is great and all, but there's much more in life to love than just one "special" person.
Being single gets more and more difficult with age. Partially because the longer you go, the smaller your pool of potential partners becomes, but also because the concern of your family and friends only increases in intensity as time goes on. If you think your mom is on your ass about being single now, give it a couple of years.
I like being single. I don't need to put someone else's needs ahead of my own. I don't need to make compromises. I don't need to work on a relationship because they all take work I don't need to put in right now. I can focus on doing me, and that's enough for now. When the time is right, I'm sure everything will fall into place. But in the meantime, I wish people would just take it down a notch.
There are some things you just shouldn't say to single people. I know you think you're helping, but you're not. Here are three of those things:
1. “You really need to find yourself someone.”
No. No we don't. No one ever needs to find someone.
Sure, we may want someone in our life, but truth be told, most of the times we so desperately want someone is because we're unhappy with our lives. We're unhappy with how things are turning out for us, so we figure if we can find someone to love, all of our problems will disappear.
The problem is real problems — not first-world problems, but real problems — don't just go away on their own. Falling in love may numb the pain, but problems always have a way of catching back up with you. Telling someone who's unhappy that they need to go find someone to share their life with is quite literally setting them up for further failure.
Oh, you're miserable? Here's an idea … let's find someone you can share in your misery with. That's a brilliant idea.
When it's time for you to meet someone, you'll meet that someone. Until that time, fix yourself. Change the things about your life that you have been wanting to change. Make decisions and move towards personal goals. The rest will fall into place when it's time. You can't rush destiny.
2. “If you don't make these changes, you'll never find someone.”
We get it … you think we have some work to do on ourselves before we should even bother finding the one. But if the changes all your friends and family are recommending you implement aren't aligned with the changes you have in mind, then fuck 'em. It's not what you want. Don't do shit you don't want to do just because others want you to do them.
Your problem isn't that you have unhealthy habits, you don't exercise, you don't go out of your way to socialize, you aren't working your dream job or living your dream life. Your problem is you haven't decided to make the changes you want to make yet. Or maybe you don't even know what it is you want? Be honest with yourself. Do you know what you want?
It's easy for us to say that we want to have this thing or that thing, we want to be with this type of person, or that type of person. What's most difficult is saying, “This is the type of person I want to be, not just today, but every day.”
You can listen to all the advice in the world, but until you decide to take the wheel, you'll never get your shit together. And if you don't ever get your shit together, you'll never be proud of yourself. Without pride, there is no confidence. And without confidence, it's incredibly difficult to attract the right person into your life.
3. “You're not getting any younger…”
And here we thought we were trapped in some Benjamin Button parallel universe. We know we're not getting younger. There's no need to remind us. In fact, reminding us how much time we've spent alone isn't helping in the slightest. Each year we go being single, in our minds, means one less year to find the right someone. Even if we're wise and know you shouldn't be counting that time as time lost, we still feel a tinge of sadness knowing we have yet to find love. Why would you want to bring us down?
Is that supposed to somehow jumpstart and motivate us to live our life the way you believe we ought to live it? Talk about kicking a person when they're down.
What you need to remember is life is what it has always been: An unstoppable force. The universe works the way it works, and it's going to continue working that way. As human beings, we have yet to understand even the tip of the galactic iceberg of knowledge.
The only thing we know for sure is that we have control over ourselves. We may never change the world, but we can change ourselves. We may never fix the world, but we can fix ourselves. We may never find love, but we can love ourselves.
Start with self and work your way out, not the other way around. I can't promise you that you will find love, but I can promise that if you become the person you want to be — a person you can love and be proud of — it'll be much more likely that you meet someone who feels the same way about you.