Reassurance: What Every Single Girl In This Generation Wants To Hear
Let me begin this article by saying it is easy for us all to preach a lot of wisdom in regard to relationships, love and independence.
More often than not, we know what we should be saying, thinking or how we should be acting. We know what is expected of us, or accepted as the right choice or mindset in our current culture.
But, despite our ability to determine where we should be at in our lives, we might not always honestly be there.
Sometimes we will work against our own advice, despite better judgment; sometimes we will be hypocrites.
When it comes to personal understanding of our lives and the state of our feelings, there is no right place to be. No single article, opinion, state or cultural trend can account for the grey area that makes up our human core.
With that said, I, myself, am someone who identifies as a strong, independent female with well-cemented values in regard to my romantic life and, more importantly, in my sense of self.
I have always prided myself in my ability to be confident and comfortable on my own, within the constantly shifting stages of my life.
Yet, if the past few years have taught me anything, it's that life isn't always comfortable.
It doesn't matter how strong, sensible or intelligent you may be, there will be many, perhaps countless, moments in which you feel anything but sensible.
While I often speak on topics of love and romance, and repeatedly stress the importance of embracing your independence and singledom, I can be entirely honest by saying there are times it can be easier said than done.
Sure, we read through a relentless list of dating articles, "X ways to get the person of your dreams" or, on the contrary, articles preaching exactly why we should love our time being single.
But, these opinions often fail to bring to light the sometimes uncomfortable in-between moments that often make up much of being young, single and occasionally confused.
As such, I think there are a few brutally honest things we single girls need to hear from time to time.
Firstly, being single isn't always as glamorous as we like to pretend it is. It's not all "Sex and the City" fun.
Even those of us who truly embrace being alone and revel in our independence can find ourselves occasionally feeling lonely or cast aside.
I can honestly say I love being single, but sometimes I hate it, too.
Sometimes, meeting the people we want to meet isn't as easy as it seems in an article or in a movie.
Between work, the gym, hobbies, personal demands and anything else that may consume our time, meeting someone we want to invest romantic time in can be more of a fantasy than a reality.
There will be nights spent with Netflix, in sweats, with food in hand that we long since "swore out" of our diet, in which we will find ourselves wishing we had someone else there, or perhaps thinking back to someone who once was there.
Sometimes we will have a really sh*tty day and silently wish we had someone at home to talk to about it, other than our (beloved) friends or family.
We will be third or fourth wheels, and perhaps there will be fleeting moments of jealousy as we admire the romantic lives of our friends and family.
There may even be moments in which that sick thought comes creeping into our consciousness, "Why do they get to be so happy? What about me? When will my time come?"
Look, nothing about that is crazy. I know that women, especially, get stuck with a bad rap for romance-induced insanity, but occasionally feeling distraught over your love life, or lack thereof at times, is what makes us human. Not crazy; just human.
Feelings of displacement are not reserved for people who generally crave relationships more than the independent latter; anyone can feel that way.
To set yourself up on a pedestal in which you think you should be unaffected by these passing feelings from time to time will only set you up to feel ashamed or guilty when the feelings do inevitably come.
Do yourself a favor and give yourself a break. More importantly, be honest with yourself. There is no need for judgement there.
Some nights, being single will be exactly what you want, and other days, the thought of third-wheeling your best friend's weekend plans again sends you spiraling into irrational idealizations of driving to the nearest shelter to adopt a pet companion before you "die alone."
Sometimes, you can admit, "this kind of sucks," if that's how you honestly feel. Being single is (literally) not all roses, after all.
To that reality, I can only suggest the following: Take it as it comes. We are young, and romantic timelines are no longer fixed. You will drive yourself mad trying to figure out the logic of the process.
Understand that while being single is a critical time in our lives, as it allows for the learning of self-love, independence and personal growth, being single can also be uncomfortable.
Secondly, despite any passionate values we might uphold or swear by, or opinions we may preach, we will make some entirely regrettable decisions within our romantic endeavors.
And despite our belief that we are good judges of character, we will also, at times, be tricked into believing someone is something he or she is not.
Feeling like you are caught in an existential romantic rut, or the regret of a less-than-stellar decision, doesn't define your value-set or our personal worth. It also doesn't effect the chances of you finding happiness along the way.
When you are slighted, it will hurt. When you feel rejection, it will hurt. When you have your heart broken, or break someone else's heart, it will hurt.
These feelings exist both within and outside of defined relationships and great loves.
But when someone hurts you, or you feel dragged down by the romantic process, don't carry that wound with you to tarnish the chance of moving on.
Don't wear your past heartbreak on your sleeve to stop you from opening your heart again.
Most importantly, don't change yourself and your approach to love at the hand of someone who didn't care enough to love you properly. Quite literally, you should always keep doing you.
Lastly, understand that dating is, generally speaking, a mixed bag of experiences. Some of us will love it, some of us will hate it.
Modern romance is a pretty complicated concept to swallow, and even the most confident individual may find him or herself overanalyzing an unanswered text, secretly making a dating profile or lurking a few Facebook profiles.
We may find ourselves irrationally picturing hypothetical relationships or dates and we may doubt ourselves, even when we have no reason to.
When we are in our early or mid-20s, despite being incredibly young, it's easy to find ourselves thinking, "Well, isn't this about the time things should start happening? Am I lagging behind?"
Sometimes, people may even ask us why we are single or why we aren't dating, and we will struggle to find the words.
The other day, I had an ex love interest ask me, "Why don't you have a boyfriend? You live in the city, after all. You should have one."
While I'm usually quick on my feet with a response, I found myself slightly stunted by that question. I mean, why the hell am I single? It is because I want to be, right?
Or is it because I have bad taste in men? Is it because I'm a workaholic? Do I need to go out more? Should I try to meet new people? Am I doing something wrong?
What I realized is, there is no right or wrong answer to that question because none of us are obligated to answer it.
We don't need to explain why we are at a certain point in our romantic or personal life, as long as we are okay with it.
The reason you are single could be one thing or it could be many, but it should not be looked on in a negative light, and it does not require constant justification.
We can have our irrational moments, a few lonely nights and some scathingly bitter jokes about what it's like to be a single girl in the 21st century.
And we can also enjoy our independence, the time we have to explore ourselves and the fun single nights out. There is no right way to be single.
All we can do is take each day as it comes, embrace it for what it is, be honest with ourselves and try not to get hung up on the details.
Being single isn't a sentence that's been handed to you. You aren't stuck in life's romantic purgatory, even if it may sometimes feel like it.
Enjoy the good days, acknowledge the bad days, stay calm, stay patient and remember that the best is likely yet to come.