Inspired Thinker ψ Incorrigible Explorer ✈︎ Finding Purpose in Passion 生き甲斐
The Single Debate: Are You a Better Version of Yourself When You’re Alone..?
The heat is on. The clock is ticking. The fine lines are setting in and the hips have taken shape. All the biological signs are pointing towards having a baby, and yet, all the psychological ones are wanting to pursue anything but.
By 2021, I’ll have been single (and celibate) for 5 years, which isn’t necessarily a long time. However, when the half a decade hiatus began at the ripe age of 24, it can definitely be looked at questionably. After all, that’s when the hormones are still raging – you’re in the “prime of your life!” It all goes downhill after that. Or, so they say.
Truth is, after my last relationship ended, I made it my life’s mission to find myself again. A lot of people seem to need to do that, especially if the wounds left from that relationship cut deep. Emotionally, mine did. Whether it was my own doing, theirs, or a blend of the two, I needed time to figure out who I was again. – What music did I like? Films? Am I outdoorsy or indoorsy? Do I enjoy partying or reading in the peace and quiet? – After taking so much time trying to play handyman to a constantly fragile relationship, I appeared to have forgotten all of these things. I’d sacrificed all of my free time into fixing something that was irreversibly broken. But no more.
Unexpectedly, the things I learned about myself were a lot more dramatic than the simple questions I’d asked myself first and foremost. Although initially, the search began with small things like TV shows, books and music (which are still an absolute Godsend for escapism) what resulted was so much more. I realised I was braver than I ever knew. From jumping off cliff edges and soaring through the sky, picking up a pen and publishing my own book, solo travelling around the world, to diving in deep and creating my own range of teas, I haven’t only gotten over the pain, I’ve used it to grow as a person.
All the hurt, the frustration, the sadness, the passion. I took every ounce of it and used it to help shape every move I made ever since. And taking this moment to look back and see how far I’ve come (and how much I’ve changed) I simply can’t imagine going back. In fact, now I’ve come this far, the question of romance and relationships seems utterly implausible to me.
“To you I shall say, as I have often said before, Do not be in a hurry, the right man will come at last.” – Jane Austen
Of course, the fairytale idea of meeting somebody who enhances my life is something that does, occasionally, run through my mind. There’s no denying that even the strongest of us seek to share a secret part of ourselves with a like-minded other. Nevertheless, living in a day and age where finding a partner seems almost mandatory (and the absence of one is looked at with judgement) the quest for such a bond becomes somewhat…less romantic.
Dating apps, for example, are probably the most unromantic things ever invented. Suddenly, the organic process is gone. No longer are you investing your time into doing what you love, only to naturally cross paths with someone else following those same footsteps. Now, you are flicking through an endless catalogue of faces, having contrived chit-chat about the weather or food and then going on countless dates in search of that “spark”.
Perhaps, that is just my experience (and some of the experiences of others’ I’ve heard on the grapevine) but to me, making romance comparable to a cattle market just blurs the lines of what love is supposedly all about.
In my opinion, we don’t all fall in love. That’s not to say we don’t love at all. But, being “in” love with someone really is a totally different ballgame.
There’s a scene in “How to Be Single” that perfectly (and humorously) demonstrates why finding love is so hard.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of patience. It’s a virtue for a reason.
Going back to the headline curiosity – “are you a better version of yourself when you’re alone?” From my perspective, it seems that, yes, I am. No longer do I walk on eggshells and pick up pieces of my tattered heart from the ground. The lump that lived in my throat has now gone and the pain I once had in my chest has transformed into easy breathing. Never again do I want to go back to being that person. Let it be known that I do not need “completing”. I am not looking for “The One” – I am one. Should I ever join in union with another, though, I’d need to be damn sure that there was very little risk of losing that sense of identity. However, when it comes to this, there is an initial hurdle that may prove the biggest challenge to get over.
The longer you spend alone, the harder it becomes to willingly change it.
Plus, the thought of intimacy actually becomes a bit of a turn-off! However, that may also be down to my demisexual orientation, too. Seriously though, it really does happen. The longer you go without something, the less you desire it. That is until you meet someone who “reactivates” those feelings, per se.
With this in mind, let’s give this debate a fair hearing.
Have you ever spent a long period of time on your own? How do others approach you about it? Is your situation one of choice, circumstance or a combination of the two?
One remaining constant in all this though is time. No matter who you are or what walk of life you come from, time does have the power to heal. Yet, more importantly, that time must be used proactively. Thumb-twiddling has no bearing on change. If we want to heal, we have to keep moving. Life gives us the choice of paths, but it is up to us to walk the journey.