Yes, Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and the “single” part of “Struggling Single Twenty-Something” is still valid.
This year I went to a bar with some coworkers who also didn’t have plans, and it was fun. We had some drinks, talked, and came up with reasons why we like being single and why we don’t like being in a relationship.
Except I had to guess on the last one, because I wouldn’t know.
It’s kind of embarrassing to admit it, but I’ve never had a boyfriend. I read a short story by Curtis Sittenfeld where the main character wonders “how people made the leap from not mattering in each other’s lives to mattering,” and that articulates a thought I’ve had much better than I could. (Incidentally, the main character in that story was a slightly crazy twenty-three-year-old who volunteers through a program that sounds really similar to the one I volunteer with, so that disturbed me a bit.) I hope a time comes when I feel differently, but right now I’m not feeling too good about the odds that I’ll ever a.) have a guy in my life who’ll become my best friend, b.) fall in love with him, c.) have him feel the same way, and d.) not have any factors (like distance, timing, etc.) get in the way.
Maybe I’m overly picky, but I don’t think that’s the point. I guess it’s that I don’t understand having a relationship if you know it’s going to end. You’re either going to spend the rest of your lives together or you’re going to break up, and if you’re going to break up…you’re wasting your time and possibly missing out on meeting someone better.
Of course, I could be overreacting, and a relationship that doesn’t last might be good for me after all. But I’m also thinking about something a friend said to me recently. When I told her that I’d never had a boyfriend, she said, “But you must have a really good sense of self.”
And that made me pause. That wasn’t the reaction I expected, but I kind of think she’s right. I am not the most confident person in the world, but “sense of self” isn’t an issue with me. Christina and I were talking tonight about how sometimes that’s the most important thing for getting you through hard times. Having someone else to depend on is great…but first you have to be able to depend on yourself. (Oh, yes, and I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside, you know?) And if you go from relationship to relationship without taking the time to be single, or even if you’re single but constantly thinking about how you want not to be, I think it’s pretty easy to lose yourself.
If I was going to write a song to describe my life right now, it wouldn’t be a love song. It would be more like that Jessica Andrews song, “Who I Am.” (You know, “I am Rosemary’s granddaughter/The spitting image of my father/And when the day is done my mama’s still my biggest fan.”) Too bad I can’t write songs. But if you want a concise description of my life, read my “About Me.” For a longer version…well, keep reading.