Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Being Single, Being Okay, and Pigs

I am 23. I've never been on a date. I've never had a boyfriend. I am okay with that.

To be honest, I’m not sure that I’d know what having a boyfriend entails. Do you have to hang out with them all the time? How do you plan all these activities to do? When do you kiss? When do you hold hands? When do you say I love you? How are you supposed to act in front of his friends? His family? Should you cook for him?

This is all really stressful stuff to think about. For me, it’s easier not to have a boyfriend.

I remember a time, when I liked a guy. I decided to go bowling with him and some friends. I spent the whole day prepping for the occasion. It was prom all over again. I washed. I shaved. I applied. I curled. It was a four or five hour routine so I could roll an eleven-pound ball down a slick wooden runway. I was shaking. I was sweating. It wasn't a date but that didn't stop it from feeling like one. I tried to relax but couldn't. I remember buying a beer at the bowling alley, hoping it would calm my nerves. It didn't. We went out for pizza afterwards. I wanted to eat seventeen pieces but I settled for one. Didn't want to look like a pig in front of my crush. We drove home and ended up drinking at my house but soon, everyone got tired and I headed to bed. My crush stayed the night (in the living room FYI) but left the next morning before I woke up. Great story huh?

It was ridiculous to be so stressed about the situation but if dating someone is even remotely similar to the scenario above, count me out. When you've spent your entire life being single, it’s hard to see yourself as anything but. You get used to being alone. The day was fun but it was also torture.

Guys, in general, scare the crap out of me. If I find one even slightly attractive, I want to get away from him as quickly as possible. How many girls do you know who think that way? None, because most girls are out there looking for guys like it’s the end of the world and we’re running out of Twinkies. We all know what happened when they stopped making Twinkies for five seconds.

Personally, I never really liked Twinkies all that much and being single doesn't bother me that much. I've watched people younger than me get married, move into apartments, get pregnant and start down the same road many couples have traveled. I've also seen couples get married and then divorce a year later because they didn't take the time to get to know each other. I've known girls who got pregnant when they were still kids themselves. I've met people who will live their entire life in the same place and never question what else is out there.

That is not me.

I am not going to marry the first guy who comes along and shows interest in me. I’m not going to give up my dream of moving to the city or finding a career I’m passionate about. I’m not going to stop traveling and seeing the world. I’m not going to go broke racking up debt for things I can’t afford. I’m not going to settle.

I’m going to share something for anyone willing to listen: Getting married and/or having children does not make you an adult. Though, a lot of people think it does. I am an adult because I have earned the title by being responsible but sometimes I mess up when it comes to taking care of me. That is how I know I’m not ready to be responsible for someone else. That is what marriage and a family is about. It’s being responsible for someone other than just you. When you get married, it’s not about you anymore. It’s about you and your spouse. You become one and every decision you make should be about what is best for both of you. It continues on like this until you have children. After that, it’s not about you and your spouse anymore; it’s about your children and what is best for them.

That is the cycle. Step 1: Stop being selfish so you can be a good spouse. Step 2: Stop being selfish to be a good parent. Bonus Step 3: You should never reverse the cycle. Take your time with these steps as they are not accomplished overnight.  Instead, we believe there is some pattern we have to follow in a certain amount of time. We must not fall behind. We must not let anyone get ahead of us. Somewhere in that logic, the foundation for building a strong marriage and having a family is lost.

You search for someone to marry, not someone to love. Then when you feel unloved, you have a child, hoping to fill the void. A few years down the road and a few kids later, the bills are piled high and the void has only grown. You couldn't afford kids and yet, you had them. You spend all your time fighting with your spouse and can’t handle it so you get a divorce but divorce isn't what’s best for your children. It's what's best for you. Ask any kid whose parents got divorced. You start to be selfish and it reverses the whole cycle and you've already forgotten step 3. 

Being selfish isn't always bad. It’s a basic human instinct but when you decide you are old enough to be married and have children, you give up your right to always put yourself first. Don’t like the sound of that? Then you are not ready for the commitment.  

I’m single. I do whatever I want, when I want. In the last year alone, I've paid off my college loan and bought a brand new car that yes, I can actually afford. I got to be there for the birth of my first nephew. I've saved up money and I’m crossing a trip to New York City off my bucket list soon. At the end of the summer, I’m going to see one of my favorite artists in concert. 

Sometimes, I go to the movie alone. It’s cheaper. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t do it. I get to be completely selfish and I don’t feel any guilt for that. I’m not out making bad choices or ruining my life. I’m just trying to enjoy it. Sometimes I get bored or lonely but then I remind myself that once I go down that road, there is no going back. I know it will be a beautiful road to travel someday but not yet. I’m not ready to give up my carefree life and I refuse to let anyone make me feel like I'm behind, even myself. I’m often asked if there are any prospects in my life, meaning men. No, there aren't but that doesn't make me sad. It makes me feel strong to know that my happiness doesn't depend on anyone else but me. On the plus side, I can eat as many pieces of pizza as I want and not care if I look like a pig. Pigs can be happy creatures.

Until I find my pig soulmate,