This Valentine’s Day, I’m single. Last Valentine’s Day, I was single. The Valentine’s Day before that….you guessed it…I was single. As I reflect on this particular area of my life today, as I rackingly do most days, there is a foundational question that plagues the souls of single twenty-somethings everywhere. The question itself is pan cultural while the answer may be subject to very specific influences. It is the question most fundamental to introspection and what makes this day the slightest bit meaningful. You probably know what it is: Why?
Why am I single? Why are you single? Why am I in a relationship? Why am I married? Why am I in love? Why is love so hard? Why does this happen? Why does that not happen? Why does a simple holiday meant to celebrate love have the power to torture people? The simplicity of asking why is what makes it so complex. The answer has no cause, it is the cause. For some, asking why might be the one thing they completely avoid because answering it requires the most vulnerable form of confrontation. Confronting someone else over a “what” or a “how” is hard enough, but confronting yourself in search of “why?”…pass the rum please.
There’s a sense of freedom that comes from answering why, despite the fact that you have to emotionally suffer the trials of Job and slay a breathing dragon in order to get it. People say that nothing worth having comes easy. I beg to differ given that I have quite a few things worth having that have come relatively easy. My view is that nothing worth having is superficial. The true meaning, the why, is found in the depths of the elements in our lives that are worth it. This brings me to my why.
Why am I single?
The reality is, I’m single because I choose to be. It’s somewhat of a conscious decision, not completely. Many of our choices are tied to certain ideals that we uphold. In this way, our core values and beliefs intertwine with our power of choice to make up who we are. I’m single because I choose to be consistent. I know many people who are rarely single on Valentine’s Day, but each year they have a different Valentine. I’m single because I don’t want that. I know many people who consider themselves single with the label hinging on the technicality that they’re not in a committed relationship, but that doesn’t stop them from seeing people or dating. Is that really single? If there’s always a guy or girl in your life, you’re not single, you just don’t want to be with yourself. Being truly single is hard, much like committed relationships can be hard. Both require a level of sacrifice and vulnerability that most people would consider extremely uncomfortable. Perhaps being truly single is intentionally, and purposefully removing the distraction of dating for the purpose of really getting to know yourself. There seems to be this unspoken pressure to define singleness as dating around for the sake of doing so. It’s fun, it’s enjoyable, and it keeps us distracted from ourselves. But what if the purpose of being single is to develop ourselves and take care of our baggage in order to even have the ability to pursue something worth having; something with a deep and meaningful why? I’m single because I’m getting to know myself, and I’m a handful. There’s only one girl who’s ever impacted me in such a way that she enhances my why, and she knows I’m a handful too. The full blow of unrequited love is only experienced in the midst of true singleness, like a jab that cuts through the air with no wall of distractions to protect you. It hits you dead center of the chest shattering the cage around your heart without needing a key. I’m single because I believe that true love is the only reason not to be. I’ve been knocked out but I’ll get up and get back to training. When I’m ready to fight, hopefully my training pays off and someone will see me as a worthy match up. The mechanism of love is giving, and I want to give her a why.
So, this Valentine’s Day, I challenge you to ask yourself the tough question. First find your “why”, then the “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, and “how” will follow.
It all starts with a single question.