When single in your 20s, single despite authentically embracing the concept of commitment, you can hold your head high. You don’t need to embark on strolls in the rain, set to a dramatic soundtrack (as tempting as that surely sounds), and you don’t need to pontificate on whether you will end up being alone forever and ever. It’s completely understandable to crave a romantic connection with another, but sometimes, we have to float in limbo. I know that I’m floating. And it’s okay.
And in attempts to put a positive spin on the portrait of a single twenty- something, if you’re single because you’re holding out for a relationship that feels real and right, the pure opposite of simply settling, then that’s what counts. I like feeling butterflies – not the uneasy kind, where you’re not comfortable – but the kind where we know this could be something. We could be something. I like the rich orange and black monarchs that ignite an internal buzz. They induce a glittering sparkle at the prospect of being together. They’re pretty sunsets and cups of hot cocoa and cheesy pop music. On a deeper level, they’re not fragmented pieces that will complete you. They’re whole. We’re two wholes who can move forward together.
Some view the cautionary approach as pickiness, but I tend to see it as smart. And while nothing in life is ever a sure thing, why become emotionally invested in a relationship that you don’t wholeheartedly believe in from the start?
You’re not seeing that girl just because you’d rather have someone fill the hours of the day, or the empty void that could be fulfilled within yourself; you’re not dating that guy who’s verbally abusive and controlling, but who is better than the alternative – being with nobody. Unhealthy situations render concern, nothing else.
In my sophomore year of college, my psychology professor highlighted a particular sentiment on the white board, underlined and all. Crisis = Growth. “Change is growth,” he enthused. “If you’re with someone now, break up with them.” I remember feeling a bit startled at those words, not only because he felt so strongly about that notion, but because I was 19 and just had my heart broken. Badly. He preached a ‘call to action,’ and I’ll never forget how that made me smile when I haven’t been doing much smiling during that time.
In a similar vein, being single = growth. Learning from experiences that don’t pan out into relationships = growth.
You can wait for your pretty sunset.