After a productive Sunday of running, cleaning, dog walking and meal prepping, what I really wanted was a glass of wine. What I really needed was to write. So as most responsible adults do, I did both. After the hostess said she’d hold a table for 10 minutes for us, Lucy and I raced down to Toast, one of my favorite Upper West Side hangouts. I ordered some Pinot just as the sun was setting and the half-moon was making it’s debut in the sky. And though I had deadlines to meet, articles and galleries to edit, plans to make and blogs to write, I took a moment and just looked up.
And for the first time, in a very long time, I felt so comfortable, so happy, so secure in my own skin, I impressed myself. Here I was, 25-years-old and having dinner by myself on a Sunday evening, outside in the city that I love, with a pup that catches the attention of every single person that walks by. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have had the confidence or the independence to sit alone and enjoy a meal. Much less, sit pretty for more than two hours.
In fact, in the years — almost three now! — that I’ve been single, I’ve learned just about everything that I wanted to learn when I first started this blog. And while 2013 pushed me to the extreme in every area of my life, 2014 has proven the true power of hope. And of faith. And of believing in the unknown, just like I’ve always had the courage to do. Writing about being single doesn’t give me an advantage as much as it puts me at a disadvantage in dating. Everything I think, feel and have experienced in my love life is splashed across the internet, well-read by many and quoted by some. But while I hesitate to share my last name too soon into getting to know someone, I’m never embarrassed by the path it took to get here, and the things I’ve learned about being single along the way. To name a few:
1. (I Hate to Admit This) But It’s Fun to Be Single (Sometimes)
Not always and not mostly, but sometimes having zero obligation to someone else is not only convenient, it’s liberating. There are days when I don’t wake up until 11 a.m., don’t talk to anyone but Lucy and don’t think twice about being selfish with my plans. And if I happen to meet someone that I click with, it’s surprising and it’s interesting. At least for a few dates, anyway. And if it’s not, I know I have many beautiful parts of my life – friends, travel, a rewarding job, an exciting place to live – to enjoy instead.
2. Friends Are So Much More Important Than Men.
Yes of course, once you get married things change. But while we’re all dating, mating, attempting to relate to one another and figuring it all out as we go, the friendships you cherish are the ones you invest in. While everyone is on their own path and going through different things, having women that you connect with on a daily basis not only makes you feel less crazy, but reminds you of all the reasons you’re wonderful, too. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while being single (that I’m determined to carry on once I meet someone) is not letting a man monopolize my time. You can’t become so consumed with one person that you forget about the special ladies who helped you become the person you are.
3. For Heaven’s Sake, Don’t Settle.
Seriously though, don’t. It’s so incredibly tempting when a man isjust about right. Or just about turns you on. Or is just about what you’re looking for. Here’s the thing: the man you ultimately end up with won’t be everything you’re looking for but when you meet him and get to know him, you won’t list all the reasons he’s wrong. You might see that he’s not quite as tall or quite as romantic or quite as successful as you would have hoped, but you’re able to see past it. If you have to convince yourself to date someone, you shouldn’t be dating him.
4. You Really Can Do Anything.
Not that you can’t once you’re in a relationship, but there’s something about doing everything by yourself that’s so satisfying. Like paying and carrying your groceries and laundry, budgeting, watching Game of Thrones, booking vacations (and going on them), and everything else. When you’re single, you figure out just how much you can do without help of anyone. I will surely look forward to the day when I can score a great one bedroom that I split with another person (whom I also share a bed with) but for now, I’m really happy with where I am. (And also really happy with the great arms I have from all the heavy lifting.)
5. Men Are People, Too.
Some are dogs. Some will lead you on. Some will never let go. Some will break your heart and some will inspire you. But more than they are lovers or could-be husbands or that person that buys you flowers and likes how you look naked, they are people. People with stories, with strengths, with weaknesses. With a history and a hope for the future, with different motivating factors and different nationalities. They are very simply: just people. And when you’re looking for one of those people to date, they should not just be some idea in your head, they should be someone that you value and respect as a person.
And hopefully, they’ll think the same of you because more than you’re a single woman or a girl who works in digital media or a girl with a dog in New York City or a girl with a blog or anything else: you’re a person. A person who is living – and thriving! – independently.