“The thing about being single is… you should cherish it.”
I recently watched a movie on a flight called “How To Be Single,” and although the movie itself wasn’t the best that I’ve ever seen, the message behind the movie left me thinking.
We live in a society where instead of viewing single life as the norm or the rule, being single has become the exception to the rule.
We introduce ourselves with our relationship status and we judge others based on theirs. A strong, independent, career-driven woman is valued less than her taken or married counterparts due only to her lack of a partner.
We literally have the rest of our lives to be in a relationship and yet we walk through life searching and hoping to find love. We idolise the couples and relationships that we see in the movies or on TV, and somehow convince ourselves that this is what happiness looks like. As though romantic love is the only thing that can lead to “happily ever after.”
The irony of the movie is that even the so-called “single” life of the lead female character revolves around the relationships she has (or lacks) with various men. Even this movie ABOUT being single shows us as an audience, that our lives should depend on the partners that we may or may not have.
And therein lies the problem.
Being in a relationship is so strongly glamourized in popular culture that we are made to feel as though there is something wrong with us if we are not in one.
Well, I’m here to tell you that this is wrong.
My relationship status with another human being doesn’t determine my worth. And it doesn’t determine yours either.
I don’t need to be loved by a man in order to love myself. That is something we as a society need to unlearn.
Starting at the age of 15, I jumped from relationship to relationship, from man to man. And now here I am, nearly 23 years old, and I have found myself single for basically the first time in my life. And you know what, it’s not horrible or depressing the way movies may have made you believe.
As a matter of fact, it’s really fun.
I don’t say this in the cliché way some people do when they are trying to recover from a break up and are trying to convince themselves that it’s the best thing that has ever happened to them. I actually truly believe it.
Being single has given me the opportunity to really figure out who I am and what I actually care about. It’s given me the time to learn how to love myself instead of always giving that love to someone else. I’ve grown as a person, and I’ve learned more about myself than I ever thought was possible. I’m happy alone, which is something I’m not sure I could have said a year ago.
And now, if and when I decide that I want to have a partner, at least I’ll know who I am, and what I want. Or what I don’t want.
I thought my last relationship was going to be my last one ever, but looking back I realise how truly naïve this was. As a young, single, independent woman, I can do anything I want (within the boundaries of sexism, classism, racism etc. because unfortunately being single doesn’t get rid of those things or I guarantee you none of us would ever settle down). I can make decisions about my career, travel, or life in general without consulting anybody else, and I think this is something that single people take for granted.
I’m not telling you that love isn’t great, or that having someone in your corner doesn’t feel amazing. It does. I’m not telling you that I don’t believe in love, because I’m “way too young to be that cynical.”
And I hope that I will find it someday.
But I’m happy that that day isn’t today, and there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be happy too.
Sure, having that one person you love more than anything is great, but wouldn’t it be amazing, if just for a little while, the person you gave that love to, was yourself?