These thoughts, I have them too. Sometimes when I leave the bathroom in my laced velvety underwear and catch a glimpse in the mirror. When the ends of my hair reflect the moonlight in daytime, or when I look at the shape of my nails and listen to the sound they make on the keyboard. I think — how nice it would be to have someone to witness it with, to wear it for. I, too, fear wasting away. I, too, feel lonely at times. When the voices inside my head get the better of me and I wonder how nice it would be to have somebody else to ground me, when my bed feels a bit too big for my 110 pounds, or when the clock strikes midnight on New Years’ Eve.
I read recently that the number of single people in their twenties and thirties is reaching unprecedented levels and it’s no wonder that singledom is often portrayed as the time of your life. As one big, delicious, flirtatious, scented-candled rave into self-care and simultaneously a treasure hunt into the sexuality of the other gender. Well, I hate to be the one to tell you, it is not. It could be at times, but not for the most part. Having said that, I truly do believe that having found THE ONE at age 23 is not the epiphany of life either.
I don’t like how singletons masquerade their situation but it is only because of the way they are made to feel by their not so single peers. I had a friend say to me the other night “Oh god, it must be awful to be single”. And actually, frankly, until she said it, it had not occurred to me that it could be that bad. I honestly do not understand how it has turned into something to be ashamed of, when from where I am standing, it is something to be proud of. The fact that I manage to cope with the stresses that life throws at me on my own, the fact that I don’t seek the approval of a partner to feel worthy, the fact that I can relax into the times when I am alone, instead of trying to crowd them up?
There was a time when I was actively in search for love. The dating apps? I had them all. And one day, suddenly, I felt repelled by the idea. I realised that I wasn’t on a search for love, I was on the hunt for approval. And that the kind of serendipitous catch of an eye that turns into a night that turns into a day will not happen to you when your height is arranged to be of a perfect match. Or even if it does, that I don’t want it to.
Maybe it is a part of my nature, and I will never be able to look up from my novel in the metro to see a handsome stranger gazing at me and not think that THIS IS IT. But I am definitely no longer trying to “find love”. If it hasn’t found me yet, then I must not be ready for it. So, instead, I want to focus on finding me. But “finding me” no longer means “making me perfect”— trying to cram myself with knowledge, trying to add an extra training session, trying to eat a diet consisting solely of kale and soya beans. Because that too seems to be an effort with the same subconscious goal in mind— to be more liked.
Finding “me” means allowing myself to experience all those things that make loving relationship beguiling— an excuse to wake up at 1pm on Sunday, a double layered confidence in my natural hair, chunks of time that are left to be experienced with no other goal in mind except that of “being”.
I think single people should seriously stop selling their misery as the time of their lives, but so should couples. Both have their highs and lows, both are perfectly acceptable, both come at a specific time of your life for a reason. I know that many people are scared of loneliness, but what increasingly scares me more and more is spending this precious time that I have, chasing something for the wrong reasons — to bring someone to dinner, to boost my self-esteem, to take a photo for the #gram. I have decided that instead I will use the old golden recipe of focusing on what I do have. And what is that? It is the growingly pleasing company of the present moment attended by my true self.