holidays engagement season
It’s that time of year my friends, somehow between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, half of the world’s population will get engaged. Awesome.
As a perpetually single person, I mean that “awesome” in the most sarcastic way possible. However, as a person who loves love, and loves many of the people getting engaged, I mean that “awesome” in the most earnest, genuine way that I can.
There’s a part of me that chokes with disgust and chagrin every time I hear of a newly engaged couple despite the fact that I recently realized that I am actively choosing to be single. So last night, I found myself wide awake in the early hours of the morning trying to sort through my feelings, trying to understand how I could love love, not want to be in love, and still at times be envious of the love that other people have.
I’m still figuring it out, but here’s what I have. Being single, even though you choose to be, is really hard. Take note: I’m not saying getting married is easy; I know that’s not the case because almost everyone who is getting married is quick to make it known what a difficult, but well worth it, path they are on.
No one wants to hear that from the single person though. Our society, especially that of the South, makes it okay to blame a single person for his or her misfortunes and struggles because that’s not the idealistic norm. I get it, our society often times also attacks young people who are getting married, I’m not here to compare, I just think we single people deserve our voices heard too.
Every time I see a Facebook status about how stressful wedding planning is, I roll my eyes. I know, I get it, I’m a horrible person, whatever. Moving on. Last night however, I realized every time I complain about being single I am being ridiculously hypocritical, so know, I’m aware of how horrible it is that I’m writing this. I can’t stop myself though. I’m a product of a generation who thinks it needs to be heard. I’m a product of English classes that taught me to love to write. I’m trying to stop my fingers from continuing, but they just won’t. I digress. The wedding planning statuses annoy me because these people complaining made the decision to get married; but let’s face it, those of us who are single, ultimately made that decision too.
Yet everybody loves chiming in words of encouragement, excitement, and pride for that whiny wedding planner. Sorry, maybe I want some of those encouraging words. Maybe I want someone to walk up to me and tell me that they’re so proud of me for being brave enough to face the future completely clueless and alone, and they’re excited by my independence. Maybe I just want my fair share of time with the magic talking stick; I’ve got complaints too, and remember I think I deserve the world to hang on my every word. I am a squeaky wheel, and sometimes I need oil.
So now the balls in my court, just for a few moments, I want to shed some light on what I think, and then I’ll give the talking stick back. I don’t need it very long.
Deep in the throws of complaining about being single, you hear girls say things like, “I just want someone to cuddle with,” or “I just want someone who will be my best friend.” Those are great benefits of finding the one true love of your life. The cuddling can’t possibly be better than when it is with the man or woman of your dreams, who just happens to also be your best friend.
However, the issue goes much deeper. Those are things we single people can, and should, get over. We chose this life, remember that guys. Plus, comparison is the thief of joy, and comparing yourselves to your friends in committed relationships is just going to exhaust you.
What makes being single in your twenties most difficult, is the same exact thing that makes everything difficult in your twenties. You actually have no idea what you’re doing with your life. Now all you committed relationship people are literally outraged. You’ve thrown your phones, laptops, or tablets across the room in disgust. You’re going to track me down via my IP address, and force me to eat stale Cheetos while watching Family Matters reruns for days as punishment for wasting your time. You’re thinking, “That’s it? That’s what this girl has to complain about!? We have no idea what we’re doing either!”
And maybe you don’t. But when you stare out into your future, you see something; you see that significant other. You have at least one stable, comforting constant in your life. When I stare out into my future, I see overwhelming darkness, an abyss of absolute uncertainty.
When you lie awake at night, your mind restless with thoughts of the future, you eventually remind yourself that you have someone by your side, who will be there forever, and that feeling of stability calms you just enough to fall asleep. When I lie awake at night, my mind restless with thoughts of the future, I eventually fall asleep after exhausting my body by force of panic stricken tears. (I know, there’s a percentage of you who will want to comment, “but we all have God,” and if you’re in that percentage then just think of it like relationship people have two constants, and single people have one constant. Also, remember I already admitted to the hypocrisy of my words.)
When you go home for the holidays and need to distract your family from the fact that you wasted thousands on college tuition and can’t find a job other than working at Forever 21 at the local mall, you remind them that you’re engaged, and that is such an accomplishment in itself that they no longer remember your lack of a career future. When I go home for the holidays, I have to distract my family from my pathetic plight with a weird sweater, or by spilling turkey gravy on my dress at the most strategic moment.
Us single people try to spin the whole “unknown future” thing in our favor. We say things like, “I’m unattached and free to go wherever I want,” and “I don’t have to worry about other people, I can have fun doing what I please.” Those are perks for sure. In fact, those are often the reasons that we’re choosing to be single. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy though, and if committed relationship people are allowed, even expected, to break down sometimes, then so are we, that’s all I’m saying guys. If I’m expected to be empathetic and understanding to your wedding planning stress and the criticism that you receive for getting married young, then please be empathetic to my situation as well.
That’s all I’ve got guys. I’m passing the talking stick off to someone else. My time of complaining is done. Cheers to you if you’re getting engaged or married soon. I’m happy for you and excited for you. Cheers to you if you’re single and have no sign of a committed relationship in your near future either. I’m proud that you’re using this time to learn how to be independent and excited that you get to love just yourself right now. Cheers to you if you fall somewhere in between. I’m ecstatic that you don’t find yourself in one of these extreme situations, and I understand that you’ve go things to complain about too. Cheers to us all because now that I’ve got my feelings out, I can let you know, the envy, the jealousy, the sadness, or whatever other emotions you’re harboring are not worth holding on to.
What are you guys thinking? Let me know in the comments below. If you have complaints and emotions you need to let go of, leave them in the comments, leave them in a blog post of your own, or leave them in a conversation. Just let them go.
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