This is a big week for me! This week marks one full year that I have been single–the first full year I’ve been single in my adult life. Between the ages of 19 and 26, I never went more than 2-3 months without a boyfriend or being in some type of dating relationship with a guy. I wouldn’t call myself a serial dater, but I was somewhat of a relationship junkie. There is nothing wrong with being in love and building a relationship with a special person, but for me, I realized that special person needed to be myself for a while.
When my last relationship ended around this time last year, my natural instinct was to start dating again immediately. However, I began to realize that this single time was well overdue, and that part of me had been wanting it consistently for the past 7 years. As the months of singledom progressed, I began to realize that I could now make small and big decisions for myself and no one else: where to live, what to do with my free time, who to hang out with, how to spend my money, whether or not to change my career, whether or not to pursue a law degree, where to pursue that degree, where to travel, and how long to travel.
If I am a former relationship junkie, then this last year has been my detox. I feel happier, stronger, and more grounded than I’ve felt in a while. It’s like I finally have a clear head to accomplish goals I’ve always held in the distance. Below are a few decisions I’ve made and things I’ve done, unhindered by the ties of a relationship, in the last year:
1-Moved into my first “adult” studio apartment solo, bought furniture I liked, and decorated it how I wanted.
2-Started playing guitar again regularly.
3-Trained for and ran a full marathon while raising over $2,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in the process, thanks to the generosity of my friends and family!
4-Traveled to Africa solo and camped in the wild.
5-Applied to law schools.
6-Finally learned how to ski – thanks Valerie! 🙂
7-Left my job in finance.
8-Celebrated my best friend’s marriage as her maid of honor.
9-Decided where to go to law school.
10-Planned a 3 month trip to 3 different continents, mostly solo.
11-Started a blog, something I never thought I would do.
12-Proceeded to sell and box up all aforementioned furniture and decorations and move out of dream apartment into storage unit.
13-Embarked on aforementioned trip solo, exploring Southeast Asia and now exploring Peru and Bolivia.
14-Relied more on my friends for support, encouragement, and laughter. In a lot of ways, having a boyfriend made me a lazy friend. I am sure not everyone in a relationship is guilty of this, but I think I certainly was. I now appreciate my (girl and guy) friends more than I ever have, and I feel like (hopefully) I’ve become a better friend now that I have had more energy to pour into my friendships.
15-Used dating as a learning process. Being single doesn’t mean I haven’t been dating. The process of dating in NYC can be exhausting, but it’s helped me realize even more what I absolutely do and do not want in a future partner. So I consider the process to be highly informative and (usually) fun.
While I’ve always been independent, this year has made me more confident in my ability to make my own choices about my path in life. Perhaps there will come a time when my goals will align well with someone else’s, and a relationship will be a natural, positive development and not require undue compromise on either part. While I love being single, I am sure I will welcome that time when it comes. For now, I want to enjoy these days of being accountable to and responsible for no one else but myself. And to enjoy these days of jamming out to Beyonce’s “All My Single Ladies”!