Sometimes I feel like I have an obligation to my single friends to remain single, so when they feel badly about being single they can think, “Well, Bex is single too,” and they can feel better about being single.
This thought didn’t occur because I think I’m awesome and some man ought to have snapped me up by now, but more because I’m ok with being single and I want my single friends who might not be ok with being single to feel better about being single by seeing someone who is ok with being single (I hate this sentence).
It’s The Holidays; that daunting time when between Hanukkah, Kwanza, and Christmas extended families gather together and plenty of people begin to feel the pressure. There is pressure to get everyone an appropriate gift; there is the pressure to look a certain way; there’s the pressure to be jolly and happy all the time; there’s the pressure to cook the right thing or bake the right dessert; there’s the pressure of guilt of not being able to be with one part of your family; there’s the pressure from family members (‘Why haven’t you gotten your Ph.D. yet?’ ‘Why aren’t you married?’). The Holidays put a lot of stress on people.
For many people with real, grown-up jobs, there’s work pressure as well. In the rush to get everything done before the holiday vacation things can slip through the cracks, people can put extra stress on themselves to make sure that doesn’t happen and end up over-checking everything and having regular panic attacks.
Then there’s present shopping. I hate malls as it is, but malls between Thanksgiving and New Years makes me crazy. I have zero desire to go anywhere near a shopping center at this time of year. There’s never anything worth getting and there certainly isn’t anything worth getting plowed down by an industrial baby stroller for or trampled for when the doors open at midnight.
There’s a lot of stress surrounding the month of December (especially this December what with the world ending this week and all). Not being in a relationship really shouldn’t be one of those factors.
I mean, the majority of us, as the sitcoms teach us, have an abundance of love in our lives in the form of friends and family. And even if we are not physically near those people around the holidays (I, for example, am upwards of thousands of miles from some of my most beloved “family”) we can still spread joy and love; we can let each other know that we are thinking of our loved ones and that we appreciate them through cards and presents, the Internets and the Postal Service. (Sidenote: don’t neglect your mail carrier around the holidays; they appreciate gifts.) There is plenty to be thankful for and plenty to appreciate around this time of year even without a man or a woman by your side.
And, I think we all know this. Single, committed, heartbroken, I think, like knowing cigarettes are bad for you, I think we all know that it’s ok to be single. Which is Reason #1 why the above statement is stupid. I am not the World’s Greatest Single Person, by any means. I am no real role model. I don’t want my friends looking up to me and using me as their “Main Excuse Person“, nor would I expect them to; I have much more faith in my friends’ security and sanity than that.
Reason #2 is a little more personal: it comes down the fact that I don’t necessarily want to be single. I’m still alright with it, but I also think it would be a fun experiment to actually date someone in a traditional sense. My entire adult life as of now has been so qualified and disjointed, constantly moving, constantly recreating my social circle, constantly having hyper-intense relationships that are “safe” because they are destined to end along with the season. The seasonal life encourages short-lived, not-serious relationships, embraces them, you could say. It fosters superficial attachments, dresses them as real ones, ones that hurt just as badly as real ones when they fall apart. I think it would be fun to finally find some sort of Grown-Up Job and live in one place for a minimum of six months and maybe date like an adult and not like an overgrown teenager.
Oddly enough, it is the Holiday Season that is making this Life Plan more and more attractive. I have spent the last two months at either my parents’ house, my brother’s house or my sister’s house. And as much as I love spending time with these people (and I love the lack of monetary rent that I pay in each location) I would really like a place of my own. A place where I can spend my own time and not have to worry about making up for my freeloading in other ways. Also, having a steady Grown-Up Job would mean a steady income with which I would be able to pay my student loans and phone bill with better regularity and buy Christmas presents for my nieces and nephews. I could, also, if I weren’t a seasonal gypsy, potentially, feel better about starting a Real Relationship with the man I’d like to start a Real Relationship with (Reason #3 why the above statement is stupid).
I suppose the main thing to keep in mind is what Colin says in An Abundance of Katherines:
The future is unpredictable.
And that is also ok. As long as you know what makes you happy and you actively seek out those things, then the rest doesn’t matter. The rest will take care of itself. I enjoy baking, reading, crossword puzzles, walks, spider crabs, narwhals, Pilates, dancing, coffee, science fiction, travelling, writing, martinis, talking with friends, talking with my sister about religion, cats, cartoons, chocolate, painting, baseball, art, the ocean, boats, planes, trains, Jorges Luis Borges, Jane Austen, Neil Gaiman, Joanne Harris, crime shows, high heels, getting my ears pierced, owls, talking to kids, sleeping, eating, breathing, smiling, laughing, and not knowing what tomorrow is going to bring. These things make me happy more than they cause me panic. I’m going to stick with them.