I’ve been in an on again, off again relationship for 2 years. It’s crazy when I say it out loud and think back to when I first met Nicholas ( 3 weeks before my 21st birthday) how absolutely convinced I was that the only thing I needed in my life was a devoted and steadfast boyfriend. Other people told me it was a terrible idea, “Why would you want a committed relationship when you’re young, don’t you know this is the time in your life where you become a serial dater and no one judges you for it? Why waste that?!” I scoffed at those people because, obviously, they didn’t understand that I
am was “wifey” material. You name it, I did it. I loved randomly surprising my BF with tiny gifts, breakfast in bed, game tickets, really anything and everything thoughtful, I did it. I could be one of the guys with any group of friends, impressive and accomplished around parents and bosses, and well… you know…when alone. I was not cut out for the casual “I’ll see you when I see you”, type of dating that our generation has perfected so it was kismet that I met him and that he wanted the same type of relationship that it seemed, I was built for.
And it was awesome. You know when people say “I think I was built to be a mother”,
and you roll your eyes because they’re full of shit , that’s how being a girlfriend was to me, until it wasn’t. Contrary to my someones personal opinion it wasn’t always a screaming match that left me shaken and emotional bruised. After fleeing the scene taking a job in New York I had to make some tough choices and I decided it was best if we took a break. It wasn’t him (although I’m sure if you asked anyone directly involved they’ll say the choice to be friends for a while is beneficial to both parties), more so that I realized that in some respects people are right, your early twenties is “me” time. No other time in your life is a time where you can be beholden to literally NO ONE ELSE, except for yourself than the time in your twenties when you’re living on your own doing your own thing. Your childhood is reserved for being beholden to your parents, after that it’s boyfriends, fiances, and husband/wives FTW, then it’s your kids, dogs/cats, boss/co-workers, and then finally your parents again. Sure you’ll get your wedding, some occasionally Mother’s Day/Father’s Day, and birthdays where you can bask in 24 hour increments of “all about you” time but in general — this is it. Ask any adult what they regret most about their twenties and they’ll think about it and say “That I didn’t spend more time just getting to know myself by myself and enjoying it.” You take it for granted. You think that this is the time to party with no regard for consequences and that, that means the same thing as being by yourself. FYI — it’s not.
The thing is, I use to think that the opposite of being a girlfriend was being a slut. That if you wanted to take “time for yourself” it was code for “sleep around and have promiscuous sex”, except that’s not what it is. The other night after spending time with my best friend, I ate dinner by myself, cleaned my room, watched some chick flicks, and then passed out. Nicholas was suppose to come over, friends of mine had asked me to happy hour, and I had infinite amount of shit to do, yet the best feeling in the world was blowing off all those people and staying in just to spend time with myself. I even picked up the remaining piece of furniture for my room all on my own, and you know what I felt– victory! There is a empowering feeling that comes with doing whatever the fuck you want. Being beholden to only you, not having to consider anyone else opinion, or feelings or needs except for yourself is exhilarating. The space you get from being alone is the kind of space that makes you grow and reflect in a way that you can’t when you’re in a relationship. It’s the best feeling in the world. I can do WHATEVER I WANT. You dream about it as a kid and after you turn 21 you think you finally have it but having your own place, your own money, your own agenda, it’s different. I mean whose to stop you from binge watching Netflix and eating McDonald’s at 2 in the morning (I obviously don’t recommend this because as it turns out, you will regret it immediately)?!
It’s scary to most people, being alone, but if you don’t learn how to be alone how can you have a solid foundation in which to be with someone else? Between the tequila shots and one night stands is anyone of us enjoying being with the only person that matters– you? It’s not easy, and sometimes, when my auto pilot “girlfriend” behavior kicks in I have to hum the Sex in The City theme song and snap the hell out of it. I’m far from thinking of myself as Carrie Bradshaw but I do realize that an important part of growing up is taking a step back and doing what the fuck you feel like just because you can. That doesn’t mean that having a relationship in your early twenties in wrong, plenty of people make it work everyday, but for me and the majority of people I know this time of self reflection is the most important gift you can give yourself. The truth is, I don’t want to be anyone’s girlfriend. All my years of pursuing someone with the intention of being their “girl” has fled my body and in it’s place is a need to be no one’s but my own. It’s not personal, if tomorrow I met the man of my dreams I’d have to say “No thanks”, and keep it moving. I’m at the point in my life where the healthiest thing to do is to do me, and hope to God I don’t miss my opportunity with someone amazing, that they themselves are taking the time to be alone too.