It seems to be a general consensus among everyone that I talk to – 2018 has been one hell of a never-ending year. As December approaches, I sit and reflect on the year that has passed and the events that have taken place that have led me to this point. I find myself repeating the phrase “I am so happy this year is over” each and every time December of a new year rolls around. Those last few weeks of work, lingering ahead of you like a barren endless highway stretching across a desert. The looming presence of the enormous financial burden that Christmas is bound to thrash upon your wallet. There is one thing that I am able to experience afresh this holiday season that I have not been able to experience in a rather long time.
I am single during the holidays.
Now I realize that this is no marvellous phenomenon, to many people, the holidays and ringing in a new year has been a solo affair for a while. But as a young woman who, since the moment the last school bell rang, has been flitting from one relationship flower to the next. I am excited about wearing the independent singles crown into 2019.
After being rather unceremoniously dumped by a man who gave Ryan Gosling a run for his money, my little heart looked up to me and put it’s proverbial foot down. Enough was enough, it was time that I spent some time with myself. I had to ask myself the big question that was too obvious to avoid- why did I have a compulsive need to be in a relationship? Daddy issues perhaps? Or the lack of commitment as a teenager? I still haven’t worked through it, but what matters is that I am indeed working through it. Alone.
Being Mel, I sat down and just for “shits and giggles” came up with a small list of pros and cons to being single so far:
- It is fun to unapologetically flaunt your flirt and feel flattered when a guy pays particular attention.
- I enjoy having evenings free to eat mini glazed donuts, without worrying about the guy on the couch realizing that I just ate my dog’s weight equivalent in donuts.
- I am able to give all of my relational attention toward God and spend time growing as a Godly woman, without having to consider someone else’s level of commitment.
- I can go to the gym and feel like I am there for my own benefit and not in order to stay slim to keep the guy.
- I was able to whittle down the friendships that were superficial; due to their foundation being based on circumstances and not on connection, to a short list of genuine loving gal pals.
- Ugh…the dating game. Can’t we just skip the formalities and cut to the part where you know I fart after eating pasta and you love me anyway?
- Losing the cute friendship group where everyone was in a relationship and we would all go on quadruple dates together. I don’t have enough hands to hold that many candles.
- Sitting with the small little fear inside yourself that you may never find the right match because you are “sticking to your guns” and not settling.
- Not being able to tag someone in cute little relationship memes on Instagram. As a matter of fact, now they just make me irritable.
- Being alone during the holidays. Where you once had work to distract you, now you sit at home with all this free time. Let’s be honest, there are only so many Netflix series you can binge watch and gal pal brunches you can eat before you begin to crave some cuddles.
Looking at my little list, the pros outweigh the cons. There are so many times where I will catch my mind wandering off to those sugar-coated memories of walks on the beach and hiking whilst holding hands. Before I give my mind a good bitch-slap and a talking to. I over-romanticise relationships that, in the present, were really not as fabulous as I make the memories out to be. It is difficult to be firm with myself when my little heart is having a sulk in a dark corner; but it’s a harsh world out there, and we must be resilient. So, to keep myself smiling during this long season, I have compiled a necessary list to not only survive but thrive.
- Stop trying to fill the void and take the time to mend it:
I have tried to fill this need for affirmation and appreciation inside me with men who, initially may say the sweet words that do the trick, but eventually wear off like a cheap nail polish. It is time that I stare into that deep dark hole and figure out what I need to come to terms with; in order to begin taking the necessary steps to slowly mend that void in a way that will remain permanent.
- Build upon different layers of who you are. Diamonds would not shine if they only had one side to them.
Taking this time to put in some much-needed hours in the dance studio in order to refresh my spirit. Getting back into the gym to encourage that #girlboss attitude that I am developing. Reading books that contribute to my mind, wit and knowledge base so that I am able to converse in an empathetic and mature manner. Spending time with God and his word so that I may hear His voice clearer each day.
- Focus all of your finances on your goals and not on someone else.
Relationships are expensive and often I would feel like I needed to spoil a man as part of my affection, when I was receiving perhaps a third of that effort from him. Placing my hard-earned money on the wrist of a man was detracting from me achieving my own goals. Goals that I have dreamed of achieving since I was 15. Now I don’t regret those decisions, because at the time it made my heart burst with joy to give to the person I loved. But, damn I could have given a little less frequently. Oh well, we live and learn.
- Surround yourself with friends who know the meaning of the word.
After accepting a large dose of rejection, the last thing I need is to feel small bouts of rejection each day from people who don’t know how to be friends with a person. It is easy to remain in touch with a person, it makes it easy for them to have access to you when they need something. But to love people, to invest time and energy in them is challenging and risky. I took a long hard look at who I was willing to invest in and love upon, and I continue to put myself out there so that hopefully, I may find more.
So as 2019 approaches, I welcome it with loving open arms, partially because my arms aren’t busy loving someone other than myself. I treat this new season in life with a curious spirit and an excited heart, because for the first time in a while the only person that I need to consult with before I confirm, is myself.