Au contraire, readers. I’m not going to shower you with love stories from Paris, but rather talk to you about growing up and coupling off. Somewhere between ages twenty one and twenty four I had a mild freak out about what it means to be alone, and valuing solitude as a time for personal growth.
And by ‘somewhere’ I mean I spent 4 years basically single trying to master independence. Hence all the bad dates.
Turning twenty-five has been really positive for me. I like maturing and being keenly aware of my life changing day-to-day. Did I have a minor quarter life crisis? Maybe. Did I handle it gracefully? Certainly not. However, looking back at my tiny fraction of adulthood post undergraduate life has given me some perspective regarding human behavior. I was reminded of that human behavior this past weekend I spent in Portland, ME on a ‘couples fun weekend.’
What is a ‘couple’s fun weekend,’ you ask? I suppose it means different things to different people.
I’ll go ahead and say it’s less swinger-esque, more going on adventures with my boyfriend and two of our friends who are also dating.
As we sat around the dinner table after a phenomenal meal and bottle of wine, we began validating the shit out of one another. But, we didn’t just give one another personal props. We took it to the next level to realize in that moment how lucky the four of us were to be dating someone really, really awesome, after all of us had spent significant time single, trolling the streets for someone who was funny and not a drug addict.
This got me thinking about where I was a year ago. I remember a similar scene: group of people, sitting around a table, cheers-ing one another and laughing. Only, that time the validation and happiness came from thanking the sweet lord none of us were in bad relationships and we were free to do whatever and see whomever we wanted. There was a lot of this:
“I mean, I can literally go out dancing any night of the week, not have to worry about my partner’s wants or needs, and flirt with everyone!”
Or: ”Yeah, I might travel Europe alone next summer, really spend some time working on myself. Can you imagine how liberating it will be?”
And the classic: ”Have you even talked to [insert female name here] lately? She and [insert male name here] don’t even like each other anymore. They’re just together because they have been for so long.”
We quickly drank our beers and nodded with wide eyes in agreement. Single, Free, and loving it!
Those silly people in relationships didn’t know what they were missing.
Aging into your twenties and thirties brings a new realm of social norms people can choose to subscribe to, or reject outright. Some people feel pressure from their families to settle down, others feel a biological reaction of craving stability and wanting a tiny creature living inside of them. Whether you believe it’s natural or not to eventually stop going to the bar and start going on couples fun weekends, the bottom line is: it doesn’t really matter. At every step in life there will be a group counterpart to your own, doing the exact opposite somewhere else.
For once, sitting at the table in Portland, looking at the man who is my game-changer and my two friends who are lucky because they found one another,
my anthropologically angled assessment of social situations didn’t persist past my happiness, and I was exactly where I wanted to be.
In a relationship and feeling the status quo blues? Plan a weekend away with friends you love who can validate the shit out of you and buy you scotch to drink on the street.
Single? Whether or not you’re feeling good about it: embrace the solitude. Go out dancing. Travel the world alone.
Just realize that wherever you are in life, might be exactly where you need to be.