I was hit with a stark realization today. A Chinese food buffet located 5 miles from my apartment building has mouth-watering fried plantain on the menu and I STILL haven’t made the trip there to indulge! Drifting into a short daydream, I was hit with a second jolting revelation that I have been single for almost the entire year! While others may have settled down, most likely had kids and moved on into adulthood with grace, I feel as if I devolved into a slightly more refined version of my younger self from my college years.
Arguably one may say that love is the best encounter there is, that is, until one wades into the murky world of a messy break-up and then, of course, it morphs into the absolutely worst thing. Singledom is a phase that almost everyone goes through. That said we may all concur that while being single for indefinite periods of time can be boring and frustrating, it can also be an awesome time. There is the freedom and autonomy to come and go as one pleases, to meet new people, to feel the rush of romance developing and the excitement of going out on dates. On the flip side, however, the rejections, the mismatches, the wasted dates and the psychos you run into can be very frustrating. Through it all, learning to find happiness within one’s self is the greatest gift ever.
I can’t say with certainty that I have found total happiness being single but I have definitely learned a couple of things worth sharing. I reside in the Los Angeles area and it will be utterly false on my part to say that I have gone a whole year without some kind of sexual encounter. Sex has the ability to unhinge the self-commiseration one may feel after an extended time in the penitentiary of singlehood. Uncommitted sex, however, is a fluid activity with the uncanny ability to implode into a horrible web of pain and heartache for the one who does not fully grasp the concept of unattached sex. I finally woke up to the realization that most women who consent to have uncommitted sex usually mask an attempt to bury a deep affection for the other. Some secretly hope that the uncommitted and mutually beneficial arrangement will evolve into something meaningful.
It is not a conscious decision to be single neither am I shying away from commitment or marriage. True and unbashful love is rare and it is frequently not reciprocated. Some family and people close to me continue to view love as a sort of messianic event which will arrive for me one day with all the bells and whistles. As if love is something the world owes to each of us. Whether love is on the horizon for me or not, I absolutely cannot and will not suspend my life in anticipation of its arrival. It is certainly exciting to travel the world with a partner. Certainly advantageous to marry before choosing to buy a house. However, one does not have to put their lives on hold while waiting for love. I started taking solo getaway trips six months ago on the weekends. I decided that waiting to find a partner before I traveled for fun was totally baseless. My first getaway trip to Miami was rather bland, I must confess. However, subsequent trips were more invigorating. I began to open up and connect with other single and solo fun-loving travelers like myself.
I’d like to say that on the subject of having kids, I may offend some people with my point of view. It is my opinion that you do not always need to find love before deciding to have kids. I have a daughter that I adore with every fiber of my being. Circumstances leading to her birth was not one shrouded with love unfortunately. I was not blessed with that. It does not stop me from loving her all the same. A while back, an ex-girlfriend who was chalking up her 30’s asked if I would consider having a child with her. Even though it was not an option I’d personally consider or consent to, I applauded her decision not to wait for love and marriage before bringing a child into this world. She was perfectly capable and could afford to.
For a long time, I grasped at a portrait of who I wanted women to think I was. I knew I had most of what women would consider good traits in a successful man. I desperately wanted a picture perfect representation of what I thought women wanted. I had to have everything to showcase; a good body, an excellent education, a fun and winning personality, a successful and high-flying career, an address in the most desirable part of town and wheels that will turn the heads of most women and men alike. It took a while to realize that my painted picture was one that society deems attractive to women but that was not necessarily who I wanted to be. I was not being true to myself. As it turns out, in order to radiate love and compassion to others, one must first be loving and compassionate to one’s self . In the process of trying to get my act together, I had to let go of the self-painted picture deemed attractive by society in order to become who I wanted to be.
In my quest to find genuine love. I needed to learn to love myself first. A task that only I could accomplish. I stopped obsessing over how many degrees I had acquired, how many deadlifts I can perform at the gym, etc. I started to draw strength from within to unearth who I was, who I wanted to be, what I wanted in life and what I deserved in a good woman. I started to reassess and prioritize my values. I stepped out of my comfort zone and started trying new things.
I traveled more, I went to places of interest, to the museums, to the art galleries, I hung out in various eateries and coffee shops. I tried new activities like joining book clubs, meet up groups, listening to different kinds of music and engaging in activities such as yoga. Trying new things was a way to get to know more about myself. I starting blogging about relationships and rediscovered my passion for writing. There is a major advantage in learning to love one’s self. Loving myself has taught me how to be a better lover. It will be easier to recognize someone who complements me now because I have learned to love myself first and with that comes a better understanding of who I deserve.
I have learned not to be ashamed of my single status. Being single doesn’t mean you’re unlovable or that you have a problem. There are people out there looking for a partner each new day. When you are single, you have freedom and the opportunity to evolve to be the best version of yourself. You can live life with an intensity you might miss later but happy to leave behind at the same time. So what are you waiting for? Get on with it. Get out there and experience life. Find out who you are and what stirs your soul. Live life by yourself. Be happy by yourself. It’s your life; create what you want. Don’t look for someone else to do it for you, because they can’t. Stay single until you can find love and compassion for yourself first.
Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.