[Re-writing] How to be Single

I just need to re-write this post  because of the recent events in my life that backfired at me. I am not single nor in a relationship now. I don’t have a term for it yet. Will get back to you once I figured this one out.

Rachel who is only six months old in Dubai and is already earning the salary of someone who has spent six years in the city, started doing her grocery a few weeks ago. She’s sending some huge “Balikbayan Box” (a package, most of the time filled with branded goodies sent to families) in the Philippines. She has also availed of a month long vacation to her hometown which is normally not granted to a regular employee. But because she’s a certified nurse and was so much blessed to land a government job [which is kinda big deal around here], she pretty much achieved everything she wanted in her career in a span of six overwhelming months. She must be floored by now with the outburst of surprises that she never new awaits her.

There was one problem though: The photo [which I removed deliberately for privacy purposes]. It was a photo of two couples, girls dragging their boyfriends on a grocery store while she – Rachel – was dragging a grocery push cart.

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Expectations

Taken a few weeks ago when all of us hit the cinema and she was the only single person among a downpour of couples. I was alone too because Sam works on Fridays. Alone but not feeling alone. I have someone calling in my mobile checking on me. I have someone to share my review about the movie later at night. Someone specific. Having been in her scenario for decades, I feel for her more than anyone else in the group. I had thirty years of experience of not having someone to share a pop corn or pepsi with.

Basically this image highlighted her inner angst on being single. She’s been whining about this “single-hood” since she lived with us. And though the guys thought it was a funny, harmless prank- and she thinks so too, I’m sure it bites her to a great extent.

I  can totally see fractions of my old self with her. I’m a hopeless romantic myself. That’s the problem with people like us. We ached to be with someone. Regardless of how many number of zeros are there in our pay check, we still crave for real love or anything resembling it, knowing that all material fascinations will only take effect in a matter of hours. It does not and will never completely compensate the amount of loneliness at night.

Rachel wants to travel. She wants to see movies. She wants to eat out. She wants to do all sorts of things. And she couldn’t. WHY NOT? She has all the freedom and the money in the world to do so.

Every single person – regardless of gender is somehow prevented to maximize their capacity as humans. It feels like something’s always holding them back. They can play different roles to the optimum level in their career  but as an individual who thirst for companionship, they are repressed to liberate themselves from  what they are really made of. Flesh. Bones. Heart. Mind. Soul.

As the saying goes, you’ve got so much love to give but no one in particular to give it to.

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My friend Katie told me once, that to be surrounded by family, relatives and friends gives so much joy that these relationships would suffice. But at the end of the day she comes home alone in her apartment because her sister, relatives and friends must go back to their respective homes. Her sister has her own family, and so are her aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. So technically she was just an extension of all of them. This is where she got stuck. After the Christmas presents are opened and the family dinner is over, she finds herself climbing in bed alone while her sister, aunts and cousins are cuddling in a huge warm blanket with their husbands and their kids. You can’t always forced-fit yourself to other people’s lives. You will never be their priority.

When you’re in your early twenties, you don’t get to rationalize these things. You still feel like you belong to a circle. You still feel [somehow ] even after graduation and finding a spot in the corporate world, that there’s still an inner child in you that belongs to a group – your family. You belong to your siblings. You belong to your parents. You belong to your grandma and grandpa, uncles and aunties. And they all belong to you. You have an ocean of people, sometimes overwhelming that you feel like drowning with their presence. Your dad wants you to get a slot in the firm and your mother doesn’t approve of your new boyfriend. Your sister just got engaged and your brother is having his first baby. They phone you on separate occasion to have family dinner. You are still part of everyone’s business.

You also feel like you belong to the corporate world. The new girl who’s about to receive her first pay check and despite the silly mistakes that every first timers make at work, you easily brush it off your shoulders because you still have that zest to learn. You have new sets of goals and you’re unstoppable.

You feel like you belong to your peers. You have friends who just like you are also trying to tread the path of what a grown up life really feels like. You have great enthusiasm inside you on your new earned freedom and independence. You feel like you belong to your friends because they – just like you are starting on their journey in discovering what they really want to do in life. You hang out in clubs and coffee shops all night. You have a lot of things to look forward to. You have thousands of ideas and projects you wan to accomplish. A lot of astounding opportunities to explore, new possibilities to meet and most importantly, you’ve got plenty of time to waste or put in good use.

In short, you are fucking young.

Things change when you hit 30. The idea of How to be Single is suddenly mangled in a different format. Life begins to charge a serious toll on you. And sometimes the price at stake is so high, you can hardly afford it. It is always said that settling down and having kids are optional. If you don’t choose to settle [ as if settling down is really a choice and not a circumstance], then where do you go? I’m still baffled with the idea as to what the next stride would be. What would be the next big thing after that? Just make more money? Immersed yourself in more productive activities like charities? Keep on traveling? Write more books?

Two weeks ago Rachel spent eleven tickets on all of us so we can all watch Suicide Squad.  It was a generous gesture. But I think, if she happened to be in a relationship. If only she has someone to see this stupid film with, she would’ve save a huge amount of money. She constantly buys pizza for everyone too. She also once gave the guys a huge sum of money because she was craving for seafood. So the married guys [ most of them chefs] went to the market and later that night everyone enjoyed a feast of grilled seafood. Can you imagine someone in a serious relationship doing this? Treat all your friends like it’s your birthday every pay day? No. Because you will have concrete relationship goals and a specific person to look after. You are not tangled in different directions.

We do crazy things out of loneliness.

I know. Because I did.

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I have been highly efficient in being single.

I don’t have issues eating alone. I enjoy shopping and doing groceries alone. I love spending my rest days in my bedroom with a pint of ice cream, some nachos and my favorite episodes of Friends.

Until now I still do. I crave for being single. I want Rachel and the rest of the single people to understand the convenience and the freedom that single life has to offer. Marvel each day when you have to get up from bed and only be responsible for your own breakfast. Whether you want to do brunch or just spend the rest of the day in bed. It’s up to you. Roll over your bed because you can. There are no hairy legs that will grapple your thighs when your half asleep. Shop clothes. Cut your hair short and dye it orange. No one will criticize you. If someone has issues on you black nails and short shorts, that’s their problem. Not yours. You don’t have to feel guilty that someone you cared about (including his entire family) is disturbed to see you in your most dramatic or slutty ensemble. Get a massage. A foot scrub. Diamond Peel. You got plenty of time in your clock because no one needs your time and your company. No one demands that you come home early. No one will metaphorically die in heart attack because you ran a little late than usual. No one will make a fuss about your whereabouts. You are committed to do things only to yourself. Put some money in the stock market. You don’t have to involve someone in your financial decisions. Learn some new recipe. Cook whatever you like. You don’t have to worry about someone else’s allergies or taste. Learn a new language. A language of your choice. Not because you feel alienated with someone else’s conversation and you want to be in the loop. Book a ticket to Hawaii. Okay if you’re being a wuss about this, book a ticket to the nearby beach. Go on a road trip. You don’t have to fit on someone else’s schedule and wait until both of your schedules are aligned. Buy a new book. You don’t have to worry if you will ever get a chance to finish it or not. Your time is not on queue. Watch a movie alone. It’s liberating. You don’t need to make a good argument about the movie you want to watch in order to win the ticket. You don’t have to fight over a remote control. Go out on plenty of dates. Meet new friends. You can have as many as you want. Learn pottery. Enroll in baking or even ballet classes. Who cares? No one will make fun of your choices. It’s your goddamn life and you are not infesting other people’s lives by going for it. Paint. Create your own studio. No one will think that you’re occupying too much space at home or that you’re making too much mess. Take your mom out. It’s very important. You are not too consumed by your own romantic relationship that you tend to forget your other existing relationships.

There are gazillion things on the list to accomplish and I’m sure you will never ran out of things to do.

Enjoy.

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I loved my life back then. And even now as I am writing this, I still want to revert to those times when I was so stoke in being single. I don’t see anything wrong with being one. But I see that there’s something wrong with the rewards it offers. It has a full stop. And I was not informed.

After twenties, I have come to know that my bucket list are all temporary. Short-lived moments with short-lived rewards. Short-lived desires with short-lived fulfillment. The list of long term goals started to gate-crash  my doorstep. I never invited them but they began to demand for my attention. Suddenly my peaceful single life in the twenties was disrupted with the clamor of being thirty.

I don’t think anyone of us is designed to be alone. We are better equipped in treading our path, may it be a rough road or a long stretch, when we have someone to walk with. At thirty, you will realize that the circle you belong to narrows down each day until it can no longer accommodate you. Siblings and friends eventually marries. Parents pass away. The corporate world or your own enterprise becomes strictly business with no human attachment.

I am an advocate of settling down. But that also doesn’t mean we should force ourselves in a difficult relationship. This is totally different and falls under a very serious category.  I’m just saying, that given a choice, no girl wants to wind up alone.

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 Enough said.
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Re-posting this very fine article from The Atlantic.

About six months after my son was born, he and I were sitting on a blanket at the park with a close friend and her daughter. It was a sunny summer weekend, and other parents and their kids picnicked nearby—mothers munching berries and lounging on the grass, fathers tossing balls with their giddy toddlers. My friend and I, who, in fits of self-empowerment, had conceived our babies with donor sperm because we hadn’t met Mr. Right yet, surveyed the idyllic scene.

“Ah, this is the dream,” I said, and we nodded in silence for a minute, then burst out laughing. In some ways, I meant it: we’d both dreamed of motherhood, and here we were, picnicking in the park with our children. But it was also decidedly not the dream. The dream, like that of our mothers and their mothers from time immemorial, was to fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after. Of course, we’d be loath to admit it in this day and age, but ask any soul-baring 40-year-old single heterosexual woman what she most longs for in life, and she probably won’t tell you it’s a better career or a smaller waistline or a bigger apartment. Most likely, she’ll say that what she really wants is a husband (and, by extension, a child).

To continue:  Marry Him

Photo Credit: Pinterest, forcesofgeek.com, dailymail.co.uk

Complicated

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