It Doesn’t Take Dating To Find Happiness

All too often single women are portrayed as sad and lonely – singleness has become something to pity. I don’t agree with that image. But what does being happily single look like? For me it’s living my dreams without attachment, spending time with friends, and fulfilling my desires. We don’t talk about being happily single enough and it’s time that changed.

It’s not that I don’t have the time for a significant other. It’s that I’m so independent that I don’t want one most of the time. There are times, usually late at night when my depression and insomnia are at their worst that it would feel nice to have someone to hold me. But in the harsh light of day, I’m happy being alone. And okay, I’m not really alone. I have the friends who are like family and better than any relationship I could possibly be in, and I have my family who I’m relatively close to. I believe that being in a relationship shouldn’t define me and until I feel ready to commit myself to someone else, I’m perfectly happy being single. And that’s okay.

As a child, I remember running around my neighborhood by myself and with friends. There wasn’t any helicopter parenting happening in my house, as long as I checked in occasionally I could go wherever I pleased. Most of the time I’d spend hours in the library or walking to my best friend’s house. I learned how to do my own laundry so if I ran out of underwear it was my own fault. I cooked and baked and knew what to do when I set off the fire alarm. At a young age my parents instilled a sense of independence in me, for as long as I can remember I’ve loved being on my own and doing things for myself.

In high school when my dad passed away I lost my stay-at-home parent. My dad owned his own contracting business called ATHWIK (AT Home WIth Kids) and I got to wander around his worksites as a kid. When he passed, my mom still had to work full time plus overtime because the company she worked for was small and she had several different jobs to do. I was 15 and my brother was 11. We learned to take care of ourselves, growing up much faster than we would’ve normally.

Losing a parent takes a toll and I know for me it made me more cynical and more reliant on myself. Why should I trust someone to do something I can do myself?

I like who I am, for the most part.I don’t always like the way I look or how I speak without thinking sometimes, but I’m proud of who I’ve become and I’m terrified to get so twisted into a relationship that I can’t see myself anymore. There are so many things I want to do with my life: live abroad, move to Denver, hike mountains, and travel. But being in a relationship? That doesn’t seem feasible. I’m willing to work to keep friendships. But what happens when I decide to move to a new city?

Relationships are hard and look different for everyone. There’s no one model that works and you have to jump right in. I’m not at a place in my life where I’m ready to give up my independence, especially since I feel like I just got it back. I’ve been independent for so long that I have a hard time tolerating people who rely heavily on others. I think we forget that it’s okay to embrace our independence, especially as society tells us that we should be falling in love every place we go.

Instead of looking for my perfect man, I’m starting the hunt for my perfect city. I love being outside. I love hiking as much as my old, shoddy joints allow. I love adrenaline and adventure and traveling. So here’s to moving to Denver and falling in love with places, not men.

 

Featured Image by Jeremie Cremer

Lauren Gustafson

Lauren Gustafson

Lauren is a Virginia native and graduate of the University of Mary Washington where she majored in English. She reads passionately, bakes occasionally, and loves rugby. Lauren has spent multiple summers supervising children at overnight camps and she is a pro at dealing with awkward and inappropriate questions. Her goals in life include: being a crazy book lady, living on her own, and traveling any chance she gets.
Lauren Gustafson
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