Is it just me, or is what I thought was “breakup season,” as in May through July, happening in the fall this year? Not that I’m in any position to declare a cyclic relationship calendar, but I feel the heartbreak and the chill in the air and I can sympathize with those initial “crap now I need to find someone new ASAP” feelings. It’s cold outside, television is getting better, the holiday season is about to roll around again. No one wants to watch all that good TV and eat all those leftovers with no one to snuggle and share the calories with.
My question is: Why the hell not?
I have heard so many people gripe about how much it sucks to be alone. While it’s nice to have someone whose arm you can squeeze when “American Horror Story” starts to freak you out, there are definitely benefits to enjoying single status at this point in our lives.
First of all, there is a certain sense of optimism about all the opportunities to meet new people that comes with being single. I’m not talking about meeting new people to start serious relationships with. I’m talking about meeting new people to just have some damn fun with. When you’re single you can flirt with, dance with, chat with, hook up with and eat greasy late-night food with anyone you please to–or not. Just knowing that the possibility is out there is enough sometimes. You can keep it guilt-free and casual if you please. Sure it can lead to more, but it certainly doesn’t have to, and that’s what’s fun about it. You may never be in this high of a concentration of fun, curious, young adults, eager to meet people, again. Seize the day ladies and gentlemen, this is college.
Or maybe playing the field isn’t your game–it certainly isn’t mine, since I have no game and usually reveal unsexy things like my bizarre diet and appreciation for “The Silmarillion” upon meeting new people. However, even without making singlehood a flirt-fest, you can take pride in knowing that you are happy on your own.
Just as college can be “The Hookup Years” for many, it is also a time when you are finding out who you are and what makes you happy. I know, I’m starting to sound like I’m writing a book about puberty or something, but this really is a pretty unique time for most of us. There’s nothing wrong with staying single and concentrating on developing lasting friendships, doing well in school, and having fun–be it through playing the accordion, doing keg-stands, writing sonnets, whatever–without anyone holding you back.
Time spent going solo can help you realize what you want and don’t want in the non-dating related aspects of your life. If some version of a relationship comes your way, you’ll be in tune with yourself, and your wants and needs will be clearer, which is a good foundation for any relationship. If no sort of relationship comes up, then, who cares? You’re doing just fine without it, right?
I’m not saying that people in relationships are so tied down by their sweeties that they are incapable of developing their talents and interests on their own. Most aren’t. Yes, spending a lot of time romantically involved with someone can foster a different kind of growth, but what I’m really saying is that staying single for a while is all right, too. There’s no need to call an emergency relationship search if you just got out of one, or haven’t had one in awhile.
Another sort of scary thing to think about is the fact that we are all on the brink of adulthood. Chances are, many of us are going to be full-time-job-having, family-starting, specimens of grown ups before we know it. Might as well play the carefree-and-single card while its still in our deck.
I’m not telling you all to go and dump your significant others before it’s too late. However, if you find yourself wishing there was someone in your life to get romantic with, remember that it’s equally important to learn how to be happy by yourself. You may not need to jump right into getting involved seriously with someone to experience the happiness–and romance–you’re really looking for.
Dana Ricci can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.