(*disclaimer* the exact number may be a lie but it’s really close)
Of being single.
That’s a long time.
100,000: an exaggerated approximate number of the times I was told things such as the following,
“When are you going to start seeing someone again?”
“Aren’t you lonely?”
“You must get so bored.”
“That must suck.”
“I know this great guy…”
“You’d love ______…”
“Don’t worry, it’ll happen again some day.”
“You’re just so great it intimidates people.”
“Maybe if you put yourself out there more”
To all of this I would always reply things along the lines of:
“I’m very content just living my life.”
I decided to take a different approach than most people, including myself in the past, to this year. I decided to focus on me.
I decided to let life take me where it may in the relationship department, but not to go looking for anything.
Well let me let you in on a little secret.
It was the hardest damn thing I’ve ever done.
A lifetime of learning to look for support, approval, and love from others due to media, experiences, and general human instinct/habits, left me lost.
I found myself more unsure of myself and more insecure than I had been before. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen. I was supposed to become this kick ass strong independent woman.
That didn’t happen right away.
My greatest lesson from this past year which I’ve said before but will say again every day:
Sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself.
I’m not perfect. I’m not here to tell you that it was hard for a while but I’ve finally aquired the secret to life. I’m just here to tell you that I survived.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with relationships, in fact I love them. I love love. It’s so fun and exciting and beautiful and scary. It’s tragic and passionate. It is intangible yet breakable. I am not trying to tell you all to be single right now, I’m not telling you that you aren’t or can’t be happy in a relationship. I’m just telling you that there are so many different kinds of love; but the love that matters the most?
The love you find in yourself.
As an added bonus, the modern dating world is a little weird right now, so it’s a good time to take a quick break if you’ve been feeling the need for one. How did someone manage to take the concept of an online dating site (online dating? No I’m young, that’s just for old people) and turn it into one of the most popular apps for young adults, changing to way “dating” in your 20s looks forever. Let’s face it Tinder is literally just Christian Mingle, e-Harmony, Plenty of Fish, etc. Packaged into a socially acceptable box marketed at young adults. It’s a “game”. Modern dating everybody: it’s simply become a game.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows being single either. I’m going to give you the straight of it. There are times when it hurts. When it’s late and you need someone to call. When it’s lonely and you need someone to hold you. When you’re sad and you need someone to cheer you up. When it seems like everyone else in the world is with someone and you aren’t.
It hurts when self-doubt creeps along. It hurts when your mind turns on you, and tells you it’s because you aren’t good enough. You aren’t pretty enough, you aren’t smart enough, you aren’t skinny enough, you aren’t whatever-enough for someone to want you.
Things that I have learned about myself in this year:
1. I don’t know how to flirt anymore:
I thought this wouldn’t escape me until I was quite old and married for a while. Apparently it can just poof from your mind whenever it likes.
2. I am oblivious to other people flirting:
Really I don’t see it. I don’t get it at all. Is everyone not just my friend?
3. I am shy around new people:
This was never a problem before. I was very good with making stranger conversation, now I wear headphones all the time to avoid having to speak to anyone I don’t know in public places.
4. I put too much pressure on myself:
Not everything has to be perfect all of the time. Breaks are needed, welcomed. A- is a good grade. You don’t need to take those extra shifts. You don’t have to appear at every social gathering that you’re invited to. You’re allowed to say no.
5. I have developed a habit for only doing things I think I’ll be good at:
Self-consciousness preventing me from doing anything that I might embarrass myself doing. Activities and hobbies limited to things I know I’m good at.
6. I am not very self-aware:
7. I have about three self-deprecating thoughts for every positive thought about myself:
I am my own worst critic, enemy and punisher.
8. I am still very much affected by what people say/think of me, especially males:
One comment that hits a soft spot can hit harder than a physical punch to the throat.
9. I have people around me that love me for who I am:
My friends are incredible. Honestly, I have some of the most kick ass people in my life.
10. I have a type:
Tall, skinny, awkward, longer-ish hair, hipster-esque, probably owns multiple video game consoles or collects cards of some kind.
11. I still fall too hard too fast:
This will never change.
12. I lose faith easily:
If it only affects me: When the going gets tough, I quit. I give up on myself.
13. I love baths:
Weirdly enough, I never used to take baths, now I love them. I take them quite often when there is a clean tub available. They’re calming.
14. I still love being creative:
I lost this in time. When I was younger I wrote about anything, anywhere. I drew, I sang, I played piano and guitar. I made up dances with my friends. I lost this somewhere in translation, I luckily have regained it through this year.
15. I still get far too invested in books:
I will cry more easily at a tragic moment in a novel than in real life. Books pull at my heart strings like nothing else can.
16. I like beer:
Who would’ve thought? Not me.
17. I am not the casual hookup kind of person:
As if we all didn’t know that already haha.
18. I love life:
There are just these moments, the ones where you think of a song that would make it into the perfect movie scene. Your hand hanging out a car window, with a classic throwback blaring, best friend in the driver’s seat. Being at a club when that perfect song comes on. Standing at the top of a mountain, looking down at the world, feeling humble and small. Lying in bed with Kraft Dinner and a candle. Buying a new outfit that makes you feel killer. Someone who makes you laugh worthy of slow motion. Random outings to comedy shows, or cafe’s with games. Finding the perfect chocolate filled croissant. It’s all just so wonderful. Sometimes when we get wrapped up in someone, we forget to look around and enjoy the beautiful little details in life.
That’s why this year has changed me. I’ve learned how to fall back in love with life again.
This year tested me. It made me question so many parts of my life, of myself. It made me confused as to what was me, and what was the person I was trying to be. It taught me to tune out the rest of the world, take a deep breath, and just feel.
This year may have been lacking a boyfriend, but it overcompensated with the discovery of so much more.
It brought me yoga, it brought me cooking, it brought me my favourite perfume. It brought me motivation, and self awareness. This year brought me excitement and curiosity. It brought me risks and choices. It gave me a year of choices entirely my own. It gave me a year of being solely responsible for myself.
It taught me what that meant.
It meant self-sufficiency, mentally, physically and emotionally. It meant finding the things I couldn’t give myself in my friends and family. It meant learning to live. It meant learning to love.
It started off rough, but it had to, I know that now. I had to regain the confidence that I could handle almost breaking. It was through rebuilding that I found my path again. I’ve got a lot of learning left to do, but I’m happy to say I have spent my life savings at Chapters again. I have remembered why I used to spend most of my time with my Nintendo DS. I’ve managed to get an EA help guy to put an Ultimate Pack of Sims 2 on my computer. I’ve signed up to volunteer with organizations that mean something to me. I’ve just started a new job, I’ve written more parts of my book, I’ve re-read the Inkheart series. I have begun buying dresses again and wearing things most people would not on a daily basis. I’ve started feeling music again, I’ve begun to find myself. A new me, much like the older me from before things got complicated.
So this is it, here I am, just letting you know that I’m ok. I’m happy, I’m in love with life.
I know what you are thinking: “Cassey, come on. We want the dirty details”
Well, in one year there were 4 kisses, three Costco size jars of Nutella, one not really date, one accidential date, two new jobs, an indefinite amount of nights spent at the dome, a new love for wine & coffee, zero one night stands, two crushes (short lived), and a Netflix account.
For a year without the societal image of love (a relationship) I learned a whole damn lot about it and I felt more of it than ever before.
I know what you’re thinking, what now? Will she become a crazy cat lady or will she go looking for love again?
Well I don’t like the idea of owning a cat, and I already am surrounded by love. But as we all should be, I’m open to finding it, if it happens to show up on the journey. Sometimes we just need to change our perspective to see what’s right in front of us.
My advice (feel free to ignore it, I’m no life expert) is to stop trying. Don’t go looking for love, for a relationship. Just let it come to you. If you try and force it chances are it ain’t happening. The best kind of love, is the kind that you find in the most unexpected place so. The kind that finds you.
Thank you to everyone who has been here for me on this journey, and for supporting my decisions. You are the light in this life, you are the love that fills my heart and with you I know that I will never be alone.
If you’re looking for a more detailed description of my year, please feel free to ask me sometime. I’ve got a few interesting stories that love to be told.
Be happy, simply,