I suppose like many young, single women, I’m often asked, “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?”
What is the proper response to a person asking such an insanely personal and subjective question? My sister will tell you it’s because I “don’t put myself out there.” My best friend will say I don’t give guys a chance.
Another friend will tell you about my tendency to skip small talk and move right onto contemplating the mysteries of the universe. A couple guys I’ve been out with might point to what they see as a defense mechanism, a shell in which I may put myself.
I don’t see the psychology behind it. It is what it is. I don’t see my life purpose as a path toward meeting anyone; I don’t believe I must find someone special for my life to begin.
I’ve had dreams since childhood. I’ve wanted to travel, live in New York City, write and be independent. I’m 24. I’ve lived in England. I’ve visited Paris, London, Dublin and Helsinki, and I’ll be traveling to the Middle East in a matter of weeks.
I want to drive across the country and chronicle my adventures in every state I visit. I have a master’s degree; I’ve lived in Queens for the past two years and now, in Manhattan. I have a fulfilling career with wonderful coworkers.
I make my own money, do as I please and have accomplished nearly everything I sought to do in my 20s.
“But, aren’t you lonely?” some might ask.
Sure, I’m lonely when it comes to arriving home and lying down to a single bed. Of course, it’d be nice to have someone to come home to, someone with whom to share my day, split household duties, someone to whom to wake up and say “goodnight.”
It’d be nice to share meals with someone and drink coffee together in the mornings and go on weekend trips. I’m a very social person; I know all of these things would be lovely.
But, despite all the things I’ve done alone, I’m not alone. I’m very proud of the relationships I have with my close friends; we share traditions, like weekly dinners and car chats and coffee dates.
In the midst of finalizing Halloween plans, my best friend texted me to ask, “If all fails, we’re still watching ‘Scream’ and eating candy corn, right?” We’ve done it yearly, since our sophomore year of college. “Of course,” I told her.
I’m constantly engaging with friends, whether we’re arguing, laughing, partying, enjoying our time together or sitting on opposite sides of the globe and conversing through cell phones. We’ve often sat in circles doing nothing but talking, drinking coffee and dreaming.
I’m thankful for my relationship with my parents, siblings and my two nieces, who have become the source of such a pure love I never knew I could possess. I’m grateful for the relationships I have with my extended family members, who call to invite me to weddings and parties or to stay for a holiday.
When thinking of my relationships and the people in my life, I realize I have a life full of love. How could I be lonely or unfulfilled?
Why do we value romantic love more deeply than familial love or that of friendships? Doesn’t all love come from the same place? Isn’t all love a fondness between two people or a group of people who are dedicated to enjoying each other’s companionship and bettering each other through it?
Isn’t the deepest form of love valuing someone before yourself? If that’s love, I have plenty of that.
Beyond the love I have for other people, I have a deep fondness for music, film, faith, writing and literature. It betters me. Is that not an expression of love?
Furthermore, I simply enjoy seeing the limits of my own independence. How much can I accomplish on my own? What does this say about my strength?
The more I realize my capabilities, the more I realize I have to give. The more I have to give, the more I realize the kind of love I have to share and the kind of experiences and lessons I have to express.
Maybe I’ll want to commit to someone when I’m sure I have another one eager to join me on adventures. Perhaps, I “don’t put myself out there.” Or, perhaps, I do have a tendency to “skip small talk and move right onto contemplating the mysteries of the universe.” Maybe the couple men who told me I kept myself in a shell were right.
Or, perhaps, I haven’t met anyone with whom I’m interested in pursuing romantic love.