We Wander Until We Find The Right One — And That’s Ok
The clock on my single status approaches seven. The measure is in years. I hear the subtle tick, tick, tick underlying the narrative that suggests I get it together and find myself a suitor. As if the experience of life and love were that simple. As if the road of life and love were that straight. Instead, I wander winding paths of self-discovery, forging my own trails that lead to lagoons of new ways of being, learning, and loving. I savor the solitude while society’s clock ticks on.
Within these seven years I have met wonderful men with whom I have been intimate, discovering ways of being ‘together’ that differs from what is traditional. In moments shared, when commitment was not available to one or both parties, we navigated through our experience by practicing self-expression, compassion, honesty, and vulnerability.
It was not always pretty and not always easy, but there was something to be taken – a way in which to grow – from all of it. Within these experiences, beneath the flow of wavering emotions, I was overcome with love – a love different to the one that runs through fairy tales. This one is laced with depth, freedom, and expansion.
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Pressure from Society
There is an unconscious, looming pressure within this society to be paired up in a traditional relationship. Passing comments of intention to set up the unattached individual at the dinner table work wonderfully as conversation starters — or enders.
Most comments are made lightly, with kindness and compassion in their delivery. The bartender of a dinner guest’s local watering hole comes up as top contender in the live episode of matchmaker. There are often a few giggles, followed by, “Ooooh, what’s his name?” The inclination to facilitate the pairing up is understandable; the narrative that feeds the traditional views on ways of being relational is strong. The truth is, however, that for us self-determined single individuals, patience for these passing comments begins to thin. Perhaps it is because they feel forced. Perhaps it is because they are, in part, a joke. Perhaps it is because they hold no promise of action, being merely a passing thought that will come and go like the rest of them.
Yet in actuality, unease rests in the subtle suggestion that there is something wrong with being single — that we must obtain some status of relationship that is outside of where we find ourselves. It taunts us into thinking that yes, we would be better off finding someone and settling down. Settling is not something we have waited this long for, we remind ourselves.
The Blessings of Being Single
Within the solitude of single living, we develop faith in the flow of nature and deep contentment with being on our own. Confidence blooms as we learn to stand firmly on two self-assured, single feet. In deeper contemplation, we feel as though we, in fact, have never been alone. To label ones self as having been ‘single’ all these years is a devaluation of the deep and profound experiences of togetherness we may have embodied in partnerships that were fleeting.
The paint that coats the world of relationships is not so black and white; neither is it a grey scale. It is a rainbow that adorns each meaningful interaction with some decadent and profound combination of colours — a palette that will never be the same as the next. They say that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. If we choose to view our relationships this way, we might rest with greater assurance that we are always where we need to be.
Opportunity for deep exploration – of self and other – comes with commitment. There rests a vast landscape to navigate while in partnership – complex and strange and beautiful. Yet there is weightlessness in being unattached that we can choose to embody wholeheartedly. We can choose to foster trust in whatever the wind blows our way. Rather than trading up who and where we are for what the world suggests we be, we find strength in our footing and confidence in the place we find ourselves.
Singleness as a Journey
Single is synonymous with solitary, conjuring an image of the wolf who has wandered from the pack. For whatever the reason, the wolf is choosing — for a time — to hone in on her own skills and self-sufficiency. The road is open; unattached to another, she is governed by the wind, the earth, and the rekindling of her intuition. For a time — forever or for now — she has been called to wander.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés writes, “It is worse to stay where one does not belong at all than to wander about lost for a while and looking for the psychic and soulful kinship one requires.” We wander until we know, as best we can, where — and with whom — we wish to root. As we wander into the deep forest of the psyche, learning to balance on the roots beneath our own two feet, we come to learn that we are never alone. In each relationship we encounter on our journey, we are presented with an opportunity: to be present, to love deeply, and to connect with the individual before us.
Time and depth are separate measures. Through these nontraditional ways of being with another, we may uncover a greater understanding of the expansiveness of love, and the truth that we are, in fact, always connected. If no one stands before us, perhaps we are meant to explore our relationship with the being behind the beautiful eyes that stare back at us in each morning’s mirror. Perhaps we must first commit to the relationship we know will last a lifetime.
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