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A reflection on single life

As a person of the media, my life is full of deadlines. I have to make sure newspapers aren’t on deadline when I’m pitching stories. I have deadlines for editorial ideas, website updates, social media updates and any other random assignments I was given for that day/week/month.

It’s inevitable that we will have deadlines. Let’s face it, we can’t escape them. But why on earth do we try to put deadlines on life? “I want to be engaged by the time I graduate college” or “I want children by the time I’m 30.” Do those sound familiar? Being a woman is hard enough, but being around women who think like this is even more difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why we experience this type of constant pressure. Those picturesque “Leave it to Beaver” tv shows, cute celebrity babies, someone to cook dinner for, someone to show off on Facebook, that white-picket fence with children playing in the yard, the list goes on and on.

I recently completed my personal goal of being single for one year. No casual dates, no texting marathons and absolutely no type of physical contact with the opposite sex (aside from friendly hugs and high-fives). Does this sound boring to you? Does it sound crazy? Probably, but it has been the most rewarding year yet.

My previous relationship (or whatever you want to call it) was very toxic. I admit it, I made those typical mistakes, one being too forgiving and another being a whiney pushover. With a build-up of resentment and hurt between the two of us, the connection was gone long before one of us decided to end it. The time leading to that moment was the most difficult, and many of my friends can vouch when I say I had a hard time dealing with it.

After putting myself through emotional hell, I made a pact with myself. “This year, I’m going to get engaged… to myself.” I’m going to make myself the most important investment and I’m going to work on my most important relationship. After constantly putting effort in others, my personal “love tank” was drained. I had put myself last and it was showing. I was done dealing with the pressure of having that “perfect relationship” and I was ready to do my own thing. It was the best decision ever, and here’s why.

I was am my own boss

I paid myself with wonderful experiences, more time with my family and more time with my closest friends. Within the first month of singledom, I spent Mardi Gras weekend in New Orleans with some gal pals and had a blast. I was able to watch the movies I wanted to watch, leave town comfortably without having to check in with anyone and basically spent the year making plans with myself. My future was all on me. I had no one else’s feelings to consider (aside from my family’s) and didn’t have to figure out another person’s logistics when planning my move to Boston. I was it. Although it was scary and lonely at times, there’s no greater feeling than feeling like a bird flying over the ocean alone.

I got closer to my loved ones

Although I’ve always been close to my family, freeing up my time really helped me spend even more time with them. I was able to really watch the newest little addition to my family reach his first milestones (so cute!) and helped my mom emotionally prepare for a lot of major life changes. I also have spent enough interesting/hilarious nights with my roommates to fill a scrapbook (literally!).

I focused on myself

I took this time to really think about what I wanted out of life. Did I really want to be married right now? No. Do I really want to be living with a man right now? Hell no. What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? I had always mentioned wanting to live in Boston to the last guy and even tried to coerce him into joining me, but who am I to make someone change their life for me? Why should I? If it’s not their dream, it’s not their dream.. and you have to just let them find it, even if you’re not a part of it. That was my thought process behind it. If I wasn’t willing to change my life for anyone, why should I expect the same? I knew for a fact I was done with Dallas/Fort Worth. I knew I had nothing to offer that city anymore. So I stopped dating. Not because I was scared or because I’m a feminist (only a little), but because I knew I didn’t belong there. I took time searching for a job, planning a European adventure with my mom and spending as much time with my grandma has possible. I even got back into coding/web design (obviously).

After that year, I feel better about myself that I did before. So if you’re going through that break-up period, let me remind you: you don’t need a rebound to feel the love. Don’t put yourself in that “I need a man” state of mind. Instead, focus on yourself and your other relationships. Always thank those people who take the time to help you put all of the shattered pieces back together. As cliché as it sounds, don’t depend on someone else for happiness. Happiness starts with you! 🙂
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  • Beth

    Steph–I didn’t know you when you wrote this and I didn’t see all the pieces getting put back together. It would be another few months until we’d meet. And a little longer until wed hit the city together and be each other’s dates. I loved this blog entry. And it’s amazing to read it on the other side since I know the person you are now. Just wanted to share how much I love you 💩

    • Stephanie

      Thank you, Beth! It has been a rewarding journey, looking back and reading that post. Thank you again. <3