"You're just at that age.." is what I always hear from others when someone brings up how many weddings, baby showers, and engagements there have been to attend this year. Getting dressed up, curling my hair, applying some extra lipgloss, & putting up my steel wall of bouncing off the questions and comments is usually how my routine of getting ready goes. "Look at you, how are you single?"... "There's gotta be someone nice out there for you."... "Why is someone like you on a dating app?"..."It will happen when you least expect it!"... (That last one is my personal favorite.) It's 2016, we're extremely modern in almost all areas of life, yet people still tend to act like something is wrong if you haven't met that certain someone you'd like to build a future with.
Did I sit playing house with my dolls as a child envisioning myself as a 27 year-old living in her own place, running a business, taking trips by herself, & looking at the real estate listings to purchase her first home on her own? No. Had you asked me as a young girl, I probably would have spun you some fairy tail all-American dream of having a white house with a picked fence, a handsome successful husband, a kid or two running around, & having a home-cooked meal on the table by 6:30 pm everyday. But let's cut to the real world, I've got none of that... except for maybe the home-cooked meal because this girl likes to eat.
I have spent a good amount of my twenties looking for someone else, mainly because that's what I was always told or shown that that was what you are supposed to do. And let me tell you, I've got the stories to prove it. The best ones are definitely in the past 6 years while I've online dated on & off (If you've done your fair share of swiping left in your early adult years, you know exactly what I'm talking about). Now I'm not trying to say that there aren't good people on some of these dating apps. I have definitely met some awesome & interesting people along the way. But at the same time I have met people that have assured me that "our hypothetical children will never set foot in a church, and it's not open for debate" or that "you don't drink, so there is no way this would ever work"... Really. And it's always fun when you see a boyfriend of someone you know on Tinder, and then are forced to contemplate whether you should send them the screenshot or not and possibly destroy their relationship (trust me, I did. lol). I've often contemplated the idea of writing a satirical book documenting all of my awkward dating experiences along the way just to give others the pure entertainment of it.
So how did I, and we, get here? Us "millennials" have landed smack dab in the middle of a pretty liberating time to be a young adult. We've got a million opportunities at our fingertips, the sky is the limit, and we are challenging everything. A girl can literally post some pictures of her ass in a thong bikini on Instagram and be paid hundreds of dollars just to tag the clothing line in the post. Guys can go on a reality show where they date 25 woman on a tropical island and land huge endorsement deals on ESPN afterwards. Now we are not all so lucky, and the majority of us are going to college, starting businesses, or working our way up the career ladder the old fashioned way, but we are challenging so many ideas along the way. We are not getting married at 18 or 19 years old like our parents did. We are not automatically being a stay at home mom with a few kids in our early twenties. And that is TOTALLY OKAY. We have big dreams, we are getting educations, we are being the CEOs of start-ups, and we are breaking the mold of what being a young adult used to look like. Of course some of us are getting married young and starting families, and that is great! There is a part of me that thinks how fulfilling that must be if that is what you desired at this point in your life, but for a lot of us that's just not how our blocks stack up.
Although I wish them nothing but happy, healthy families... I have watched relationships, marriages, and families of people I know fall apart right on my Facebook timeline. I'm sure we all wish for that Notebook-esque story where we fall in love, and the rest is blissful history. But in real life we are not Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams on a canoe in the rain surrounded by swans... Some of us are holding onto someone who in unhealthy for us. Some of us are staying in unhappy relationships to keep families together. Some of us are in love with someone else and keeping it a secret from the ones who love us. I have seen so many people fall into these unidealistic situations. So for those of us that are single, is it wrong to say that I have some doubts in the back of my mind if anything can be 100% real or last anymore? A large number of us as millennials were raised in broken homes, being dropped off at Dad's house every other weekend, and seeing separated parents remarry while we gain new step siblings trying to make the smiling, happy family dynamic happen again and again.
From walking in on my first "real" high school boyfriend making out with his ex-girlfriend during a house party to finding a Facebook message on my laptop from some blonde chick telling my boyfriend they're "in the clear cuz I took a pregnancy test this morning"... I somehow was still optimistic that I would find that prince charming that would sweep me off my feet and be everything I always wanted in a boyfriend or a husband. And for a very long time I thought that when I found that, I would feel more complete or more happy in some way. Sometimes I wonder how I kept my hopes up that high as long as I did, but I tend to always look at things with the glass half full. Dating today is just not like it used to be. Social Media, Dating Apps, and a million other things are a constant source of temptation and immediate satisfaction, which is something we tend to be oh so selfish about nowadays. We don't want to put in the time, the effort, or have the patience... we want it now. And if we get bored with something, we upgrade to the newer, shinier version of it like its an outdated iPhone.
Cut to now, where I've got a few disastrous relationships under my belt and a slew of unsuccessful attempts at dating in the past year to add to my roster. But along the months of this past year one thing has become clear to me. Just because I am "alone", that doesn't mean I am lonely. It does not mean I am missing out on living a fulfilling and satisfying life. Would it be great to have someone to share all of these amazing experiences in life with? Of course it would be! But I have finally gotten to the realization in life that I am capable of doing so many things on my own. I can travel to amazing places. I can meet new people and gain new friendships. I can spend a whole morning in my pajamas watching talk shows and drinking coffee. I can build a business and a career I can be proud of. I can buy 4 new Bath & Body Works candles when all of the pumpkin scents get released for fall. I can literally do whatever the hell makes me happy. Once I started focusing on all of the good things in my life and what made me happy, it became much easier to not constantly feel the need to be checking Tinder to see who my new matches were.
Like so many girls I know, we have gotten in this mind frame that we do not NEED someone, but that we wouldn't mind having someone. We have gained this new stride of female empowerment where we are not afraid to stand alone, and we look damn good doing it. And when you gain that confidence in your own self and in your own skin, you start putting up with a lot less shit in your life. When this happens, it is way easier to determine if something or someone will be a positive thing in your life or not. And then you can sing "No Scrubs" by TLC in your mind picturing them hanging out the passenger's side of your best friends ride, trying to holler at you. (Am I dropping too many Millennial cliches if I drop a "Boy, Bye" from Beyonce's Lemonade here? Cuz I just did.)
We don't need to burn our bras to prove our point. We don't need to disgrace or bash the act of marriage. We don't need to say that those who are happy in relationships are wrong (because trust me, most of us totally still want that one day). We all follow different paths in life and we all go down different roads. It took me 27 years to be more confident in my own skin than I've ever been, and I had to go through some tough shit, get sober, and be alone to get to this point. And if you think I would settle for just anyone after all of this fight, you are oh so terribly wrong. So for those of us ladies out here making ourselves a bomb ass dinner on a weeknight, wearing our cutest outfits out with our best girlfriends on the weekends, paying all of our own bills, & chasing our insane career dreams... We're doing it, and we're doing it well. Are we lonely? Hell no. We know what we have to offer. We know what we deserve. And there's no way in hell we are gonna settle for anything less until we get it. xx .
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