I know that New Years is often about making changes or resolutions. Unfortunately, most of the time, it seems like the changes don’t stick. We crash diet and buy gym memberships. We give up coffee or sugar or swearing. We always have good intentions. And somewhere along the line, we lose sight of what we wanted when we made the resolution. We slip up. We give in. We decide, consciously or subconsciously, that the changes we wanted to make aren’t worth it.
I’ve never been much of one for resolutions. But something about this year is different. For the first time in my life, I took a good, long look at myself- and I can honestly say, I didn’t like what I saw.
I’m not talking physically, although there is definite room for improvement there. My problem is more than skin deep. Because in my entire adult life, I can’t remember a time when I’ve been happy being single. And so, this year is different. I’m not making a resolution; I’m not feeding into the good intentions that will inevitably lead back to my past self within two weeks. This time around, I’m making a lifestyle change. I’m choosing a different path. I’m creating a new me.
Let’s start with the basics and go from there. Call it a man detox, call it a hiatus or a cleanse. Regardless of what you call it here it is: 366 days (2012 is a leap year after all) of simply no men.
- No Dating
- No Relationships
- No Dating Sites
- No flirting with the intention of dating
- Nothing physical (kissing, cuddling, etc.)
- No ‘future’ relationship talk
- No boy behavior dissecting (except what is needed for this blog)
When I was in high school, I would have categorized myself as boy crazy. I’m not sure if I was normal boy crazy, or a different category of boy crazy- but I can recall specific instances of obsessive behavior that makes the current me shudder. Before cell phones and Twitter and Facebook and texting, my friends and I would sit in class and write each other notes,
fold them into wacky- origami like shapes, and pass them to each other in the halls between classes.
Most of those notes were about different boys that we liked. Somehow, we consistently found pages and pages worth of information to discuss and dissect every single day about these boys. Some of it was legitimately worth the hype over which we gave it, but for the most part, we spent our time overanalyzing the tiniest things that the respective boys in our lives probably weren’t even aware they were doing, or were simply doing out of friendship.
Over the subsequent years, I thought that this behavior had dissipated. In fact, for a while, I thought that the longing that I felt to be in a lasting relationship- the urge to get married and have kids and a life and a family was something normal and natural. But in truth, what I felt for all this time was that I was waiting for my life to begin. I lived in a constant state of single and looking- or of dating and fantasizing about the years to come. And through all the heartache and first dates and crush hazes I never realized how miserable I was just being single. I never realized that I was sitting so eagerly on the sidelines watching everyone else live their lives instead of embracing the person I was as a single and getting out there and doing all of the things that I’ve always wanted to do in my life.
In April of 2011, during a particularly ‘lonely and looking’ time in my life, I had an idea for a story. The basic line follows three friends in varying states of relationship drama who decide to make a pact and take 90 days to do everything they always said they wanted to do before they settled down. During these 90 days they would be boy free. No drama, no dating, no flirting, nothing. It was a challenge for them to prove to themselves that they didn’t need a man to be happy. (I know, I know, can you say foreshadowing?)
Anyway- the story writing was interrupted by my quitting one job and searching for another and then put on indefinite hiatus when something incredible happened. I met a guy. And let me tell you- this guy was amazing. Because despite all of the crazy man drama that I have had in the past (and trust me, I’m sure you’ll learn about some of it here) I finally found a good, decent guy who was interested in me. The following six months of pure bliss that I felt with this guy made me forget all about the fact that I was trying to find a way to be happy without a man. He was everything I wanted in a guy. I thanked God for this man every day. I finally felt like my fairy tale ending was coming true. And then one day it was over. Just as quickly and as beautifully as it began, it was all gone.
And I wanted to be devastated. I wanted to sit in my room for days and cry and yell at God and just be miserable. But I wasn’t. The decision that he made completely changed the course of my life as I had imagined it. But it didn’t end my life. It wasn’t the end of my world. And in fact, things stayed pretty much the same for me. God gave me peace and strength that I’ve never felt before. I got up in the morning, I went to work. I did all the things I had done in a regular day and I knew for the first time almost immediately following a break up, that I was going to be okay.
In talking with a friend who knew about the story idea, I mentioned in passing that I was thinking about taking a year off from men. Her reaction was this: “your mind came up with that story idea for a reason”. The more I thought about it, the more a man fast appealed to me.
I know I’m not the only person out there that has these feelings. The above clip proves that I’m not the only one. I’m starting this blog, not for attention, but in attempts to reach out to others like me. Women who are desperate for their lives to start. Women who have been waiting for a guy to come along and make them happy. Women who have been sitting on the bench waiting. Our waiting needs to stop. This blog is my attempt to discover how great life can be as a single. Part self help, part humor, part nostalgia- this is my attempt to find the real me. The me that God sees lurking behind all the pain and heartbreak and fear. One year is my goal. 366 days of not focusing on finding a life partner, but instead doing all the things I’ve always wanted to do and always put off. A year of healing and self discovery has just begun.
Stay tuned for more. Next up is my ‘bucket list’. 25 Things that I want to do during my year of singleness!
To all the women out there like me,
*Thanks to Kayla for editing the video clip.