What do young singles and Pringles have in common? They are both a bit salty.
All jokes aside, it can be unexpectedly difficult being a single millennial. I spent the first quarter of 2015 dating, and entered college single. At times it seems like everyone is in a relationship, operating as half of a whole, and you may wonder if you are as happy as you could be. I know at times I missed the emotional bond and security I felt while I was with someone else, but when I came home for winter break, I had a reality check.
To quote Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us.” While being in a relationship does not require you giving away your whole self to a person, it is natural to give away your head and heart to your partner. I know personally that it is challenging to put yourself first when you are dating someone, and that dating becomes a bit of an extracurricular at times. It distracts you from you, as you begin to develop alongside someone instead of paving your own way.
Do not be mistaken: I believe relationships are wonderful structures that provide support and comfort. But, there are tremendous benefits to being alone as a young person. For example, my free time is spent on creative projects such as writing, reading, crocheting, and drawing. I can go to class dressed up for myself, or in sweats and a t-shirt. I can make big plans to travel or to lay in bed and read for a week during breaks from school. My life is governed by myself alone, and I am drawing the map that I can choose to follow or discard. Being single warrants freedom, and freedom yields lots of room for self discovery.
There was a time a few months ago when I was desperate to be a part of something, because let’s face it, relationships are gushy and glamorous. There is a reason we all secretly love cheesy romantic comedies and re-read Pride & Prejudice out of our own volition. Yet now, I am comfortable in this state of singleness. It has allowed me to focus on deepening magical friendships, taking care of my family, and finding opportunities to have fun and seek success at my university. While I am not opposed to dating, I am no longer looking for another person to make me feel great about myself. I make me feel great about myself, and there is something powerful about a type of deeply-rooted confidence that will never let me down.