Greetings from the drivers seat: or what it’s like to be happily single in the age of engagement

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I’m about to say something that a lot of girls might say out loud over a couple of drinks in a superficial conversation with a convenient stranger.

They probably wouldn’t write it down though.

I’m not a lot of girls.

I don’t dream about marriage. I don’t want children. I see both as a lifelong commitment that limits me to a location and a life that maybe someday I won’t want anymore.

I know that is selfish and subject to change. But I’m allowed both. I’m single and 25. And I’ve never been more confident of those words.

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I too have seen people getting engaged everyday. I’m pretty unaffected. I killed a houseplant two weeks ago and every morning I wake up and think about my next move in life. The kind of solidity that these kind of relationships require at this point in my life does not speak to me in the slightest.

I like how independent I am. I like how passionate I can be. I like that when something pisses me off or excites me or just makes me react– I know I have the eloquentness to put my feelings and thoughts into words that I’m not afraid to say out loud or worry (at least too often) that I’ve said too much. In fact, I rarely leave things unsaid. I say what’s on my mind. I write those same letters you never sent, but instead? I sent them.

I like being a mental gypsy. I like having a restless mind. I like being that Elton John song from the Lion King. And most of all, I actually really like being alone. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to wake up next to something other than my body pillow sometimes. That doesn’t mean I don’t get lonely. What it does mean is that the foundation of marriage and relationships- from an outside perspective at least- for being apparently rooted in the idea of two people who love and respect each other and want the other to succeed, feels a lot of the time, incredibly flimsy and superficial.

Explain this to me: You spend your entire life screwing up. You spend too much money. Pick the wrong friends. Choose the wrong job. Move to the wrong state and generally, just migrate from one mistake to the next. There’s nothing wrong with this. The best part of messing up is learning from your mistakes and not doing them again. Doing it better next time. Respect for the perspective you gain. Sometimes, it’s even fun. It’s called LIFE, my friends and anyone who’s said they never made a mistake, you can leave this blog party. Exit to the left. (to the left, to the left)

But yet, when it comes to marriage, this one decision that states very literally, “’till death do us part,” (how’s that for the ultimate YO, DON’T FUCK UP BRO) people seem to all of a sudden have this ABSOLUTE certainty that this person is the other half of your soul, your perfect mate. There is NO WAY I messed this up. I got this particular decision absolutely correct despite an entire lifetime of mistakes leading up to it.

And hey, some people do. My parents for instance. They’ve been married over 25 years now and I live with them so I feel like I can say first hand, it’s not glamorous or anything, but it’s working.

So these aren’t comments from a broken, bitter home. I just come from the school of thought that my parents aren’t the norm, they’re the exception.

Every place I’ve lived has changed me. Has shaped me. From high school, to college, to everywhere between there and now. I want different things than I used to. I don’t know where I’ll be or what I’ll want 5 years from now. I kind of like that uncertainty. The rush that comes with not knowing. The knowledge that the Meg of 20 will be exponentially different from the Meg of 30. In the best possible way.

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I’m also not worried about “meeting someone.” I certainly admire particular relationships in my life. People who didn’t meet on a “normal” timeline. People who are a team as much as a couple. Who talk and then actually listen. Who work hard for everything they have. Who celebrate each other’s victories, and mourn each others defeats. Who stick it out when it’s hard. Who mess up, but come back swinging humility and forgiveness. No relationship is perfect. But there are those that are built to last. That are founded in trust, and respect and honesty. The way I imagine all relationships really should be.

And I want that. Who doesn’t? We’re all just bumping into each other between our 9-5 commutes and alcoholic binges hoping to feel something, anything. And when you do? When you feel something that strong and that intense and that absurd and that crazy and that wonderful– screw it, maybe I’d get hitched too.

But if you see marriage as a checklist item that you need to X out before you’ve really lived, well I personally think you’re missing the point. If you’re out at a bar this Saturday thinking well maybe this weekend will be the one where I meet someone, I think you’re delusional. And if you’re sitting here wondering when you’re going to meet that person who’s finally going to complete you– well, best of luck my friend.

I know people in unhappy relationships. Who hide their misery in the smoke and mirrors of plastic pink happiness hearts and painted silicon smiles. I know people who are unhappily single. Who are waiting at a street corner for an unmarked bus just around the corner. That is always just around the corner.

Me? I’m just cruising to my favorite song on an empty street in the middle of nowhere. I’ve got enough baggage to get me to my next location and I glance into my rearview every once in a while to see where I’ve been. The road has potholes but I can change my own tires and if I see a hot stranger in the distant future asking for a ride, maybe I’ll stop. But I probably won’t. I’m happily traveling solo as I observe others spinning infidelity and miscommunication donuts in passing parking lots.

I turn up the volume, flip my shades and keep driving. I don’t know where I’m going just yet but like the leather seat under my sweet single ass, I’m just here to enjoy the ride.

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