A week or so ago, I was chatting with a female friend of mine, and the subject of relationships came up. She asked when the last time I was in a relationship. She had bemoaned the fact that it had been 18 months since the end of her last relationship, and she felt like it was a long time.

That isn’t a long time.

Try almost 11 years.

Now, when I was chatting with my friend, I felt quite embarrassed. 18 months compared to almost 11 years is like comparing a heavy rain to a deluge that lasts 40 days and 40 nights! I started to remember all the negative connotations being single always had…

You were alone. You were unable to have a relationship. You were miserable. You were a loser. and so on and so forth.

After our chat ended, I continued to mull over the relationship part of our chat, and how quickly I spiraled into those negative connotations. The thing is, it wasn’t true. Sure I have had some hard times, especially over the past couple years. Even though my current living conditions may not be typical of a person my age, I’m not miserable, or a loser, and honestly, I enjoy my alone-time.

It dawned on me that all my negativity about being single came from faulty resource material, aka “other people” and “society”.

I thought back, 11 years ago, after my last relationship ended. At the time, I worked at a crappy job that paid quite well. All my bills were covered, and I had plenty of money left over for spending. I lived in a house, by myself. I had a newish car that I was making payments on. I saw my friends regularly. I went to the movies whenever I wanted. In short, I had a good life. Why screw it all up by dating someone?!

Things have changed a lot since then. It required some serious adjustment. But being in a relationship right now would only add stress and complications to my life. Stress and complications I wouldn’t want for all the Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

Sure there are some draw backs. Married people, and people in relationships think I knew nothing about either one, or kids, or how to deal anything related to marriage and kids. They usually say that after I’ve made a comment that either struck a nerve or said something they secretly yearn to do, but know they’ll never have the balls to do it. I like to think of it this way: Paleontologists have studied dinosaurs. They are considered experts, yet they’ve never seen one. So just because I haven’t been married, doesn’t mean I can’t have some insight from numerous observations.

The other obvious draw back is being alone. Not having that special someone in your life to hold, confide in, and love can be difficult. Or so society and media tells us. The majority of commercials, ads, TV shows, movies, books, whatever, are geared towards showing that life is soooo much better when you are with someone. It’s like anything used to draw consumers and viewers. Have pretty or cool people, show them happy, together. They are like that because they use this or purchased that. Dimwitted people see that and want that. So they seek a relationship or purchase the item, or use the hair product. They think all those things will make them happy.

As much as I am loath to say it, this girl I used to know was right. Once, she was a proper, God-fearing young woman, who wanted to wait until marriage. Now, she’s a booze-swilling, bitter, lonely money-manager. But one thing she told me has stuck with me through all the years…

“If you can’t find happiness with yourself, you’ll never find happiness with someone else.”

Even a stopped clock has the right time twice a day.

Many people haven’t found their own happiness. So, they continually substitute their happiness with what they are told they need: a relationship, children, a house, a career, etc. That may have worked 30 or 40 years ago, but not any more. There shouldn’t be any pressure to do all the things we are told we should be doing. We need to do them in our own time.

When I was a teenager, I felt like a failure. I wasn’t cool, I didn’t have a girlfriend, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my future. I didn’t truly discover what I loved to do until about 16 years ago. I’m just now getting to a point where I think that what I love to do (writing, duh!) is worth while showing to others. I’m also in the process of learning a second career, to start over.

When I think about that, two things come to mind…

1. Life doesn’t go as planned. For some, it all comes together right away. For others, it takes a while. You just have to be ready when your time comes.

2. If I were in a relationship, I wonder how far off, or worse off, I’d be right now? I might have a kid! Be in a job that I had to stay in because I had a wife and kids to feed! I might have a spoiled brat of a wife who puts her needs and desires over me, and spends us into the poor house. I might have become a resentful, boozing bastard who verbally, emotionally, or even physically abuses my wife and kids.

Sure, things could have worked out good if I had fallen in love, married and had kids earlier. But honestly, whether others like it or not, for better or worse, I think I’m who I’m supposed to be right now. I also see who I want to be, and I’m striving to be that.

Someday, I’d like my life to include someone special. I’d like to fall in love again, because it IS pretty cool.

But until then, I’ll enjoy taking naps whenever I want, the serenity of being alone, going to the movies whenever my little heart desires, going somewhere without having ask permission, smiling at a pretty woman without getting an evil eye or feeling guilt, but most importantly, I will enjoy my independence, and freedom,

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