When asked what makes us happy many of us are tempted to list the things society has instilled in our brains as essential to the “perfect” life; a decent job, that makes money, so we can then buy things such as brand name clothes and fancy cars. This often times comes the assumption that we also have to find the “perfect” significant other with whom we can share this “idyllic” life. Unfortunately almost all of these “ideals” are extremely superficial and very impractical. What’s worse is that they’re often our main goals in life, which I find very sad. Sure a decent paying job is a great ambition, no one wants to live in their parent’s house for the rest of their life or have to worry about what they can afford; coffee creamer or milk for their cereal. However we should all make sure we like said hypothetical job, not just it’s pay. The same goes for significant others, we should never get into a relationship purely out of fear of being alone or because we *think it will fill some nonexistent happiness void. The truth is, no one can fill that void except ourselves, and to do that we all need to love ourselves first.
Many of us are unsure of how to do this, so it’s important to spend time on what matters and gives you happiness in life. I should emphasize that another person does not count as something “important” sure it’s a fair goal or hope that you’ll find your other half, but what’s the rush? You have your whole life to find “the one”, it shouldn’t be your main goal in college and twenties. In fact a recent study shows a third of college seniors have only been on two (or fewer) dates. I’m not saying stop dating, or completely ignore boys (or girls), but don’t build your entire life around it. Make time for you, only you, and things that make you happy, sign up for those guitar lessons you’ve been meaning to take, or start your new fit lifestyle and hit the gym today! You’ll be much more fulfilled after finding a new inspiration or hobby than after tiring months of boring dates with less than ideal people for spending time. Try some things that scare you; go zip-lining, book that trip to South Africa, call your mom back after 13 missed calls, you’ll be surprised how great you feel after. Find and do anything and everything (within reason and legal boundaries) that you’ve always wanted to, the important factor in all of this is of course; YOU.
When you finally begin to put yourself first, and put the “hunt” for the “one” on the backburner, you’ll probably receive some backlash, or some subtle condescending comments about how “You’ll find some eventually…” or “That’s okay, everyone has their rough patches…” These comments can and will come from multiple sources, personally I’ve received them from everyone including random strangers, roommates and friends. It is important to not feel bad, or take their comments to heart because they do mean well, but for some reason the idea of a young woman being content and even happy on her own is difficult to understand. This is because many of our parents and grandparents were engaged or even married at a much younger age than younger generations. And as for the people our age that are telling us we need to find someone, they clearly aren’t okay with being alone, and can’t understand how anyone can be.
The other important thing to remember is you aren’t really alone; you still have your friends, family, coworkers, the baristas who make your daily coffee(s) and fellow commuters while driving home on the freeway. This is the most important thing to remember because while you’re focusing on you, you still need human interaction to prevent from becoming a hermit, and I guess to prevent loneliness too. Ideally these would be people who support you and want you to be successful in life with everything you’re doing.
So please, take a break from those dating websites, stop agreeing to go on every blind date offered to you and don’t feel bad about not having a significant other, it’s your life, you should be doing it for you, not for some idea you can’t place.
Featured Image; d.aniela, Creative Commons