Our lives are, in general, pretty structured. From the minute we’re born, our plans are already charted out for us. We go to school, graduate, work, get married, have kids, retire, and eventually die. And for all of our efforts to be different and seek out adventure, we’re actually content to follow this path and meet all of society’s expectations.
To graduate high school. To get a job. To be a contributor to society. To follow the law. To be a good neighbor.
But all of these pale in comparison to the biggest expectation that society, your friends, and even your parents impress on you: to find a partner.
We live in a world where smartphones feature dating apps. TV shows film teenage relationships to audiences of middle-schoolers. ‘Speed-dating’ is an actual thing. The average age of getting married is 27, and half of those marriages will ultimately end in divorce. ‘Bachelor’ dating shows aren’t enough, so we now have ‘Married at First Sight’ programming.
In short, finding a partner and getting married is hyped up.
For most of my teenage life that I can remember, I’ve always had the nagging fear of dying alone. Seeing so many friends in happy relationships made me think I was missing out on so much. Even just comparing myself to my sisters and being the only single person in my family got to me. It was as if everyone else was experiencing a whole other side of life that was just out of my grasp.
So, I started going on dates.
Lots of dates.
And although I met some interesting people, and some people who were a lot like me, nothing really clicked. I wondered, “Is there something wrong with me? Are my standards right? Do I even know what I’m looking for?”
The last question is why I’m writing this. When asked, I tell people I’m looking for someone funny, kind, and smart (aka everyone’s wish list). But the thing is, I’ve been on enough dates with people fitting that exact bill, and (surprise) I’m still single. I still don’t know what I’m looking for. And that’s ok.
Through all the dates and disappointment and bills from Java House, I started to lose interest in the process as a whole and began questioning why I felt the need to date – to fit in, to spend time with just one person, to invest in something personal – overall, to be happy. If happiness comes in pairs, mine was simply another date away.
It may very well be true that being in a relationship brings you happiness. I don’t know that. What I do know, after some reflection, is that happiness is all around you, in every aspect of your life. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been now in my second year of college. Time is flying by, but it doesn’t seem as much like an hourglass to find a husband anymore.
I’m happy to have amazing friends and family in my life. I’m happy to be from the best state in the country, and going to the best university in the state. I’m happy to have a great job and enough money for groceries. I’m happy with where my life’s at right now. I could get happiness out of a relationship, but my life is full of happiness, so I don’t need someone else’s.
Seeing my friends date and get serious with their partners doesn’t upset me; by any means, I’m happy for them. Who knows, that might be me some day. My point is just that no one should feel the need to find someone and rush their life like that. The world is big, life is short, and as long as we make the most out of our years, we’ll do just fine.
Do not feel pressured to date and find your husband/wife; love will find you. There’s a saying, “good things come to those who wait.” Well, why spend time waiting when you can go out and enjoy all life has to offer in the meantime? If I never find someone, I’ll still take satisfaction in knowing I’ll have lived a whole and happy life. I hope you can, too.