There will come a time in our lives, when seemingly out of nowhere, all of our friends and family’s minds will simultaneously combust with concerns about us dying alone.
“Are you seeing anyone yet?”
“When are you thinking of settling down?
“Tick tock, you’re not getting any younger…”
Um, no thanks. I’m still trying to figure out how to buy “adult clothes” for job interviews.
I avoid the conversation like the plague. It’s one of those topics that discourages me from attending familial and social functions. Like aren’t you interested in my career or thoughts on current events? There are literally a thousand talking points out there that are way more interesting than my love life. I empathize with my female counterparts, because if I’m already this annoyed as a privileged heterosexual male, then they must be experiencing this sort of nuisance times a hundred.
I am uncomfortable with this idea of having to check off specific life benchmarks every time I hit a certain age. I don’t roll up to the local retirement home and holler at the 80-year-olds like, “Y’all ready to die yet?!” Just because I’m in my late-twenties now doesn’t mean I’m ready for that kind of commitment. What if it’s not even on my radar at all? We behave as though this is a universal want and need. We live in such a monocultural bubble sometimes. The influences within our microcosms inadvertently set the standard for the way we view the world like a thousand voices screaming the same sentiment into an echo chamber.
Listen, I respect and love all of my friends who are married. Some of them have found an incredible sense of bliss and purpose within their marriages. I already know I’m a great partner and will potentially be a great husband one day, but there’s still so much life left to see, discover, and experience as a young person before I am ready to take that leap.
My first heartbreak in grade school came with a very important lesson: you’re no good to anybody if you don’t know how to love yourself. I was a broody and mopey kid spending days upon days being hung up on the same girl. “Why doesn’t she love me the way I love her?” I still am that kid some times, but at least now I’m able to pick myself back up. There’s something underrated about self-reliance. We have been socially conditioned to not only desire co-dependency, but to also think and react in an unrealistically sacrificial manner that is detrimental to our own well-being. We call it “selflessness.” I have seen folks who take this misguided concept to the extreme until there is nothing left of themselves to give.
I want to be the ultimate version of myself, so that one day I can share a partnership with the love of my life in a thoughtful, equal, and meaningful way. We complete each other by already being complete people. Someone once lectured me that the idea of “finding yourself” is just another way of getting lost. To that I say: “How do we know what we’re made of if we’ve never been challenged?” Sometimes it takes getting lost to find your way back.
Self-empowerment and self-improvement through self-care and self-love is neither self-indulgent nor selfish, but a fundamental responsibility to one's self.
Don’t forget to love yourself.