Notice I didn’t use the word single?
There is a reason for that.
I don’t consider myself single. At all. I’m partnerless, yes, but single? No.
You could say I have a polyamorous soul when it comes to romantic affairs. I’m monogamous when it comes to a lover, but not when it comes to romantic love.
Confused? Let me explain.
This summer, when I hit my 41st year, I had a grand realization:
I’m content being partnerless.
I’m not opposed to partnership at all. I think it’s quite a wonderful thing — when it’s with a good match. Hitting what some term middle-age (though if we are living to 90 and 100 now, wouldn’t it be too early to say that?) — I’ve come to realize one simple truth: every moment matters.
1. Life is too short to settle, so don’t.
I tried settling and it made me feel more lonely than being solo. I wrote about this in my article, There is Nothing Lonelier than the Wrong Relationship. It is better to be alone than lonely, don’t you think? When you keep saying no to the wrong matches, you open yourself up to the right one — eventually. And what if they never come? Well, then you’ve just learned to embrace the one and only true love you will take to the grave: your very lovely self!
2. Love is everywhere — if you know how to find it.
I said I have a polyamorous relationship when it comes to romantic affairs. Those affairs don’t necessarily include other men. The romance I’m talking about is the kind Rumi and Hafiz and Rilke write about.
“Wherever you are and whatever you do, be in love.” ~Rumi
“Your heart and my heart are very very old friends.” ~Hafiz
“And the point is, to live everything.” ~Rilke
It’s a love that has no beginning and no end. It’s a love that begins within. After years of diving inward, I started to fall in love with life in a new way. Solo walks in nature felt like romantic dates with trees and birds and wind. Smiles from strangers felt like little love notes. A savory meal with a friend felt like healing nourishment that made our bellies and the world a happier place. Time with my daughter felt like a sacred prayer. I constantly go back to the romantic poets to remind me what real love looks like. Reading a Hafiz poem is like playing a lovesong to my soul. When my soul lights up, I feel grateful for everything. The energy of gratitude allows me to appreciate every interaction, no matter how small. When I’m having a love affair with life, I light up from the inside out and feel like every moment is rich and meaningful, just as my favorite poets write about.
3. Drop the neediness and gain some coping tools already.
A whining puppy is only cute for so long. I recently described a needy I can’t live without you person as a black hole. Maybe you’ve met them? They ignore your boundaries with their constant emergencies (as in, “Oh I just wanted to hear your voice. I’m feeling _____(insert your black hole adjective of choice here: lonely, bored, etc.). I think most of us have been this person at some point in our lives — until perhaps we had that wake-up message from a friend, lover, or family member that we resented at the moment, but look back on with gratitude. A wake-up message might be something like, “Dude, you have to learn to be alone without feeling lonely, here’s a book on how to be your own bestie, and here’s the number for a great therapist.” No one wants to be told they’re too much, but sometimes that is just the message we need to make us start to look within instead of without.
My wake-up message made me enroll in a yoga teacher training, where my mat, my breath, and a practice that has brought people peace for thousands of years made me see myself in a positive light. Cheesy as it sounds, yoga and mindfulness practice helped me become my own best friend. Therapy played a close second to yoga in my journey to get cozy with all of my emotional states and learn how to process them without constantly seeking outside support.
4. Maybe where you are is exactly where you need to be.
There’s this thing called acceptance. It’s hard. It requires mindful awareness of all that is happening inside and outside of you in the present moment. It requires the ability to just be okay with life exactly as it is. Before I got into yoga, I was into New Age philosophy — you know that as you think so shall you be stuff? It was wonderful for my psyche until it wasn’t. Thinking my way into the life that I wanted amped up my hate for my life the way it was. Instead of being mindful of the now, I was cursing it.
As I began to get comfortable with my body and breath, I began to learn to accept things as they were, imperfect as they seemed to be. Now I embrace a whole new perspective of the moment that you could call acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean you fall in love with every nasty emotion moving through you or unpleasant experience that throws itself into your day. Acceptance means you validate your experience. “Okay, I’m feeling angry right now because that person cut me off, I’m going to breathe into the intense sensations moving through my body as I stay focused on driving safely.” Acceptance is a form of mindfulness; it’s acknowledging what’s happening without trying to change it. As you accept emotions by validating them, you give them space to move through you instead of repressing them or projecting them out in unhealthy ways, like road rage.
Why being partnerless is sexy.
What’s truly sexy is embracing life on life’s terms. Someone who is content with their life exactly as it is emits the glow of someone in deeply in love.
And you know what happens to those people that emit that love glow?
Good vibes attract more good vibes. So, watch out.
Don’t they say what we want always finds us when we’re not looking?
Keep flashing that love glow and the universe with shower it back to you a hundred-fold. I promise.
This post was previously published on P.S. I Love You and is republished here with permission from the author.
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