As those of us from the Midwest know, Sweetest Day was this past weekend. The less-publicized cousin of Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day is yet another reminder to some of us out there that we are, indeed, single. For myself, I don’t mind this situation at the moment. After all, I have a million other things to worry about. Between classes, work, clubs, and maintaining a healthy social life, I cannot begin to picture having to also juggle the efforts that are needed to be in a successful romantic relationship. My biological clock is far from ticking, and I have absolutely no problem in waiting a handful of more years before responding to my call of being a mirror image of Martha Stewart. Now, I’m not saying that I would turn down Prince Charming if he showed up at my door upon a noble steed, especially if he resembled Patrick Dempsey. I’m simply saying that jumping from one insignificant relationship to another is beyond me. However, we all have that friend who disagrees with this. This is especially obvious in college, as some find tremendous pressure in having to settle down (22 is the new 32). He or she is always on the prowl, trying to find the next relationship to spend a few months on. What they find in these short-term couplings is not immediately clear to me. Maybe it’s self-validation; maybe it’s a quick fix for loneliness or an attempt to mimic the luxurious lives of those seen in “Sex and the City” or “Entourage.” Whatever the case, this concept has been especially bothersome for me lately as I watch various individuals fall into the clutches of unhealthy romances or unreturned affection. With that in mind, I’ve decided to compose a letter directed especially to those who fit this criteria. This is not meant to be unsettling or harsh. I want to provoke the idea that being single is not an illness and doesn’t need an immediate remedy. To all those who worry they will be “alone forever” and to those who hop from bed-to-bed in search of something meaningful, here’s a little something for you:
To my Relationship-Obsessed Friend:
Take a break. Really, breathe. Your success is not measured in whether or not you’re in a relationship. All those ladies or gentleman – you know, the ones that you fawn over – probably are not very good for you. And the affection that you’re longing for will never be returned if you’re searching in the wrong places. In a world overrun by eHarmony and over-crowded singles bars, I understand your concern to “find” that someone special, as if they’re wandering around aimlessly waiting for your arrival, but my advice to you is to stop looking. Honestly, relax for a minute and focus on yourself. Build up your self-esteem and tear down the assumption that being single automatically means that you’re undesirable. Not every individual that you’re interested in will hold a mutual feeling, so allow yourself to be a bit more selective. As Tim Gunn, the chief creative director of Liz Claiborne and TV Personality once said, “Trust that you are superb, and you are.” I now find myself telling you the same thing: You’re worth as much as you think you are, so value yourself in the highest. If you think you shine, you will shine, and that special someone – whoever they are, wherever they are – will spot you from afar. Being overly eager trumps all that, so be calm and open-minded and enjoy your single state of freedom to the fullest. You have the rest of your life to meet your perfect counterpart, I promise.
As a means of conclusion to this piece, I want to leave a few final notes:
To those of you who are in a relationship:
Treat it with care. If you’re meant to be with your partner, make it work, even when it seems difficult. You need to fight for those you love, and if you do not think that the fight is worth being with that individual, decide sooner rather than later. It is never ideal to remain physically in a relationship that your heart has already left. There is no shame is stepping back and moving forward in a different direction. On the other hand, if you’re happy with the one who you are with, consider yourself fortunate and treat your relationship with respect. .
To those of you who are content with being single:
Keep doing what you’re doing and be able to recognize something exceptional when you see it. There is never a need to rush into anything, especially at our age, so remember what the Turtle and the Hare taught us: Slow and steady wins the race. Treat any future relationships with warmth and gratitude and never feel the need to settle for someone who falls below your standards.
With this, I advise you all to do one last thing: Give out love; true, genuine care. Really, throw it to the masses. As much as you want, whenever you want. It’s the most inexpensive and valuable task that any of us can do, and in return, reaps the most benefits. After all, if it is love that you’re after, the best way to get it is to give it. So, love as much as you can with a full heart and open mind, and you’ll end up exactly where you’re meant to be.
– Tina Cisarik, Staff Writer