August 28, 2013

Finding My Story: Oh No, I'm Single (Again)!

What Mandy Thinks: "Words of Advice" post
As I mingled through the crowd at my sister's wedding a few weeks back, I overhead my mother talking with one of my uncles and cousin.  As I approach them, I hear these exact words: "Oh, she's just struggling to find the right guy."  Guess who she was talking about to them and the rest of the wedding party whenever it was frequently brought up mostly by her?  Oh, just the older sister of the bride who is still not wed and apparently can't find a man.

My gut reaction was what I ended up blurting out Napoleon Dynamite style: "Mother!  I am NOT struggling, GOD!"  Then I really thought about it... I mean REALLY thought about it.  Am I actually struggling?  Since my younger sister got married before I did (to her high school sweetheart of five years - gag) does that mean I need to rush into one-up-ing her after she's "already won the race to the alter?"

That's a big fat juicy NOPE.

My name's Mandy.  I'm twenty-three years old and GOOD GOD, AM I SINGLE?  STILL?  OH HEAVENS, NO!  What EVER shall I DO?!  (Fans oneself dramatically.)

Why am I single?  Besides the fact that I do not go out much, spend my social time with a few close friends, and talk way too much to my cat... I'm just not actively looking because I DON'T WANT TO.  Why is that such a huge deal!  The "whatever happens happens" mantra I live by has led me to some relationships that started out cool but ended up not working.  I do not regret any of these "failures", SO THERE, since they are leading me through my inevitable story.  Also, as you've known from this post about my sister and this one about my take on online dating, I HATED EVERYONE through my broody teenage years when that was an excellent time to practice all the angsty dating stuff I ended up going through in my early 20s. "Blooming late" hasn't been some sort of consequence through finding love and the happily ever after junk.

A lot of what I've been through has been all about me and not about me at all.

My lovely sister and her perfect husband met in high school.  My parents met each other in their late 20s at work.  One set of grandparents ran off and got married months after meeting each other.  The other set ended up divorced when my mother was a kid, and then my grandfather remarried.  Everyone's story is wonderfully unique.  I'm going to figure out what my story is after my story has begun not before it's even written.  Who will I meet and when and how and why?  I can only control so much of my exposure to the dating world whether its trolling online dating (which you already know hasn't worked) or meeting as many new people as possible or even reconnecting with people from my past.  If there's some sort of plan or track I'm following that ends down an aisle or not, it's something I shouldn't fuss over like my mother does.  She's outside of it all just wishing and hoping I'll find the same happiness her other daughter scored while I'm on the inside purposely not pursuing.  Call me scared to get hurt again.  Call me overly introverted for not going outside.  Call me a hypocrite for as many reasons as you want, but I'm single right now and that's fine (and as you've read so far is not exactly breaking news).

I watched a lot of TV and movies growing up.  What did most of these plots tell me about dating and love before I actually started dating?
  1. You'll go through your fair share of losers before meeting your soul mate.
  2. High school romances are forever even if life gets in the way.  They'll almost always work out in the end.
  3. "Waiting for the right person" equals a loser virgin with zero love life which is what nobody wants to be.
  4. Being single and being lovely are the same thing.
  5. There's plenty of rules you need to know which you either already know or will find out from friends and family.  Exceptions to said rules almost never happen to normal people (*cough* my SISTER *cough*), so follow them like your life depends on it and you'll be hitched in no time. 

All this reminds me of a comical yet healthy take on the single life from a YouTube channel BlimeyCow:

I'm not trying to blame mass media for my warped perspective on dating (or debate it as partial blame right now at least).  Instead, this video and the rest of the single-positive media have the best point ever.  Take your time and don't rush into anything because being single is AWESOME!  Meeting that person you'll end up with can happen tomorrow or in fifty years or not at all, but that's not something you can predict or force no matter how hard you try.  Your story, whether you call it a love story or life story, is being written as you read this - no jumping through the chapters!  What everyone else thinks is best for you or will lead you to finding happiness (since you apparently aren't happy enough) can and will lead you down the wrong path.  It's always going to be YOUR move that starts those meaningful chapters, not theirs.

While others consider me "struggling" in finding love, I'm actually NOT thank-you-very-much.  I will not "get back on the horse" until I and only I want to, not because I think I have to based on somebody else's point or plan.  The single life is something grand, and until somebody comes around to make the couple life and even the married life a gillion times better, I am being Switzerland and staying out of all the drama that is single bashing.  I am finding my story on my terms.

What is your take on "finding your story?"  Do you singles out there agree with how awesome it is to be single or are you frustrated with it?  Any couples out there want to share their story?

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