I hate that being single is thought to be synonymous with loneliness.
First of all, alone time can be a great thing. After years of constantly spending my time with another person, when I suddenly found myself single, I realized that there was something about myself that I had never before thought to be a problem: I have no fucking hobbies. Literally nothing I enjoy doing on my own in my free time, because I was never, ever alone in my free time. And, much to my dismay, people think it a little odd when they ask, “So what do you like to do for fun?” and you respond by saying, “Well usually when I’m by myself I literally just lay in my bed and stare at the wall and think about life.” And rightfully so, because yeah, that’s fucking weird.
(Disclaimer: I’m fucking weird so I’m okay with it still, but there’s only so much laying in bed and staring that you can do until you start to feel like you might be a pile of trash and need to actually mobilize your body every once in a while).
Although I will never consider myself to be anything less than an extrovert, I’ve learned to enjoy being alone and forcing myself to take on hobbies. Things that I’ve always had an interest in or wanted to learn more about, I actually do now, and I actually like it. And also, with being alone, sometimes you’re forced to pick up hobbies that you didn’t actually like before but now really enjoy. For example, cooking.
Now, the cooking story is actually a funny one. About two years ago, when I found myself applying to graduate programs, on many of the applications you were asked questions that literally had nothing to do with anything academic. One of these questions that I came across on several applications asked about what I enjoy doing in my free time. Since I thought it inappropriate to say, “drinking”, or, “laying in my bed as staring at the wall”, or a slew of other completely uninteresting/inappropriate things that I enjoy and are not at all actual hobbies, I would say things like, “cooking”. Now, two years ago, I absolutely hated cooking, and I in fact did not do it very often. I would try, but usually end up being too tired/hungover/lazy and would end up going out to eat or mooching off of whatever Mike had cooked for himself that day or week. But then I lived by myself and realized that I was gaining weight because of my take-out habits that were fueled by laziness and mild depression, and I was not happy about it. So I started cooking. And now I actually like doing it, like, a lot.
The act of being alone is not inherently bad, and it is not always something that is unwanted by those of us who haven’t found our person yet. And although it’s been shitty at times, I’m so glad that something that I didn’t think was good has taught me something so valuable.
But this is only one small sliver of why I think that we need to throw this idea that single = lonely (or, more specifically, unwanted lonely), throw it out the car window, and back our vehicles up over it.
More to come on those other reasons later, since this post is almost as long as the last paper I turned in this past semester.