Remember that time when you bumped into your ex, surpassed all awkwardness and immediately started chatting like no time had passed. Lamenting about all the good times you had but how you both can understand that things happened for the best. Then, at the perfect moment, you kiss each other on the cheek and part ways better people than you were before; contented in the peace you have instilled in the other and leave being able to move on with your life with love in your heart. And all that’s missing is little forest animals and a mini orchestra?
No, me neither.
Remember that time when you bumped into your ex, hyperventilated like a stressed out cow, and walked away at the speed of sound with sweaty palms/pits and your gorge rising.
*A chorus of yes’s*
My point is, at what point in our twenties do we stop lamenting for relationships gone by, stop worrying about relationships to come, and just enjoy being on your own for a few years. When do we stop competing with our exes? Or become capable of just ‘letting go’ (I hate that phrase)?
When did female singledom become associated with weakness and misery?
A few days ago, I was walking with an aunt who asked me (as usual) whether or not I have a man yet?
Me: ‘No I don’t. But I’m actually really happy. My life is peaceful and I can do what I want. I enjoy it.’ *smiles*
Aunt: ‘Oh…okay… well, if you’re happy… It takes a lot of…’
She literally couldn’t finish her sentence. Now, I’m well aware that in our western culture the idea of ‘being single and free’ is perpetuated more openly and with more acceptance than it used to. But it seems to me that there is a double standard with this; men can be ‘lads’ but women are ‘sluts’. Men can be ‘bachelors’ but women are ‘spinsters’. How is a twenty year old supposed to know what balance she/he is to strike when society has different rules for each gender. How can we challenge the idea that a woman on her own is not unhappy or weak, when society deems her whoreish for living the same life as a man and being happy for it?
Similarly, I find myself falling to internal questioning about ‘when my next relationship will occur’, or ‘has he asked her to marry him yet?’, or ‘am I doing better than him?’ Obsessive thinking and obsessive questioning about exes and future exes. Stuck between the old and the new – unable to fully let go, or squish out that last spark of hope, yet fully expecting someone to come knocking on my door, sweep me off my feet, and take me backpacking with him. Western film is to blame. *grumbles incoherently*
Being in your twenties is supposed to be fun. A time to learn and grow. A time to make mistakes, cry at two in the morning and hit the Ben and Jerry’s like a starved weight watcher. A time to have flings without getting your heart broken. A time to have flings and get your heartbroken. Being caught between bumping into happy exes and conflicting expectations is exhausting. Not to mention confusing.
So this coming week I am initiating a change; I will practise ‘letting go’ (there’s that phrase again), and work hard at being happy with myself, and grateful for what I do have in life. I will practise sending forgiveness to my ex/s and wishing them all the best in life because they do deserve it (sort of) so that the next time I bump into them I feel nothing but indifference. I will stop competing with them, because they have already won. But lastly: I will not be made to feel guilty by anyone of thing for desiring a casual relationship for the short-term, instead of focusing on settling down with a man, two kids and a mortgage before I’m 30.