Thursday, February 24, 2011

Single to twelve speeds.

When I was single, I went through a serious personal-development phase.  I went to therapy, read a lot of self-help books, and probably had the most utterly boring conversations.  One of the blogs I read then, and still do, is Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, now a best-selling book.  Every week she interviews a different writer about their own pursuit of personal happiness.  This week she talked to Margaret Roach, a gardening blogger.  I particularly enjoyed this question/answer:
Have you ever been surprised that something you expected would make you very happy, didn’t – or vice versa?
I must confess that I really did think the secret to life was in finding the right partner, and spent a lot of time looking for the Jerry Maguire moment of “you complete me.” Today if someone asked my advice on romance, I’d say not to go looking, but to do what makes you happiest and intersect with love as a natural outgrowth of that. Remain open, but don’t undertake a man (or woman) hunt at the expense of the other things on your wishlist.
(Read the rest on the interview)
Her answer reminded me of one of the hardest lessons of life, especially when you're single, which is this: A relationship is never going to make you happy if you can't be happy being single.

That is straight truth!

As boring and lonely as being single can be, if you're utterly miserable, there is other shit going on that you need to deal with first.  You gotta figure out how to be happy on your own.  If your life feels like it's missing something, you gotta fill that metaphorical hole for yourself before someone else can come around and... well, literally fill your hole.  (Did you like that?  That was a sex joke.)

So if you're lonely, spend time your friends.  If you're bored, get into your hobbies, or start some new ones. If you're still blaming shit on your ex, stop it, take some responsibility for the relationship ending, learn something from it, and then get off your ass and devote yourself to those hobbies and friends.  Those hobbies and friends are totally the answer.

The lesson you end up learning is by surrounding yourself with things and people you love, you'll be too distracted to feel sorry for yourself.  If you take it a little further, push yourself a little harder, go outside your comfort zone, take more chances, you'll be stronger than ever and probably have more interesting things to talk about.  So not only does it help the time pass more quickly, it also makes you more attractive, which is a total win/win.  If you're lucky, eventually you'll find someone new along the way.

When I was still single, after I grew bored of all the self-help books, I started hanging out with a friend who rode bikes a lot.  Then I got really into bikes.  And then I met a guy who was really into bikes too.  And then one day me and the guy were really into each other.  It took months but in retrospect it seems so easy.  Step one is simple: get a bike.

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