For today’s post, I’m going to go back in time as a way to mark Single Awareness Day (Feb. 15), to revisit some columns that I wrote when I was single. I wrote a monthly singles column for about two years, right before I met my husband. Here are a few of the columns from those days, which cover online dating, long-distance dating, reality-show dating and that dreaded Valentine’s Day . (Click on the headline to read the full column.)
You look familiar. Are you on JDate?”
I don’t know why I felt the online dating service was anonymous; I, too, recognized some of my fellow partygoers’ faces from their tiny onscreen photographs. Yet, acknowledging this recognition was still disturbing.
All the choices we’ve made in the past brought us to wherever we are now. What if the person I’m supposed to be with made other choices that led him to a different city, and his life just hasn’t crossed paths with mine yet?
I know there’s not only one way to meet the person destined to be your “significant other.” For some there’s a connection at first sight, while for others, it comes after years of friendship. At the very least, I’m glad I’ve decided to do my dating privately rather than on national television.
Married couples take for granted little things like always having a ride to and from the airport, having somebody else pick up their prescription from the drugstore when they’re sick in bed and somebody to help them hang a picture.
Singles have to depend on themselves.
As I drove through neighborhoods that looked both comfortably and eerily familiar, I relied heavily on intuition and not on a map to find my way. I passed street names that I hadn’t thought of in years and recalled odd bits of memories as I drove past various places. I reflected on the different phases of my life and the people who shared them with me – family, friends, fellow students, colleagues, neighbors.
Can you determine your compatibility with a person by examining their music collection?
When you first arrive at a theme park and unfold the smooth, unwrinkled map, the day is full of possibilities.
By the end of the day, as you wearily exit the gates, you toss the torn, crumpled map into the garbage. You’ve already experienced the map’s promises and have formed your own opinions about its contents.
Such is life.
As my generation steps into the spotlight, it’s now up to us to perpetuate the next generation – and to keep the flames burning, so to speak.
It’s not an easy task.
Greetings from Planet Single.
Sometimes it seems like we live on a different planet. There’s no sense of emotional gravity – floating around and never really knowing where you’ll land.
You tend to associate mainly with those in your hemisphere – when fellow single friends start dating someone, it’s like they breathe different air. All of a sudden, their weekends and evenings are taken up and they seem to disappear from the radar screen for weeks or months at a time. When those relationships start to fizzle, then you start seeing those friends around a little more. First little blips – maybe an occasional Sunday afternoon movie or a weekday dinner. Then all of a sudden they’re back, sending e-mails inquiring about your weekend plans.
I wasn’t going to write about it. I was just going to let it slip by, unannounced and unrecognized. But it’s a difficult holiday to ignore and since it fell exactly on the same date this column was scheduled to run, it was unavoidable.
Valentine’s Day. A pink and red world filled with roses, candy and fluffy teddy bears. A barrage of radio and TV commercials warning men that without a gift of jewelry, the woman in their life won’t realize that they’re loved.
I never liked Valentine’s Day.
Imagine what the world would be like if dating was as regulated as the real estate industry.
First there’s the listings – with Internet dating and classified ads, that already exists. You scan through the listings and decide which location, age and special features you prefer.
Once you find someone you’re interested in, you set up a date, using a certified dating agent. This agent accompanies you on the first visit, and will later offer his or her educated impressions and advice.
If both parties are happy with the first meeting and wish to continue the process, they must sign a contract confirming their intentions.
Maybe it’s that introspective haze I find myself in each year near my birthday, but I’ve noticed lately the delicate balance between taking control of your life and realizing that you don’t really have any control. So many singles seem to focus on the obstacles in their lives rather than appreciate what it is they have.
Rather than enjoy the benefits of singledom – freedom, independence, more time to spend with friends and do things they love – they lament their single status and let it overwhelm them. I understand that, but at the same time I’m realizing that life’s too short to wait around for something to happen (i.e. the “right” person to walk into it). It’s still important to be open to love, but at the same time, you can’t put your life on hold waiting for it.
Reflections of single life
One of my favorite parts about writing this singles column was the emails and letters I received from readers thanking me for writing about this subject and sharing my stories. (Sometimes people would tell me they were surprised that I would write so much about my personal life and occasionally I’d get a phone call or email from somebody who asked me if the column was about them. Sometimes they were, but never in a malicious way). Everybody goes through different stages in their life and it always helps to know that others are going through similar experiences.