Have you ever been completely captivated by a new friend; by their interests, by the way they do their hair, by their style and subconsciously changed who you were to be more like them? Imagine doing that for nearly seven years. The past four months have been the longest amount of time that I have spent alone since I was sixteen. Never have I been more in tune with myself, and only myself. No matter how equal a couple is, how happy you both are, you change bits and pieces of yourself to make it work. Compromise is great, but knowing who you are first is vital for a long lasting relationship. How can you be with someone else if you aren’t even sure of who you are?
Breakups are hard and messy. I don’t think that anyone enjoys being on either end. Sometimes, though, despite how good things are, taking a step back and asking yourself tough questions is important. Am I happy? Will I be happy in 10 years? Do I feel like myself? These are all key. Being alone is okay. I can’t stress this enough. Take the time to learn about yourself, buy the things that you truly like, spend time with those that you truly enjoy being around. Figure out who you are without mirroring another person. Go out when you want to, listen to the music that you like, flirt, date around, do whatever you need to do. Just take the time to seek your happiness and most importantly, be yourself.
Right now I am living in a cute apartment with a sweet roommate and my angel floof, working at my favorite bar in St. Louis and I am happy. I spend my time taking an embarrassingly large amount of food pictures, staying out entirely too late with new friends, and being lectured by my mom for drinking “too much” during our weekly dinner dates. I don’t sleep enough, I rarely exercise, I make mistakes, but I am happy. It took a bit to get to this place, I had many lonely nights filled with tears and definitely a handful of freak outs where I thought I couldn’t handle it. But ultimately, somewhat selfishly choosing to be alone has been the greatest decision that I’ve ever made. I’m also very fortunate to have a kick ass support system of friends and family that helped get me here. When I first started my food blog, I was obsessed with eating clean all of the time. I was obsessed with buying the best brands and trying to keep up with the big bloggers, and I would make myself feel horrible if I slipped up. I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned is to just chill the fuck out. Not only with my diet, but with everything. No one is perfect, and even though I constantly told myself that social media is such a superficial platform that allows people to only show what they want, I didn’t believe it. It took being grounded in other areas to realize that the brand of tortillas or eggs that you buy honestly doesn’t matter. It got expensive, and it’s unrealistic to maintain. You shouldn’t go broke just to prove to someone you’ve never met other than on the internet that your content is valid. I’ve learned to somewhat tune out those around me and focus on what I like, even if it changes daily. Try not to strive for perfection, it doesn’t exist.
I have also redefined what “love” means to me. Love is so much more than being romantically involved with someone. I have learned to fall in love with life. I have so much love for my friends, for the weird things that I’ve collected over the years, for my family, and for my coworkers. I love daydreaming about being a model from the 60’s. I love photography. I love watching movies. I love coffee dates and stumbling (sometimes literally) upon tiny bars that have been there for years but that are new to me. I love sharing new experiences with new people. When you switch what “love” is in your mind, you open yourself up to so much happiness and relieve some of the pressure to quickly find a partner just so that you’re not alone. Fall in love with more than just a person, and you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. I think about the future a lot. I think about what city I will end up in, what career I will have, and the people that I’ll meet. It’s exciting to be young and have limitless options. I’m content here for now, but if I decide that I’m not, I can do whatever the hell I want. I’ve never been in this spot before, and it feels good.
With that being said, of course I don’t believe that being single and alone is the only way to be happy. I have a plethora of friends in healthy, loving relationships. It just seems that when you have a better understanding of who you are, you are more able to be someone else’s partner. I wasn’t able to find that while being with another person. Even something as simple as cutting my bangs or buying vintage furniture instead of modern, I always questioned if the person I was with would approve. When you’re alone you call the shots and it’s pretty cool. Being independent as an adult at some point in your life, no matter how long, is important for growth and self awareness. You’ll probably fall on your ass at times, you’ll stress about money, you’ll get lonely, but it’s all temporary. Just try to remember that wherever you’re at in life, it’s okay. Fill your time with good people and positive energy. Read books, stay out until 3am sometimes and search for hobbies that you enjoy. Life is not forever, so find your happiness however you can. It’s worth it.
Lizzy In The Lou