Once I stopped trying so hard to find “him” so I would no longer be single, I found the time and the space to find the real me.
123RF Photo / Tetiana Kozachok
I was interviewed last week by a journalist for Sweden’s national radio network. She wanted to know more about Singular magazine, SingularCity and what it’s like to be single in America. I’ve spoken to a lot of journalists about the topic, and each time it seems I learn something more about myself.
The latest insight came when she asked how my life changed once I decided it was OK to be single. At that moment, I remembered what it used to be like when finding “him” was a top priority. Sure, the search could be fun at times, but more often than not, it was a dutiful obligation like grocery shopping and paying bills.
It was something I had to do because that’s what you were supposed to do. I’d been told all my life that having “him” was necessary if I wanted to be a successful, happy, grown-up woman. So, like a lot of single women I know, I spent hours reviewing potentials on Match, getting dolled up with my girlfriends and going out to events like trendy wine and food tastings where I focused not on the wine or the company of my friends, but scanned the room for eligible men.
Oh yes, the hunt was on, and finding him became like a second job. It required work. You had to get out there and search. You had to do it with dedication and commitment. He wasn’t just going to walk up and knock on your front door, for Pete’s sake!
But then, in late 2007, a year before launching Singular magazine and SingularCity, I came to a surprising conclusion: maybe being single wasn’t so bad after all. Maybe I’d been single for such a long time because deep down inside, I liked having my own space, enjoyed my independence and needed time of elective solitude.
I started to question what I’d been told and what I’d read about the wonders of marriage. I read books by people like Bella DePaulo and started to notice how single people were treated as “less than” by their coupled friends, how they were discriminated against and judged and stereotyped. I noticed how my single friends, men and women, were just as weary of online dating as me, but didn’t dare stop for fear they would miss finding lifelong happiness.
And best of all, once I decided it was OK to be single, I had time to turn my attention to other interests that had been pushed aside or left unexplored for decades. It made it possible to try things I’d never really had time to do before, and best of all, it gave me a sense of peace and acceptance for who I was now, instead of being anxious about who I needed to become in order to find him.
When I stopped the mate hunt, it gave me the bandwidth to finish my college degree and launch a business, which created even more amazing opportunities because Singular has been all about meeting friends, going to fun places and traveling. I discovered hobbies like my love of restoring old homes. I started a second business and achieved my dream of being self-employed. I got involved in several non-profits and made a lot more friends, real friends that I enjoy spending time with – not because we go on group mate hunting expeditions, but because we enjoy each other’s company.
I got comfortable being me, my real age, my real weight, my real self – instead of trying to package myself into something that would appeal to Mr. Right. I no longer went out on dates with men that I thought I should date (like that boorish dentist that made my skin crawl). Instead I dated men I found genuinely appealing because there was a real spark of mutual synergy between us – and only if we happened to meet through some kind of serendipitous, “organic” situation – not because we evaluated each other’s “ad” on Plenty of Fish.
Once I got OK with being single, I was free to be me, the real me, the best me, the authentic me, and an entire world of possibilities opened up. When I think now about how I worked so hard to be “in a relationship” and the times I came so close to marrying the wrong man (and the one time I did marry the wrong man), I’m so grateful for my singular epiphany. Nothing will keep you from reaching your full potential like being partnered with the wrong person – and being single really can be the best way to become your best self.
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2017 Singular Communications, LLC.
Kim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.