People around me are getting engaged. Three whole couples have decided to take their relationships to the next level, and the men have made it official on bended knee. I’m not going to lie to you; a very real part of me remembers kind of hating those people. Not gouge your eyes hate, but definitely champagne in your face and all over your smug smiles hate. I was happy for them, sure, and shared in their toasts, the clinking of glasses and the sharing of details. How it happened. Did you know it was coming? Let me see the ring. Have you set a date? And a part of me was saddened, thinking I had lost another single friend for Girls Night Out. No, no, I’d remind myself, it’s not about you. But it was. I was unhappy and wanted a serving of their lives for myself. They were making plans, keeping to their plans of happily ever after. They were on their way, crossing items off their life to-do list.
I had a case of the HADS. They had what I wanted, and their having it was just a reminder that I didn’t. And it sucked. And I felt sorry for myself. I’d put on a happy face and participate in bachelorette parties and bridal showers at tea salons, but I was not happy. I was frustrated because I couldn’t make it happen. I couldn’t control it. I just had to wait and let it happen, being open to opportunity. I stopped seeing life as an adventure and began to see it as a race with a clock. It’s hard not to when you have eggs that expire. You want to be married for a few years to make sure the marriage will stick before bedding down and making babies (ha!). You want to travel and enjoy just each other, and since you don’t know how long it will take to get pregnant, you have to factor in at least a year of trying. I had it all figured out and timed. With one marriage already behind me though, I was already up to Plan B, and it wasn’t working! I needed to find someone, for him to find me, and it couldn’t be anyone. It had to be the right person. I cried to my Phone Therapist. "Will I ever meet someone, THE someone?" I would, she promised, because of how open to love I was. Which is actually bullshit. You can be as open as you want to be, but if you aren’t taking risks, if you aren’t extending yourself maybe beyond your natural comfort level, it’s really not much you’re doing. You’re doing safe. What you know. And that’s not growing. It’s living on a treadmill. Then there was talk of "it will come when you least expect it" that left me retching. "When you’re whole." Then they’d say, "Wait, do that again. You know, that thing with your eyes. Wow, I didn’t know you could get them to roll that far back into your head." I was annoyed with my life. "Just be patient."
"Just go fuck yourself."
Oh, I was such a nice girl back then. I was also a dater. An online dater who booked two, sometimes three, dates in a day. I would shop for the life I wanted. I made an effort to go out, even when I felt like staying inside. I reminded myself "it doesn’t take scores of suitors. Only one, if he’s the right one." I watched Little Women too many times (I still do). I drank too much. I went to the gym a lot. I bought more $300 tops than any woman should consider. I carried a debt of about 15k on my Amex. I led a mildly extravagant lifestyle (spending $50 for order-in sushi at least four times a week). I wasn’t jet setting off to Capri. I was being dragged downtown to Cain and other craptacular spots that thought they were cool because they served you drinks on beds. It was not cool. It was work, and especially come weekends when the B&T crowd crowded way too much of Manhattan’s real estate, it was depressing.
I do not miss that life. Not that exact one. I miss my one bedroom, as crowded and claustrophobic as it was. The halls there and letting Linus rip up and down them. Walking to Riverside Park, even. And I’m not a park girl. The proximity of my pad to Fairway. The buzz of people going places. The nail salons! My bedside table. My green wall. The way everything was mine. I miss living near all my friends, watching shows, cooking dinners, meeting almost nightly for our wine at different spots throughout the city. I don’t miss being single, and I completely understand how it feels to still be looking. And the only bit of advice I can offer is, try to see your life as an adventure. Imagine that you’ll be married in less than a year. What do you want for you right now, knowing that soon your life will never be the same? Will you ever have the chance to travel alone? I know it sounds scary or lonesome, but really, you live this life only once. Why wouldn’t you dare to do something that scares you a little? What is it that you think you might miss about your life right now, as it is? Do more of it. Because chances are, that’s exactly what will happen. I’m not sure it’s ever exactly as we planned. Thank God.
***This post totally reminds me of one I wrote back in 2004, back when people were trying to replace black with the latest color: black, it’s the new black. I’m glad people stopped doing that.