"How do you like college?"
"I love it."
"So do you have a boyfriend?"
This is usually how most conversations go with adults, former classmates, or anyone else I catch up with when I am home. On the outside, I smile and say I am "too focused on school."
The strong, feminist part of me wants to proclaim that I should not need to explain why I do not have a boyfriend. After all, I have always been proud of the fact that I have found success and happiness on my own. But my insecure, vulnerable side cringes at the fact that I am almost 21 and have never been in a serious relationship.
Sure, I have dated. Sure, I have liked boys and they have liked me back. Sure, I have had "offers." I am perfectly content being single, but sometimes I wonder if the world disagrees with my state of happiness.
Someone once said to me that if you are not dating in college, you better start an online dating profile after. Another friend told me this is the time I should be "finding someone." While the average age of marriage in this country is going up, there are still a handful of girls in my sorority or at home getting engaged or planning weddings.
So while other women my age might be planning for that "all-American dream," I cringe at the thought of dating. I find it awkward and uncomfortable. I can also say I have not found someone I feel "connected" to yet.
This does not mean I have never felt horrible about my state of eternal single-hood. There have been several phone calls to my mother, venting sessions with friends, and changes in the way I dress and act. I have cried, prayed, and thrown my hands in the hair when it comes to matters of the heart. But on my journey, I have also experienced a remarkable love I have found in myself.
I have laughed, cried, and stayed up all night with best friends. I have performed on stages and traveled all over Europe. I found solace in the written word. I am planning to study abroad this fall in Salamanca, Spain where I plan to celebrate my current relationship status learning, dancing, and making memories by myself for now.
While I have already seen many friends experience a roller-coaster of emotions during long-term relationships, I know that romantic love is a milestone I have plenty of years left to take on.
Years which I intend to use to learn ballroom dancing, French cooking, and speak in fluent Spanish. Maybe, I will skydive, jump off cliffs, bungee jump, or go scuba diving. If a mystery man wants to join me, I will be all for it. But for now, if my path is intended for a single set of footsteps, I know I will be okay.
Society often conditions us to find a "great love." But I already have that. It is within me. I do not need someone else to affirm that I am pretty, smart, or worthy enough for a relationship because the greatest relationship I will always have is the one with myself.
So the next time someone asks me if I have a boyfriend, I will already have an answer: "No, I do not have a boyfriend and I am doing just fine."