With the second year underway in which I am single, I got to wondering how could it be that I am relatively unbothered by this dry spell. This is certainly the longest that I have ever been without a significant other. But the truth is, I am not sure which is more alarming -- that this is year two that I am single or, if left no other choice, I could ride out on this single wave. While I am not as happy as I could be if I had a beau, I am also far from unhappy. I guess I am suspended somewhere between hope and resignation.
The right significant other would certainly add some much needed vibrancy to my days' mundaneness. But for the first time in a very long while, life is pretty good. It is peaceful and drama-free. It is uncomplicated by love's demands and complexities. I do not have to concern myself with the intentions, feelings, issues, finances, well-being, trustworthiness, or desires of another. I can just be. After my past relationships, I am spent.
That ride or die, by your side through any kind of weather, we can make it work no matter what girl is gone and likely never to return. In her stead is a survivor who, dare I say, has standards and now knows exactly what she wants from love if there is a next time around. And it's nothing short of almost everything.
I thought I had it all figured out. That is until I shared my brilliant perspectives on love with a woman whom I trust and simply adore -- my aesthetician, a 60-something year-old divorcee with no children. She too has weathered love's storms. And the passage of time has only enhanced her wisdom, her beauty, and her knowledge of self. She is not jaded or pessimistic when it comes to love. She is rather matter of fact about it. If it shows up, great. If it does not, she will continue to enjoy her freedom and life's pleasures.
During a recent treatment, she poked and prodded around my heart looking for bumps and blemishes just as she did with my face.
"So are you dating?"
"Not yet," I answered feeling the slight embarrassment I tend to feel when asked that question.
When I opened my eyes and glanced up at her, I saw a look of concern and then empathy sweep across her face.
"I'm not even sure that I care about dating. I never plan to marry again. I don't want anymore kids. And I do not want to expose my son to random men. Plus, going on a date means that I have to pay a sitter so that I can go out with someone who may not even be worth the expense or time away from my son."
I could see her contemplating then quickly dismissing my unsolicited litany of reasons as she continued my facial.
"You have to change your mindset. Are you going to meet someone and then spend the rest of your life with him? Probably not. But you've still got to get out there."
"I know that I do, and you're right, but it's hard. Being a single-parent is a round-the-clock job. I'm exhausted. I would rather sleep or curl up on the couch and watch TV than go on a date. I know exactly what I want, and I also know that there's not much out there, so I'm not too eager to get back on the dating scene."
Once again, she wasn't buying what I was selling.
"You have fear and trust issues."
I laid there baffled at how fear and trust issues were all that she was able to take away from what I had just explained. What about the praise for my being cautious, for considering what's best for my son, for knowing exactly what I want and not settling for anything less?
Never one to badger, she simply offered, "You're too young to give up. You've got to get back out there."
When I got home, I thought about our conversation. Was I more transparent than I realized? Were all of my reasons and rationales nothing more than excuses not to give love a try again? Was I allowing fear and an unwillingness to trust hold me captive in the safety of a world that includes only me and my son?
Later that evening, while pinning on Pinterest, the resounding answer to all of my questions manifested itself. The pin read:
It's okay to believe in love again.
It was as if the universe was grabbing me by the shoulders, and shaking me awake. I had lost my belief in love. Convinced myself that love was not for me. That it was fleeting, unpredictable, painful. That only a fool would willingly jump on and off this roller coaster that takes you to soaring heights, only to let you free fall, make you sick to your stomach, scare you out of your wits, and jerk you around.
But no matter how I try, I cannot deny love's sweetness. How it can make you feel reborn. Make you radiate from the inside out. Connect your soul to its kindred soul. Make life all the more beautiful.
Indeed, there is no perfect love. But despite its imperfections and failures, it is still magnificent.
It's okay to believe in love again.
And I think I do.