This is the time in our lives when we are allowed to be the most selfish; but, as my friends and I have been so busy looking up towards our future, I fear we might have missed out on some precious moments this year has offered. These are the last few months that we’ll all be in the same city, in the same relative stage of our lives. The emotional opportunities afforded us in this position are hard to come by from this point forward.
I must have blinked sometime in the past year or two and missed the moment when all my friends entered into what are now “serious relationships.” Not all my friends, per say, but enough that the stark contrast of my all-too-single lifestyle has become that much more noticeable in past months. By serious, I mean basically living together, opting out of girls’ night regularly, using the word “we,” and doing the age-old dance around the 4-letter ‘L’ word. I rubbed my eyes but realized this was no dream. I became temporarily devastated. In our early 20s, this wasn’t supposed to happen yet! I should have at least 10 more years until I have to worry about the “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” complex.
Angry, I wrote it off as temporary. I felt de-prioritized and hurt. They’re wasting their time, I thought, they’ll regret this decision later. Don’t they know they’re missing precious moments with me? I didn’t realize how altogether selfish this thought was.
I had my justifications: my possibly corrupting influence as the “whore friend” became an issue to overprotective mates who thought something must be wrong with me if I chose not to have a boyfriend. Visits to those I’ve known for almost a decade became a chore: dealing with the ‘we,’ which is altogether different from the ‘she.’ I felt my friendships were waning and I blamed the presence of the other, the malevolent boyfriend. Instead of having that one friend everyone thought settled down way too early, I was suddenly the deviant. By myself on an island of singledom.
Likening time to a fluid ocean, the lands had shifted while I was busy gazing upward. It took me a few arguments, when I could get my girlfriends alone, to realize that I was fighting an inevitable change that had already taken place. Eventually I knew I had to suck it up and deal with the potential permanency of their relationships. I realized that just because I’m not ready to settle down yet does not mean they aren’t supposed to adventure on to new lands and new love. I taught myself to stop thinking of the boyfriend as the enemy and to start to see the relationship as it was—two people on a willing journey to unexplored lands together. Once I realized that, I became content on my little island looking at the sky—peering down occasionally to see if my own ship of opportunity has appeared on the horizon to take me on my own willing journey.