A little over a year ago, I graduated High School. Looking back it feels like yesterday and a million years ago all at the same time. My first year of college far outranked any of my high school days by about a 1,000%, and though I am way more proud of the person I am now than then, there is one thing I did in high school that I am proud of. I didn't date.

Now I know what you are saying, "you're just making excuses because you couldn't get a date" and although that may be true, I didn't really want to date anyway. It became a kind of personal vendetta; a case of me against them. I wanted to see if I could do it, see if I could get through high school without dating, and I did. Actually, I barely did it. I started dating a guy one day after graduation, but that is irrelevant to this story.

I've said it before and I will say it again, dating in High School is dating out of convenience.

Do you remember that Frog And Toad story about the cookies? The one where Frog and Toad need to exercise willpower and put the cookies away instead of eating the whole box? That story is something I have always remembered because I am a person of very little willpower. I don't mean that I am weak-willed because if anything I am stubborn, but I have always struggled with not eating the last cookie or seeing projects through to the end. About Sophomore year I realized that all I wanted to do was find a cute boy and do what my friends were doing. I was frustrated with myself not being "good enough" or "attractive enough" to find a boyfriend and I wasn't paying attention to loving myself.

Tes

That was the moment I decided to stop it. To stop chasing boys and start chasing myself. OK, that sounds weird, but my point is I started trying harder to love myself and not put my own worth in what the boy I had a crush on thought of me. My whole outlook on dating changed and I started thinking more about what I wanted for myself and less of when I would find the right guy.

This is not Barbie and Ken, this is real life.

Unless you're living in a Hallmark movie, the 1950s, or the American Dream, you are not going to find the love of your life in the group of people you have spent your whole childhood learning career with. As my Grandmommy told me that one time, "you can't love someone else if you don't love yourself" and halfway through my high school endeavor I truly understood what that meant.

So yes, I made it all the way through high school without dating a single person. Even though it was trying and there were many lonely days, I did it. It really was for the best, I spent some of the most shaping years of my life focusing on myself. I learned to love myself for who I am and the positives and negative sides of me. I developed deep friendships with the people around me that have lasted longer than any high school relationship I know of.

The person I am today is one I am so proud to be. Not dating anyone in high school didn't stop me from having life experiences or growing as a person or even having crushes. It didn't stop me from doing anything. All it did was show me that there is more out there in the world than the cute guy in my AP Gov class. Not dating in high school changed who I am, and I am so glad it did.