The other day my friend and I decided that this summer we’d do what we believe all 20-something college girls should experience at least once in their life.
No, not that.
A methodical but equally spontaneous trip through Europe. Yes, we are venturing off into the land of fiestas, siestas and language barriers. We’ll wine and dine with the Italian, share a baguette with the beret-wearing French and live la vida loca in Spain.
Completely and totally on our own.
My thought process is this:
We are young. We are single. The only responsibilities we have that matter are calling our mothers semi-regularly and remembering to do laundry at least once every few weeks. So now, I’ll ask you this.
If not now, then when?
For a vast majority of my junior year, I've allowed temporary distractions to dictate my happiness and ultimately cause me countless nights of regret. The following isn’t my proudest moment, but I’ll share it anyway because the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one.
Recently, my happiness has depended on how well things are going with whatever guy I like/want/was speaking to at the time. Like a hamster on a wheel, I have felt like I’m going absolutely nowhere, with the inability to change the course of my path. When my infatuation with one guy ended, a new one began.
For what seems like forever it hasn't been about me. It’s always about:
“When is he going to text me?”
“Do you think I’ll see him at the bar tonight?”
“If only I had a boyfriend.”
If my life were documented like a resume it would say “to be determined” under the achievements section.
Up until a week ago, I hadn't picked up a good book in months. Hell, maybe even years. I hadn’t gone out on a Saturday night without the intention of spotting somebody across the bar. I hadn't challenged myself to try something new or make something great or do any of the things I have etched in a notebook in the back of my closet.
It wasn't until a late night drive and good conversation that I realized the problem wasn't the guys. The problem was me.
I’ve overdosed on trivial people, thinking they could somehow fulfill me. It might sound simple and maybe even obvious, but you are the master of your destiny.
It was that same night that I sat with this friend and made a list of 21 things that would contribute to my next year of self-improvement. By my 22nd birthday, I’ll have learned to play the piano, traveled across Europe, made a commission off my paintings, learned to make a kick-ass cocktail and done many other things that I’ve always wanted to do but never have.
The fact is, I don’t think I even want a boyfriend. I think I’m bored and ready for life to throw me a curve ball. Europe would be completely out of the question if I was dating. Besides, I wouldn't be living to my fullest potential with a boyfriend attached to my heart.
I wrongly assumed that I couldn't be happy until I found somebody to make me happy. This, I have learned, is not only incredibly wrong but embarrassing when said aloud. It’s now clear to me that I have the power to directly impact my own happiness.
I’m not saying give up guys or even practice celibacy. I mean, that wouldn't help anyone. I’m saying find a happy medium. A balance of accepting the reality that pining for love is inevitable (and exciting) while also remembering to live for yourself.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn't in love with love and like most 20-something girls, I can’t wait for that seismic love to sweep me off my feet. But for now, I’m taking a break from that hunt to pack a bag, stamp my passport and travel for the sake of being young and single.
Because if not now, then when?