Just over a year. This is probably the longest I’ve been single in my entire adult life. Well-meaning friends are beginning to exert gentle pressure on having me couple up.

“You’re not getting any younger.”

“Don’t you want to be happy?”

Thing is, I am happy, dammit.

Because I’ve learnt to be happy alone – without needing anyone to “complete” me.

I’ve spent the past year healing from a previous relationship and other residual life issues, triumphing over heartbreak, rediscovering lost parts of my soul, and carefully rebuilding my life one Lego block at a time.

I journeyed so deep within but this time, through a lens of compassion and tenderness instead of always being so hard on myself. I got so intimately acquainted with me, that I began to see the beauty in my own imperfections. I embraced my humanity with humility. I learnt to forgive myself. I acknowledged the struggle and my commitment to pull myself out of the gutter. I witnessed my own resilience in refusing to stay knocked down. It wasn’t pretty but eventually, I pieced myself back together and made a new, better me. And I finally learnt to really love myself.

I also took the time to understand why all of my previous relationships didn’t work out. Of course, every relationship and person from my past is different and there are so many variables involved but the common denominator is me and that’s all I have to work with. So I looked at my choices and got really honest with myself about why I would choose certain people with certain patterns of behaviour, as well as the reasons for my own self-sabotaging behaviours that destroyed some relationships. And I found that pretty much every breakdown or issue could be traced back to a lack of self-love and self-worth, and basically feeling undeserving of love. This was the root of the problems. And so instead of seeking out a new relationship as a counterfeit catalyst for “moving on”, I decided to embark on a mission to truly fall in love with myself.

Clichéd as it is, I subscribed to the precept that we can only give authentic love if we are first whole and complete unto ourselves, and so I worked hard at finding peace and happiness within me. I was thoroughly committed to this and tried every prescribed modality, working on all dimensions: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I exercised to feel good about – and inside – my body. I rewired my mental programming through daily affirmations, meditation and journaling. I became more mindful about my internal dialogue. I stopped beating up on myself so much. I changed my story and my experience with the world around me began to change. I allowed myself to feel the terrifying intensity of raw emotion, and purged them out. I even became more prayerful – and playful 🙂

And eventually, I really fell in love with me.

Now after everything I’ve been through and all the hard work I’ve done on myself, I do finally feel deserving of the kind of love that I used to only dream of. Through this process, I’ve gotten extremely clear on the kind of partner and relationship I want.

The longer I’ve been single, the more resolute I’ve become in my refusal to compromise on my ideals.

Does it make me idealistic? Perhaps.

Does that mean I’m “picky”?

Yes, m’am, I am.

I feel I’ve earned the right to be. In fact, I feel everyone ought to be “picky”.

Why should we yield to society’s pressure to conform and in the process, shortchange ourselves?

Oh, I need to get married soon because all my friends have gotten hitched?

Fuck that.

Oh, I need to have a baby by a certain age because my clock’s ticking (and that’s what’s expected of a woman)?

Fuck that.

Oh, I need to be in a conventional partnership comprised of one boy and one girl?

Fuck that to infinity.

The reward for conforming to norms that aren’t aligned with our core selves and values is a life of misery.

So why do we cave to such pressure and make choices against our better judgement at times? For the approval of others. For fear of missing out. For fear of losing out. And for fear of being left on the shelf.

Well, I refuse to live another moment of my life gripped by such fear.

I’ve borne witness to too many unhappy couples in toxic relationships (not to mention my own) and those stuck in miserable marriages because they walked down the aisle for the wrong reasons – or are staying together for the “right” ones.

So I’m holding out.

I’m holding out for that great love I crave. I’m holding out for a truly deep connection with another human being; one that transcends the physical and for which my soul thirsts. I know the person I’m holding in my heart is rare to come by. But I know she’s out there.

I don’t know when or where we will meet (or if we already have) but one thing I am certain of, is that I would honestly rather be alone than with the wrong person. By wrong, I mean someone who doesn’t understand you. Someone who doesn’t get you. Someone whose value system contradicts yours. Someone who doesn’t believe in you or your dreams. Someone who doesn’t challenge you to grow or inspire you to be a better person every day. Someone who brings out the worst in you. Someone who doesn’t let you be you.

One of the loneliest experiences in the world is to feel so utterly empty inside – even with someone sleeping right next to you every night. All it makes is for an uninspiring life, drifting on autopilot year after year in a desolate fog of one’s own making. Been there, done that, and never again.

So I’m not in any rush to find just anyone to hook up with, just for the sake of having a warm body beside me. And it is a very conscious decision I’m making, not for a lack of options.

I don’t want mediocre. I won’t settle for status quo. Don’t give me “good enough”. I’ll run the other way from run-of-the-mill.  

I want all or nothing.

And so I’m taking my time to find the kindred soul that my own has spent a lifetime aching for; one who will paint my universe in a riot of colours and imbue it with richness beyond anything I’d imagined; one who’ll make my pulse race, my heart explore new depths and my mind run laps around intellectual discourse in equal measure; one whose vision of the world will inspire this fellow dreamer to greater heights; one who’ll make me believe that magic and miracles exist because we’ll create a life together filled with such.

The one worth waiting for.

And in the meantime, I refuse to settle.