In my younger years, I got into a relationship before I was ready. That relationship turned into marriage, followed by the birth of a child and a dull complacency, and resulted in divorce. For some strange reason, this led to a search for the next relationship. And then another when that one didn’t work out.
At some point after these relationships ended, I came to a realization: I didn’t value myself enough to not be in a relationship. I was always seeking one out.
During this time, I was also seeking out other avenues of change.
One of the first things I did after the last relationship ended was hit the gym. I’m no Arnold, but I can safely say that I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been. I’ve been steadily improving over the years with various exercise. The L-sit is one in particular I’m trying to master, and eventually work my way up to a V-sit. It’s not easy and will take me a long time to get there. To add to the difficulty, I feel like I’ve improved in some areas while plateauing in others.
I’ve been raising my standard bit by bit each year. My lowest days are still better than my regular days were a few years ago.
I’ve also been eating healthier. I’m not on any sort of strict diet or anything (diets have never worked for me). What I have been doing is cutting or replacing the less healthy things in my diet. Things like chips and soda have worked their way out of my diet, while veggies and water have found their way in.
Cooking is also something I’ve been doing more of. While admittedly not my favorite activity, trying new recipes and different dishes is something I’m learning to appreciate more and more.
When those relationships ended, my first emotional inclination was to turn to the bottle, partying and one night stands. I was seeking some sort of validation within those activities. I wasn’t taking the time to figure myself out and what I really wanted out of life. It wasn’t until I started looking inward that things started to get better for me.
And after nearly four years of being single, things aren’t perfect. I still have low moments, times of loneliness, where the thought of having a companion to snuggle and watch stupid movies with seems like the most pleasant, yet distant, thing in the world.
I’ve had to learn how to cope when things aren’t going so well. I don’t have another person who’s always there to fall back on, to validate my feelings when I have moments of insecurity. I have friends and family, of course, but I don’t live with them. They’re not always available for that reassurance that is so easily accessible within the down comfort of a relationship.
For some reason, going to the bars to look for love and spending the entire weekend hung over and depressed when I didn’t find it really started to lose its appeal.
So I had to get creative. I started seeking out more change.
In those days of old, there was an exclusive preoccupation with things going on in my own little world, and not much of what was going on around me. Now, I often think about things I’ve never thought about before.
I read more. Reading has become my default for consumption of entertainment, whereas it used to be television and video games. While I still enjoy TV and video games, I spend far less time doing those things than I once did.
I’m writing a fucking book now. Reading a lot birthed an ancient desire within me to write, one that lay dormant since I was a wee lad writing Ninja Turtle fan fiction.
I’m taking classes, including a dance class. Dancing is not something that comes naturally to me, either, especially when it comes to dancing with strangers. Moving my body in unusual ways challenges my mind, as well. It is very uncomfortable for me, but that’s why I continue to do it. I’m happy to report that it is gradually becoming less awkward each week.
I’m a better dad. As I’ve learned how important educating myself on various topics has been for me, I’ve become more engaged with my daughter. We have designated nights for homework, we converse more and go on nature walks together.
I pay more attention to the world around me. I educate myself on political and social issues and try to form my own opinions around what I learn. I vote, which is only something I’ve been doing for the past few election seasons.
The Future and Its Many Possibilities
For me, at least, all of these things wouldn’t have been possible if I wasn’t single. They are things that I didn’t have the drive to pursue or simply never thought about.
I’m at a place in my life where I no longer actively seek out a lifelong mate. That’s not to say I’m shutting out the potential for one. If the right kind of person comes along, that’s great. She will find that, rather than burdening her with consistent pleas of validation, I’m pursuing and participating in the things that matter to me. And if she is the right kind of person, she will extend the same courtesy to me.