Monday, March 7, 2011

Sleeping in the Middle... Or, the Benefits of Being Single

I have a big, comfortable, pillow-top Queen-size bed all to myself.  It's mine.  I have pink sheets and a comforter with brightly colored flowers.  I can make my bed or leave it messy.  Pile up laundry on it or read in bed for as long as I want. I don't share it with anyone. I have four big, puffy pillows and I can sleep at the foot of my bed, in the middle, draped across it, and I can roll around as much as I want.

I could sleep all of those ways, but instead I sleep curled up in a ball far on the left end, leaving all that space empty.  Sub-consciously, I curl up because I think I should have someone there with me and it doesn't feel right to use all that space by myself.  I forget that I can use the whole bed because that is one of the benefits of being single.

A good friend of mine, who isn't single, once reminded me that even when in a relationship, one can still feel really lonely.  She also reminded me that I am having a great time as a single woman.  She's right.  Just because I am single and sometimes really lonely, I'm not sitting at home every night, lamenting my life and listening to Gilbert O'Sullivan's Alone Again (Naturally) on repeat.  I lead a full, well-rounded life; I have a great family and a good network of friends.  I meet really interesting people and find myself in really interesting situations, and I do things I never did when I was in relationships.

Since leaving my last serious relationship, I have traveled all over the US, met some fantastic people, became part of a band, began writing more, got three tattoos (and counting), have gone to some great concerts, reconnected with old friends, made new friends, danced until my feet felt like they were going to fall off, driven across the country, dated some very interesting people, and overall have finally began to LIVE my life the way I see fit.

There are a lot of things I like about being single:
  • I always do what I want to do, and I don't have to consider anyone else in my plans
  • If I want to do something, I don't have to worry that my partner won't want to 
  • I arrive places when I want, I leave when I want 
  • I always choose the music that I listen to in my car
  • If I feel like eating at a particular restaurant, I can go by myself, eat what I want and not worry if my partner will like it
  • I buy myself great Christmas, birthday and Valentine's Day gifts 
  • I don't have to split holidays with another family 
  • I always hold the remote control 
  • If I feel like getting away for the weekend, I jump in my car and go
  • I never have to check in with anyone 
  • I get to write a blog about my adventures 
Granted, for each of these items, there are things I don't like about being single - but instead of focusing on what I don't like, I figure it's time to embrace who I am right now.  I can't sit around waiting to be happy (more sage advice from my niece, D.), I have to be happy right now.  Someday, I will be in a different situation, and I will miss these carefree days of not being responsible to anyone but myself.  I'll miss them, but because I've decided to enjoy them while I have them, I'll look back on them and smile.

I know that when I get into a relationship, things will change.  I will be considerate of my partner and I'll expect the same in return; we'll check in with each other, include each other, be honest when we need space, and build a life together.  I also know that my get up and go attitude will be altered.  I accept that - it's a trade-off for being with someone.  I also know that in the past, I have altered everything about me and given up a lot of my interests, hobbies and the basic core of who I am because I made my partner's wants, interests, and needs more important than my own.  If there's anything I've learned about myself, it's that I never want to do that again.  The biggest benefit of being single has been learning who I want to be when I'm in a relationship, and learning that I'll be a really awesome girlfriend - not because I'll give up everything to be with him, but because I'm coming in as a whole, happy person.

There's an old saying - the grass is always greener on the other side.  While living on the single side of the fence, I miss the feeling of being with someone, snuggling while watching TV together, always having a date for, well, everything and just knowing someone is going to be there when I've had a long day at work.  I miss sharing my big bed.  I also know that someday, I'll miss my single days, but I'm not doing all this self-work to be un-happy with someone.  I know that when I miss being single, it will be a fleeting moment because the relationship will offer a different kind of fulfillment.

I wrote about soul mates last week, and the importance of finding fulfillment with myself.  I guess one could say embracing the positive side of being single is a practice in truly accepting myself and treating myself like The One.  In case you were wondering, New Walgreens Guy didn't make it past a few phone calls.  He was running the ol' "I can only call you during the day or when I'm driving" game, and we all know what that means (click here if you don't).... and so it goes, I remain single... It ain't so bad, now that I stop and think about it...

Tonight, I'll sleep in the middle of my bed and take up all the space I can.

Next time: Trees and Rivers 


  1. I love your closer to this one, Andrea.

    And much of what you write here makes me think of this:

    Don't know if you have heard it before, but give it a listen.

  2. Great song, thanks for posting it, Rich!

  3. Great post!

    Going to sleep in the middle of my Queen size bed tonight!

  4. I echo Tala on this. Gonna eat in my favorite restaurant and sleep in my comfy bed tonight! Awesome post Andrea. Keep it coming!