Being a student is hard.
Working part-time as a student is hard.
Keeping a steady budget and paying bills as a student is hard.
Managing a schedule chock full of classes and shifts while trying to maintain a social life is hard.
Being single is not hard.
If anything, it makes life easier. The point of this article is not to knock those who are in committed and faithful relationships, but to remind those who aren't that it's not the end of the world.
Too many people dwell on being alone, and I've just never quite understood why.
In high school, relationships didn't make sense to me. Teenagers trying to be serious with one another, but still having to ask their parents permission to borrow the car -- how ironic.
I got into one out of peer pressure and guilt, but all it did was ruin my relationship with one of my best friends and confirm my prior beliefs. Granted, I wasn't with the "right" person, but who is at 16?
I'm not bitter about it nor have I avoided relationships specifically because of that one incident. It just opened my eyes to the reality of commitment at a young age: it's unnecessary stress.
At a young age, I became the friend that everyone came to with their 'relationship' questions. Adolescents doing stupid things, trying to incorporate whatever they saw on Facebook or MTV into their own lives -- helping people craft that risky text to their significant other when things were "complicated" was my specialty.
Every once in a while, I would ask people why they would come to me when they knew how I felt about relationships. Every single answer revolved around me being level-headed or having common sense.
Basically, people felt the same way I did about relationships, they were just scared of being alone (God forbid you finish school before worrying about the rest of your life -- what a ridiculous concept).
Fast forward to college, and I still get the same text messages seeking advice. Except now, they're about pregnancy scares and Tinder matches rather than who's taking whom to the dance.
Yet, I still haven't been in a committed relationship.
I can't tell you for sure if I've ever been in love, but I've certainly shared mutual feelings with someone I could see being a part of my future. When I started having those feelings, I looked at my life differently. For the first time, I started to consider that a relationship may not be a burden after all.
I was talking my friends' ears off about it, trying to make sense of having legitimate feelings for someone and wondering if it was worth all the emotional vulnerability. For a short while, I had no interest in meeting anyone else, I didn't even mind sitting at the table, watching the drinks while everyone else danced with a guy at the bar. My mind let loose and I soon thought about little else but one guy and the possibility of a future with him.
Just when I decided that it was worth it, there was a problem: we were both in completely different stages in our lives.
That is so common at this age, I don't know why people try so hard to fight it.
I woke up and realized I wasn't ready to start playing house. I needed to reel it in and get my priorities in check. I'm in school to plan my own future, not become a spouse. Why get seriously involved with someone on a completely different path who isn't ready to settle down either?
Homework, exams, bills, family, friends, grades, work -- why add emotions on top of all that stress?
Everywhere I look, people are making decisions about their future based on their significant other: where they move, where they go to school, whether or not they take a job -- to me, it's sad.
I've never felt more like myself than when I exercise my freedom to treat dating like an extracurricular activity. School doesn't allow for much free time, and when it does, I owe that time to myself: to have fun and de-stress. There's plenty of fish in the sea, and fishing is a hobby -- not a lifestyle.
We have the rest of our lives to commit and settle down (or for the pessimists who are convinced they'll die young, why waste our youth trying to force everything into place?).
Don't stress about finding 'Mr. Right'.
Get yourself a 'Mr. Right Now' instead, because he's probably still figuring it out too.