When I found myself single during the pandemic, it was as if my social media algorithms began trolling me. I started to see advertisements for engagement rings and dating apps every day. The Botox ads started showing up as well, as I inched closer to the other side of thirty.
It stung, but I saw I had two options: I could let these ads get the best of me, freak out about dying alone and look for someone to shack up with — or I could buy myself a beautiful ring, loosen my grip on life and commit to loving myself and having my own back. I chose to put a ring on myself, and loosen my grip. So far it’s working.
Accepting and Leaning In
For many of us, being single during the pandemic has brought up some of the deepest solitude we’ve ever experienced. Even if you’re a self proclaimed love-your-single-life kinda gal like me, it’s probably been a little jarring.
The fact that single life can be challenging, however, is no reason to rush to find someone. Relationships come with their own challenges, too.
With more people marrying later than ever, choosing not to marry at all, marrying once and than quitting, or going for round two, three, or more, whose to say which way is best? The data is inconclusive.
The idea that we are running out of time, or losing our reproductive viability is often a fear tactic used to sell us things (Botox, anyone?) and a surefire way to end up in a rush-job of a relationship.
So even though many of us have been faced with long periods of being deeply alone this year, it’s time to radically accept it. It’s time to see it as an invitation to strengthen our most important relationship — the one we have with ourselves.
It’s liberating to accept being single without needing to change it. If you can accept the potential you’ll be single forever, that’s where things get really liberating, and you stop convincing yourself something is missing. This is typically also about the time you do actually meet someone.
The truth is, we are all alone. We’re interconnected, but we are also ultimately alone in our bodies, our minds, and our unique experiences, and that’s ok.
Photo by Hanna Postova via Unsplash
You Can Buy Yourself a Ring, a Dress, a Bouquet of Flowers, Chocolate, or Whatever Makes You Happy
I do not covet any of my friend’s spouses, (although I’m happy to see friends with great people) but some of those rings, man, they’re really sparkly. They’re really nice.
You don’t have to wait for someone else to give you the jewelry, the pep talks, the flowers, the chocolate, the compliments, support, or the vacations you seek. Give yourself the love you are waiting for.
I Put a Ring On Myself
I realized I could wistfully look at those pictures of sparkly rings, spiral out about being alone, and go on the dating apps in a fit of desperation (never a good idea) or I could appreciate my situation for what it was — a moment in time where I had the freedom and opportunity to move where I’d like, do what I’d like, and further my career. Plus, I realized, I could just buy myself a pretty ring.
So, I bought myself one of those sparkly rings. I’m engaged to myself, and when I look at it, I know it means, “I’ve got you. I choose you. I love you. I’m here. I’ve got your back. We’re going to have a good life together, no matter who comes, goes, or stays. I will always have your back.” You have to show up for yourself. You can’t break up with or divorce yourself, so you might as well commit to loving yourself ‘til death do you part.
When I look at my ring it also means: I don’t have to wait for a pretty ring, or settle for a so-so relationship just to get one. I can actually just buy one.
I’m not ashamed to want something glittery and a little fancy on my hand, and I certainly don’t want to have to wait for someone to gift it to me.
Learn to Love It
I realized I could hop on dating apps (and I did,) and try to fill this longing, this fear of being alone, of dying alone, with the company of someone else, which I knew, internally, was a losing battle. We can never rely on other people to fill us up, it’s always an inside job.
Commit to yourself before you commit to someone else. Sure, you may want partnership, and that’s perfectly ok. I do, too. You can still love this phase of your life, and trust that it is unfolding just as it’s supposed to. You don’t know that you’d be better off in a relationship right now, so just hold on to your big girl panties.
Get engaged to yourself for now. The ring will be gorgeous, because you know your own taste best.
My ring is a little loose for my ring finger, so I’m wearing it on my index finger instead. Maybe this way there is room, and no confusion in the future, if another sparkly ring ends up on my hand.
Commit to Yourself
Say yes to yourself. The biggest perk is that you never have to worry about divorce, a prenup, or in-laws, because it’s just you and you for now.
Make the commitment to yourself. The relationship we have with ourselves is the only one guaranteed to last ‘til death do us part.
Love tends to show up when we’re not looking, anyways.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Photo credit: Elia Pellegrini via Unsplash