Reflecting on my trip back home to Puerto Rico for the holidays, I noticed that not only the Chikungunya virus had been spreading around like the mad cow disease, but the “settling down” bug had also taken a few of my 20 something friends, and acquaintances, by their ring fingers; not to mention the ones who'd already been sporting their baby bumps and pictures with their kids all over social media for quite some time.
Don't get me wrong, I'm actually happy for all of you who've been lucky enough to find true love, and someone willing to commit to a long term relationship in the times that we live in, where people would rather have the benefits of being with someone, without the responsibility of making things ‘official’ or ‘exclusive’, and where casually hooking up with multiple partners has somewhat become the norm around millennials now a days.
If you do the math, these attitudes will only continue to promote such culture of emotional detachment and fear of commitment, so if you've been hitting it big and feel that you've found ‘The One’, have recently gotten engaged or tied the knot, I wish you all the best in this one of a kind journey! But as for me, I don't feel like I'm quite there yet.
In this day and age, and within the vast spectrum of the 20 something mentality, you frequently encounter people who fall within these two extremes:
- Those who are compulsively swiping left and right on their dating apps, and who'll revolt at the slightest sign of having someone mention the word commitment to them, and
- Those who seem to be proudly jotting down their vows, that for better or worse, in sickness and in health, will be bound to keep to their significant others.
And then there’s me, unapologetically checking the “None of the above” box.
In all honesty, I've been in both ends of the spectrum, dating and swiping, swiping and dating, and I've also had the chance to meet one or two unique characters in my life, who at one point or another had me thinking about forever and a happily ever after. But as for right now, I am focusing on myself, I am living in one of the most amazing cities in the world, I am seizing every single opportunity to succeed, both personally and professionally, and I feel great about it!
In reality, it all comes down to life being about the choices that we make, and some of us chose to work a little more on our relationships with ourselves, on finding our way and our true voice in this world, and on discovering new talents and achieving new things that we could never imagine being capable of, and we're perfectly fine with doing all of this on our own!
“But don't you get lonely?” someone might ask.
I don’t. I'm actually far from it! Besides being in a stage of my life where I recognize that I have the best relationship with myself that I've ever had in my 24 years of life, I am extremely proud of the amazing relationships that I've been able to cultivate with my close friends, and of the amazing bond that I share with my family.
Both in New York and in Puerto Rico, I have traditions with my friends. We get together for the holidays, we do brunch or have weekly catch up dates, and we are always able to find creative ways to celebrate our accomplishments, birthdays and all sorts of special occasions.
I am also incredibly grateful for the relationship that I've been able to cultivate with my mother, with my aunts, uncles, cousins, and with all of my extended family members who in one way or another have always been there for me.
When I put all of this in perspective, I realize that I've been blessed with a life filled with love from all of these amazing people. So, how could I ever feel lonely? How could I ever feel discontent? Why do people put so much weight on romantic love and dismiss the fact that there are also other types of love that can fill someone’s life with great joy and wonder? Isn’t the meaning of unconditional love “affection without any limitations?” Because I have that. I have tons of it in my life.
In addition, I like to test the boundaries of my strength. I enjoy pushing to the limits of my independence and seeing how far can I get today, and how far will I get tomorrow. What else can I learn about my character? What does it say about my resilience, my capabilities and my persona? And the more that I grasp about myself, the more that I understand the type of love that I have to give and the type of experiences that I want to share with others.
Maybe someday I'll meet someone incredible. Maybe someday that incredible someone will be eager to join me on my one of a kind life adventures. Maybe then I'll be so sure about that someone, that I will want to get bitten by the “settling down” bug, instead of running away from it. But as for now, I am in no hurry, and nobody else should be! When it comes to love, it shouldn't be forced nor pressured. Love should come about naturally. As simple as that. In the meantime, we should all embrace this brand new beginning and simply enjoy the journey.
Until next time,