Living the Life I Choose

Throughout my life I’ve struggled with fitting into the “norm.” One of the earliest examples is when I invited my imaginary friends to dinner at my grandparent’s house next door- place settings and all- thinking (and truly believing) my friends would show up.  Maybe they did. Anyway, I much preferred what was going on in my imagination to people in the actual, physical world.

I’m still that way a lot of the time.

As an only child, my days were filled with art, drawing, and imagination- not social interactions.  I often fall in love with ideas, with feelings, and with inspiration.  Sometimes, and this has happened more than I can count, I fall in love with what I want something to be, not what it actually is. 

Perhaps this is one of the reasons I’ve done so well in long distance (or even unofficial) relationships.  It allows me the freedom and time, yet also fills that “companionship” void.  No daily obligations, no unrealistic expectations.  Shouldn’t life be all about going with the flow and having fun, anyway?  Life is so serious on its own- let’s not complicate it more than we need to.

This brings me to the “expectations” part of my train of thought.  Society tells us how a typical family looks, from nightly sitcoms to fairy tales illustrating living “happily ever after.”  We think there will be a meet cute, some drama, and in the end, we get swept off our feet… but there’s a finish line.  Marriage, family, kids.

People rush into things because they think it’s what they’re supposed to do.

There’s no right or wrong, but I honestly can’t see myself living that life- and even if I did get married and have a child, I’d probably live in a city apartment on the East Coast, not out in the ‘burbs with a list of household chores and yard work.

Sure, I turn 34 this year and people tell me “there’s time,” but what if I don’t need time?  What if I know what I want?

I’ve thought about this time and time again, and I’ve tried to warm to the idea of going home to a house full of people, jam packed weekends with activities, and taking care of others.  Call me selfish, but I don’t want that.  At all.

It’s okay to want what you want. While I’m not writing this to put down the choices of others, I want to make it clear that it’s okay to want something different than what others expect of you. Life should allow you room to grow, explore, and to follow your heart- not the “norm.”

Live the life you love– I promise, it will all fall into place if you listen to your gut, take chances, and step out of your comfort zone.  You’ll only regret the chances you don’t take.

Table for One- Enjoying a Date with Yourself

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Coffee at one of my favorite NYC spots, Cafe Lalo

Dining alone has been one of my favorite pastimes through the years, from solo meals during travel to lunchtime people-watching along city streets. I’ve never been uncomfortable eating or showing up places by myself- from movies, museums, bars to concerts- I enjoy my own company. I love being in my own little world, the lack of small talk, and coming and going as I please.

I remember one particular evening a few years back when I took myself on a date. Yes, a date- with myself. I was living in San Francisco and had a free Friday evening; no plans, no friends around, no dates lined up. I thought to myself, “what would I do if I did have a date? What would I want to do?” I was in the mood for sushi, so I decided to take a stroll to Japantown, where I indulged in a glass of wine, sushi rolls and a movie at Sundance Kabuki. It was the perfect Friday night with me, myself, and I.

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Looking back, not much has changed in the past six years. I still thoroughly enjoy my own time and space and have lived in three other cities since that San Francisco evening. It goes without saying that I don’t have a problem adjusting to new, unfamiliar environments. However, this move has been different; this time I haven’t made much effort to be social. I’ve been given opportunities and have been asked out on dates, but lately something clicked:

Being alone sure feels good.

No compromising, no miscommunication, no confusion. Time to myself- time to reflect, learn, and grow. Time to be me. Whether you’re single or attached, there is something priceless about becoming your own best friend. As Carrie Bradshaw said,

“The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you that you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”

Being alone has taught me to be my own best friend, my spirituality has become my support system, and staying in the moment has kept me grateful for what I have.

Until the day comes when I meet someone who is worth sharing my chocolate lava cake with, I’ll enjoy every bite to myself. After all, the best things are worth waiting for- and I won’t settle for vanilla.

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Bachelorette

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Ah, another holiday weekend has passed.  Whether you spent it with family, friends, working, or enjoying the company of yourself, I hope it was as relaxing as mine was!

I joked the other day that I was having a Cat Lady Christmas, but after Bernice knocked over my coffee, dumped colored pencils into her litter box, and scratched a hole though my sweater, I decided it wasn’t a “cat lady” Christmas after all.

It’s a Bachelorette Christmas.

I ordered a pizza, breadsticks, and salad to prove it.

Could I picture having a pet to come home to every day?  No.  Am I responsible enough to clean up after it, play with it, take it to the vet, and be sure I actually do come home to feed it?  No.

I don’t remember the last time I bought actual groceries, unless you’re talking about pre-made dinners or odds and ends like cereal, almond milk, and yogurt.

Sure, I like pets… the same way I like kids.  I enjoy them for a period of time, but then I can give them back.  No, I am no cat lady.  I am not an old maid or a spinster, either.

I am a Bachelorette.

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Always seeking magic.

Let’s think about it for a minute.  While many women dream of white picket fences and starting a family, I dream of high rise apartments, writing a best-selling novel, solo vacations, and excitement.  While people are celebrating an engagement, marriage or new baby, I am celebrating moving to a new city, getting a new job or buying an expensive handbag.

Sure, those who are coupled-up celebrate these things, too- but they often do it together.  I do everything alone (and I love it).

I thought these things were a phase; that once I hit a certain age my nomadic life would be set aside and I would invest in starting a family.  That entails settling on a place to live, buying real furniture and putting someone else’s needs above (or equal to) mine. Hmmm.  I am not sure about that.

I enjoy my alone time, my career, writing and life experiences.  I’d absolutely love to find a partner who I can do those things with- or someone who would support me or live the same type of life I want.

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A gutsy girl, a bookworm. I am many things… but I will never be put in a box.

My American Dream is having a beautiful place in the city, a job I enjoy, the arts at my fingertips, enjoying amazing food and spending it with a loyal, supportive, loving partner.  I don’t have a desire for “stuff,” a car, 2.5 kids and dozens of people around me.

I want to live simply and happily- and I want someone who feels the same.

Over the past year I have begun to value minimalism, mindfulness and quality over quantity.  I never want to live in the suburbs and try to “keep up with the Jones’s,” nor can I picture getting married for the sake of getting married.  I won’t settle.

Until I find my own American Dream, I will consider myself a Bachelorette.  It’s a pretty good life, especially when you get to eat pizza on Christmas.

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Let Freedom Ring! 4th of July 2015.