year of being single

I wrote this blog post in a tapas restaurant on the gorgeous island of Majorca last month. I was there, alone, for my annual solo trip abroad. This has been a birthday tradition of mine since 2011, and it’s one I hold dear to my heart.

This trip felt particularly poignant, because it was the first holiday I’ve taken on my own (not including training and work related adventures) since ending my last relationship 12 months ago. As you might remember from this post, I spent a mere 19 months of my twenties on my own. So this has been a fun, big, and important year for me!

My word for 2017 was SOVEREIGN and being single for 2017 has seen that word vibrating in my cells this year!

So picture the scene for me, will you? Spanish local red in hand (and in belly), oily olives and grilled octopus and chewy bread for days. Pen to paper, my heart to yours, I wrote down some of the things I’ve learned over a year of being single. 

year of being single

  1. I’m crap at small talk. When I sit down with you, I want and need to know everything about you. We’ll go deep. I’ll ask you for your collection of astrological signs (and if you don’t know your moon and rising signs, I’ll calculate them for you), where you fall in your family birth order (eldest child here) and if you get along with your siblings. I want to know if your job lights you up, your Myers Briggs personality type, and what kind of music your parents played when you were a kid. It’s not that I’m a creep, or judging, it’s just that I’m entirely fascinated. I think that’s still my favourite part of dating — getting to know new people and the huge array of life-ness and human-ness out there.
  2. I am so so so so so so so so so so introverted. I have literally gone an entire week without speaking to a single human person over the past year. I love my own company, and particularly when dating, I really really need it. My calendar will ALWAYS have more nights allocated to time alone than social plans.
  3.  I can look after myself. I left home when I was 18 and I’ve been financially independent since. Besides my last relationship, I’ve always earned more than my partners. I’m good with money. But if I’m honest, there was always a comfort in knowing that if a quiet month rolled around, or a big holiday was coming up, or if we were buying something new for the house, then that cost would be split between two people. Some things are just more expensive on your own. But I really can look after myself, and enjoy it, in so many ways, but particularly financially. It turns out that there’s a sweetness that comes with paying my hefty London rent each month, and buying 100% pure French linen for my bed, and ordering a spread of tapas for one, on my own.
  4. Girlfriends are EVERYTHING. My friend Lacey jokes that she’s my Practice Husband because of how much our friendship has deepened this year through both happy joys and intense vulnerability, but also simply through the amount of TIME I’ve had available to spend with her. I treasure the space I have right now to spend with my babes; Saturday nights cooking vegetable feasts and pulling tarot cards, long Sunday walks that blend into brunch dates that blend into afternoons lazing on the couch together drinking tea, morning workouts, lunchtime yoga classes, and the odd Monday evening pub date together.
  5. When you end a relationship, it’s easy to quickly end up in another one. When you’re in that energy, and being in a relationship is your default, it happens to the best of us. But that wasn’t what this year was about. I’m grateful for my intuition on this one. And you know, my therapist, and aforementioned girlfriends for gently reminding me!
  6. If something doesn’t work out with someone, it doesn’t mean you’re a crap person. Dating is a potential FUN PARK for your inner critic. There’s been two men that I would have liked to have seen more of this year, but although we’d had a stellar connection, neither were available. Their current landscape had nothing to do with ME, yet my critic dealt a firm hand (“If you were a bit more like this, and a bit less of that…”) and I sifted through a lot of that nonsense before coming back to the truth that I AM ENOUGH and the truth that our soul contracts with people extend beyond the romantic ideal of decades of monogamy and marriage. A connection over an evening, a weekend, or a few months can be incredibly meaningful, but it mightn’t “last”. And it’s all perfect as is.
  7. I’m way way way way way more clear on what I want in a partner. And I’m super happy to wait for it.
  8. But being single is not a waiting room. When I say “wait for it”, I don’t mean I’m sitting around waiting for this magical unicorn human being to enter my life and whisk me away and make everything great. My life is already great! It’s so so so great. And full. And whole. And creative, curious, exciting, fulfilling, loving, passionate, and surprising. No pause button. My life is (very much) still happening!
  9. Online dating is fun, but meeting people in real life is way better (and hotter). I’ve been promising you a post on online dating for awhile now I know — it’s coming!

    year of being single
  10. It’s only ever, ever, ever going to be me. Partners screw up, they leave, they die. Relationship or not, past present future, it’s only ever going to be me inside this weird human skin. It’s always just me. Just you. Just us, on our own, doing this Life thing and fumbling along, alone, as we go. But how liberating is that?! The relationship we have with ourselves is everything, and it’s everlasting. In September, in Cornwall, I bought myself a ring to remind myself of this, of the integral nature of SELF UNION, and I’d say, probably, that that’s my most precious realisation of this past year of singleness.
  11. Ovulating when single can be a frustrating time. Not to mention the pre-menstrual need for a man cuddle! That shit is real. I’ve gotten to know my cycle in a whole new way since being out of a relationship. My inner Autumn is when I most miss being in partnership with someone else (which is hilarious to me, because this was the season I struggled the most in in my last relationship — I would constantly find myself looking up cabins in the bush to run away to once I hit day 25!), but once I bleed, I’m good. I’m back in my skin. By my inner Spring, I’ve no interest in men. I just want to be alone and do my thang. But come ovulatory Summer, as those hormones peak… oh boy, I’m all in again. Gimme. 🙂
  12. The post-intimacy part is weird in casual relationships. “So you mean we just hook up, and talk about that time your sister did that thing when you were 12, and how you started playing guitar again because you really love it, and taste the insides and outsides of each other and… that’s it? Oh, right. Cool. Nah, that’s cool.” (Basically: sex hangovers are a real thing, and I resonate 100% with everything Juliet Allen writes here about choosing your sexual partners, and environments, wisely.)
  13.  Time without sex is a funny thing. This year I committed to the longest chunk of celibacy I’ve ever had in my adult life. I’ve needed this chapter of sexual self-containment to really be with me, sans energetic connection to anyone else (see #sexhangovers above) and it’s something that I would recommend to anyone after a breakup. I mean, not right away necessarily 😉 It’s not easy! I love sex! And I love loving! But cultivating a sense of sovereignty in my sexual energy has felt important.
  14. I’m basically a vegetarian who eats meat once a month. Right before I bleed, to be precise. And I also just love simple dinners. No fuss. Cooking for one, to me, is such joy.
  15. It’s a wild world out there. And we humans are into all kinds of relationship dynamics and flavours. I grew up with heterosexual parents in a monogamous marriage in a small town. It’s been fun to unravel my perceptions on love, romance, sex, dating, commitment, desires, needs, etc.
  16. The energetic cycle of a relationship can last much longer than the relationship itself. It takes time to unravel from habits, beliefs, behaviours and thought patterns (not to mention potential traumas) that we cement in partnership with someone else; a relationship might be physically over, but it takes time for us to adjust and come back to centre. It’s an important process to honour. My dreams, particularly premenstrually, have been where I’ve tracked the completion of this relationship cycle. Each bleed has been release after release. (God, I love my cycle!!)
  17. Being on my own is way easier than being in a relationship. I travel when and where I want to go. I live how I like to live. I watch the Netflix series that I actually want to watch, and my weekends are 100% reserved for me. I make future plans dependant only on myself. And I get to take up the entire bed. Also, I don’t have to deal with anyone else’s emotional crap or *ahem* “growth points”. (Note: easier doesn’t necessarily mean better.)
  18. This has been a time to heal. I’m really good at taking on other people’s stuff in relationships (see above). I’ve learned that this is not conducive to my own healing, health or happiness — or anyone else’s. Therapy, shamanic journeying, cord cutting, yoga, cleansing, dreaming, journaling, meditating, cycle tracking; this has been a year of healing my heart, and realising that it’s never my job to do anyone else’s healing for them. I’m ending 2017 so so so bloody proud of myself for being with the discomfort when it has arisen (and it has), for having ALL OF THE FUN (which I have!) and for continuously circling back to the centre of myself. I am so SO very thankful for this time.

Tell me in the comments, have you also been schooled in the art of being single? What’s your current growth point in the realm of partnership with Self or others? I’d love to hear from you! And as always, any shares are welcomed with gusto. 

Claire x

 

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