Singleness Is A Gift
The holidays are approaching, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t on the lookout for a potential holiday party plus one—preferably one who might even be willing to stick around to be my New Year’s kiss. At this point, it’s pretty unlikely that such a prospect will magically show up in my life, but a girl can dream, right? Let’s be honest, it’s hard enough being single January through November, but somehow all the cozy nights by the fire and talk of bringing someone home to Mom for the holidays really just makes it feel like we singles got the shortest end of the stick.
This year, however, instead of sulking in our loneliness (as we singles sometimes love to do!) I have a proposal: this holiday season, let’s choose to view our singleness as a gift. It sounds corny, I know. I can feel many of you rolling your eyes as we speak. But, as a single person myself, I am of the belief that during the holidays single individuals have the unique opportunity to take up new traditions, cultivate a sense of home and celebrate the relationships that we do have. In case you’re still skeptical, I’ve compiled a list of three simple ways you can do just that!
Singleness comes in all different shapes and sizes—some of us may have recently broken off long-term partnerships or separated from a spouse. Some of us may be choosing singleness for a period of time, and others may have been single their whole lives. Wherever you’re at, I hope that these tips encourage you to view your singleness not as an inconvenience, but as a blessing, full of beauty and opportunities for growth.
1. Invite Your Friends As Your Plus One
As single people, friendships are often the relationships that are most important to us. This means that for us, friends are just as viable options for plus ones as significant others are for people in romantic partnerships. There is no shame in bringing a close friend or family member to an office party or holiday get together in lieu of a significant other.
If you haven’t been given the option of bringing a plus one, because the host is aware of your relationship status, it wouldn’t hurt to ask if you can bring a friend along instead. By doing so you’re not only advocating for yourself as a single person, but requesting an option that should already be in place for singles. This helps to position singleness as a normal and completely valid experience rather than an unfortunate and temporary relationship status.
2. Start Your Own Tradition
One of the many exciting things about the holiday season is the opportunity to engage in lifelong traditions that build a sense of community amongst friends and family. In American, white-picket-fence culture, however, these traditions usually begin when two people get married and decide to start a family. I think, however, that single people are just as able to start their own traditions as a way of bringing about warmth and light around the holidays.
A single mentor of mine once told me how she’d lived alone for many years, before she bought her first Christmas tree. She had internalized the narrative that Christmas trees were meant for families and that she would get one when she had a family. Finally, after years of spending the holidays in a Christmas-tree-less apartment, she decided to buy one. And it was the most rewarding experience for her!
Starting your own holiday tradition can be as simple as buying a Christmas tree for your apartment, or hosting an annual holiday movie night, or even volunteering at a local homeless shelter. You don’t have to wait until you have a significant other to start a tradition. You can start practices that bring joy to your life, no matter your relationship status.
3. Feel Your Emotions Fully
While buying yourself a gift this holiday season is a great idea (and totally recommended!), perhaps a better, non-monetary gift you can give yourself is the gift of just allowing yourself to feel. With family members bringing spouses and partners home, the holidays can bring about unsolicited feelings of inadequacy. The truth of the matter is, singleness is not celebrated in the same way that marriage and relationships are celebrated. And often, being surrounded by friends and family members who are partnered up can be a painful reminder of a societal expectation we’re “supposed” to be meeting.
You may find it helpful during the holidays to spend a lot of time journaling and reflecting on the highs and the lows of the year, thinking about your current status as a single individual in the grand scheme of your life’s trajectory. Allow yourself to feel jealousy when you feel it, but don’t let it deter you from enjoying time with friends and family during these special weeks. Instead, be honest and gracious with yourself. Enter into spaces where you might be the odd one out, understanding that you can desire the kind of relationship that someone else has, without letting that desire drive you to bitterness.
As single people, it is often hard to accept that contentment and longing can exist in the same space. Realistically, it is only normal for us to desire romantic partnerships because they are all around us. Even those of us living our most abundant, single lives sometimes desire the emotional and physical intimacy that only romance can bring. This doesn’t make us weak, or mean that we’re doing singleness wrong. It means that we’re humans with real human desires. So, if you feel like you wanna cry while you’re sitting alone in the corner at the holiday party, find the nearest bathroom and do what you gotta do. But as you’re wiping tears from your (hopefully) waterproof mascara, remember that you’re not a weirdo or somehow behind in life because you’re single. There are so many factors to singleness and no one situation is the same. Your conflicting feelings about singleness can coexist. The best way to go about handling that dichotomy is to let yourself feel the full range of your emotions.
If any of you single pringles out there have any tips on how you combat relationship envy or cultivate warmth around the holidays, feel free to leave a comment below. Happy Holidays!
Celeste M. Scott is the Social Media Coordinator at The Good Trade. She is a freelance writer who, in her not-so-spare time, dabbles in film photography, podcasting and the occasional YouTube video. She is passionate about race, Internet culture and all things Drake. You can find her work on her website and Instagram.