Living Single

Yesterday I read the title of a fellow yoga teacher's blog post and it instantly resonated. "Manifesting Shit Works. So Where Is He?"

Without needing to read what Sarrah wrote I knew exactly what she meant. I ask myself this very question every day. I do all the things: eat well, exercise, practice yoga, meditate, set intentions, journal. I even started PRAYING this year, as I realized it wasn't part of my repertoire. But every day that passes without the man of my dreams in my life I ask myself: what am I not doing right? 

As I approach my 30th birthday the question lingers. I look back and realize that every April 8th for the past half-decade I've asked for the same thing: Let this year bring me the love of my life. 

Sans-soulmate still, this predicament has forced me so far outside my comfort zone I'm recently finding it laughable. And I haven't been writing lately. And what fun is a laugh kept to oneself? So here I am to share the recent happenings of my life with you.  

I'm dealing with living single by applying other people's tried methods to my situation. When I'm honest I don't believe I'll meet someone online, but I feel I'm obliged to try. I don't know how it worked in the old days that people just had single friends lying around to matchmake. Today the most promising route seems to be an app on my phone. So several times a month (or even week), I meet someone at a neutral location and essentially interview and flirt with myself for an hour and a half. 

At this point I feel I've encountered many of the possible scenarios: 

1. Date doesn't show up. Check. 

2. Date shows up, is 4+ inches shorter than advertised height. Check. I am sorry but that feels like too much deceit too soon. 

3. Date shows up, is within 2 inches of advertised height, but it's instantly clear there is no connection. Check. Must we consume obligatory beverage?

4. Date shows up, is within 2 inches of advertised height, pretty clear it isn't right but have an interesting time. End of story. Check.

5. Date shows up, is within 2 inches of advertised height, pretty clear it isn't right but have a good time. And then date nears end of second drink and train derails as he admits his name is not John but Tucker and this is his first week out of a decade-long relationship and wait... wtf is happening? I'd never date someone named Tucker. Check.

6. Date shows up, is within 2 inches of advertised height, no fireworks but fun enough for a second/third date. Work my way through list of restaurants I want to try. Check. 

Note the clear lack of a scenario where date shows up, is within 2 inches of advertised height, and we really like each other off the bat. Is this too much to ask? Tell me people of the world, before I enter my fourth decade, what's a girl to do? 

I've done this shindig while drinking and while not drinking. (For the record, it's slightly more bearable when drinking.)

I've done this shindig in winter, spring, summer and fall. (Summer rules, but there are pros and cons. Summer: busier schedules, harder to coordinate. Winter: more time in city but drastically lower threshold for going outside to do things that aren't 100% enjoyable. So ultimately, kind of a draw.) 

I've done this shindig and maintained my cordiality. I can now draft a polite yet crystal clear "see you never" text. I don't ghost. 

I've done this shindig as seemingly everyone around me finds more success with it than I do. I now have a freakish 6th sense for a single friend's shift in energy when she/he has started to date someone they actually like. 

I feel fortunate that, thus far, it's only been a wedding here and there that I've attended single. Thank you to my amazing coupled friends for taking things slow and not having kids. But this will not last forever, I know. And I've learned that it's not societal pressure that makes me want a man. It's really me, world. It's ME that wants a man. I do well in that scenario. 

But before I leave you with my half-baked date horror stories and my open-plea to the universe, let me do my gratitude practice for the day, which will hopefully earn me at least a good date tomorrow night.

There are ways, I admit, that living single for the past few years has served me. I'm nothing if not cognizant that good energy out invites good energy in.

Here goes:

1. I've learned that my own self-confidence, growth, and sense of self is paramount. I know better how to prioritize these things. I know that without them at the forefront of how I spend my time everyday, no great relationship will ever survive.

There was a time where I would've been hesitant to leave a sig-o for more than a few days at once. This will not be the way of my relationships in the future. As a good friend described to me recently, the relationship I desire is one where we row our boats through the waters of life side by side. But we are not in the same boat. 

2. I've deepened ALL my relationships. With family, with friends, with students and teachers. Without a "greatest" love to go home to, you start to love and appreciate everyone in your life as much as you possibly can. I am so grateful to have learned a bit about how to do this. 

3. Since I am so practiced, I can basically hold a minimally-awkward, somewhat-engaged conversation with just about anyone. 

4. For better or for worse I am vulnerable. As a single person it feels like I'm completely transparent and everyone can look in on my biggest weakness all the time. And I just have to keep showing up, said weakness written across my forehead wherever I go. 

5. When you're in a relationship it's like someone's there to shield you from facing the challenges of the world alone. When you're on your own you figure out what your personal devices are and how to use them. 

6. I know my mind, and the ways it serves me and lets me down, quite well. Spending a majority of your time around other people poses the distraction and invitation of their thoughts and the details of their lives. But when you go home to yourself there's that much more time to be left with good ol' you. 

7. I've considered many parts of life — marriage, kids, jobs, destiny, death, etc. — from as uninfluenced a place as I can imagine. When you're in a strong relationship you tend to consider these steps based on your relationship status. Do I want to marry this person? Do I want to have kids with this person? What happens when I die to this person? It's been a very cool experience to ask myself these questions completely on my own. Do I want to get married in general? Do I want kids at all

8. Lastly, living single forces me to live in glaringly obvious uncertainty every single day. If I am to get what I want and meet the man of my dreams eventually, it means my future is entirely undetermined right now. I'm forced to put in the best effort I can and to practice leaving the outcome to something greater than myself. If I choose this perspective, everything is still possible. 

All of this I will take into 30, even as I blow out my candles with a very familiar wish. 

Joanna Cohen