Monday, September 26, 2011

The Single Life

Here's a fact about me that is both absolutely stunning and absolutely true: I've never really been single.

Over the past 14 years, I've been engaged (twice) more often than I've been single for longer than a couple weeks (once). I'll pause here for that to sink in. LULZ.

Yeah, so THAT happened.

I've had relationships, and those relationships have ended; but, more often than not, I slid into another relationship within a couple of weeks -- if that long, in some cases. I like to joke that I'm a serial monogamist.

Casual dating and sleeping around has never really been something I've been particularly interested in or adept at making work. I'm much more suited to serious relationships. And I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with that, especially since I'm aware of it, and I take steps to try to manage it haha. But it's definitely how I am.

The ex-girl and I split some months back now, and a strange thing happened to me. I was consumed, not with finding another girlfriend, but with getting my shit straight. I'm sure that's a normal reaction for most people, but in high school and college, I always just wanted to find another girlfriend. It was always my gut instinct.

And as Rob Gordon says in High Fidelity, "I've been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and, frankly speaking, I've come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains."

I mean, seriously, brief aside: how brilliant is that movie/book? Love it.

So yeah. There you go. Previously, after a break-up, all I really wanted was to find a girlfriend because I didn't particularly like being alone. But really, who does?

Like I said, this time felt different. For the first time, I absolutely didn't care about talking to girls or trying to go on dates or whatever. Don't get me wrong, I gave it a few half-hearted attempts over the past few months, but it became clear I wasn't into it. I had no interest in trying to date someone else. At all.

Perhaps it was my gut having its first good idea since I was 14 years old. I don't know.

I know what you're probably thinking. This is a post to convince others (and myself) that it's OK I don't have a girlfriend and I promise everything is OK and please believe me!

Couldn't be further from the truth, and I believe I have a convincing argument.

First of all, it's been the unanimous opinion of every friend I've seen recently that they cannot believe how happy and energetic and full of life I am now. Exact words are usually something like, "Wow, the difference between talking to you now and talking to you four or five months ago is incredible. You seem happier than I've ever seen you." Four or five months ago was pretty much the lowest point I'd ever been at, if you'll recall.

That tells me everything I've been working so hard on these past few months has been totally and completely worth it and successful.

Second, spending serious time working out and watching what I eat has been one of the best things I could have ever done for myself. Look, obviously I'm not saying I didn't do these things because I was in a relationship. That's nonsensical.

But would I have felt the same urge, desire and motivation to push myself as hard as I continue to push myself if I were NOT single? I'm not sure. I do know that being single gave me a LOT more time to spend lifting weights, walking Allie and running.

And let's be honest, you can say "hey sweetheart, how do you feel about chicken breast, steamed veggies and tuna for dinner?" only so often. When you're with someone, even when you cook together, it's SOOO easy to fall into unhealthy eating habits. I have had my share of that. Plus, there's going out to dinner and dates and etc. You know how it goes.

I needed to be extreme with my food choices for a while to instill good habits and discipline. I'm in a much better place with that now. I make much smarter decisions with food now than I ever have. I eat less food now than I ever have. God I'm so happy with this haha. I'm just so much healthier than I've ever been, it's ridiculous.

Next, going out with my friends as much as I have been. Again, I'm NOT saying I couldn't have gone out with my friends when I wasn't single. That's illogical. Of course I could have. But you know. Let's be reasonable. There are only so many times when you can say, "hey sweetheart, I'm going downtown to drink with my friends three times this week, cool?" I'm just saying. That would probably wear thin on ANY significant other after a while, and probably understandably so. But at the same time, I needed it. Big time.

As I (jokingly, of course) said to Nick in Raleigh, life can be a lot of fun when you don't have to worry about disappointing and/or embarrassing a girl haha. That's clearly NOT serious, but you know what I'm saying. It's probably not as easy to go home and have the following exchange, "So what did you do tonight?" "Oh you know. Danced like an ass for four hours."

Finally, did you read what I wrote up there? I've been engaged twice, and I haven't been single since I was approximately 15 years old. I think some time to myself to figure out my own shit was a little overdue, don't you?

As my friend Ashlee said to me, it's hard to find out who you are when you find yourself as half of a whole for so long. Well said! And true!

Before this summer, the longest I'd been single since I was 15 years old was less than six weeks. And even then, it wasn't really six weeks of being single because we never stopped speaking, hanging out or living together. So you know. There's that.

I have never taken the opportunity to look at myself, to improve on the things I felt needed improvement or to figure out what I truly want. I am 29 years old, friends. I'm a grown-ass man, dawg. It's been well past time for a while now for a little self-analysis and reflection.

I'm not saying I have it all figured out. It's only been, what, four months? But I have a much better perspective on myself. I'm in SUCH a better place mentally and physically right now. It's difficult even to comprehend where I was back in April.

The improvements I've made since then -- I mean, wow. There really aren't words for it. My energy level is through the ROOF. So much so, in fact, that J. Mike referred to dancing all night as "pulling a BG." I'm nearly at my goal weight of 180 pounds (from an all-time high of almost 230 pounds), which will only be a pit-stop on my way to 170 or 175 or even 165. Who knows.

I am comfortably running at least four miles three times a week. And I'm running five miles on the weekends. I made ridiculous improvements on my 5k time a few weeks ago. I'm now looking toward making similarly significant progress on my half-marathon time of 2:19:51.

I've been setting personal bests in one-mile, two-mile, three-mile and four-mile times almost daily for weeks now. I've almost got my one-mile time under eight minutes. My two-mile time is hovering right around 16 or 17 minutes. I recorded my best-ever four-mile time last week before I went to Raleigh.

I said GODDAMN it feels good to be a gangsta.

So. All of that is to say this: the past four months or so. Being single, being alone by my own designs and of my own volition for once and NOT trying to hop into another relationship is the best thing that's ever happened to me.

Like I said, I don't have it all figured out. But I have a much greater understanding of who I am and what I want -- things I'd never really bothered to consider before. All that running allows for a lot of reflection and thought.

Now, all of THAT is to say this: I think it's finally time. I feel like I'm ready to see other people and finally put all of my rediscovered awesomeness to good use, no? Although my new perspective on things is also most definitely telling me we'll take things slow this time as compared to, say, every other time in my life. Lulz.

It's been four months, and I've spent a hell of a lot of time working on myself. Feels like a good time to put myself back out there.

Let's go, friends. LET. US. GO.


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