(AUTHOR’S NOTE: This essay underwent a lot of revisions, maybe five or six, before reaching its present form. Originally, this was a status I posted in a Facebook page where I was an administrator. Eventually, it built up as time passed – I added some details from a comment I posted in a singles page on Facebook and another essay I made last year upon realizing why I was single. I hope this serves as an inspiration to those singles out there that may or may not be successful in life right now.)
Every Valentine’s Day, it’s not uncommon for me to see a lot of posts with regards to the “friend zone” and tragic love issues. But before these things, let me tell you a bit about me. I finished college in one of the best universities in the country, I have a good chance of landing a job, and I have no problems when it comes to my height that even people ask me if I play basketball (to which I answer in the negative). The problem is that I’m not handsome, I’m rather shy in person, I haven’t had a girlfriend since birth, and my interests tend to be “immature” for others – and those are the main reasons why I still remain single.
Despite those obstacles, I did try looking for a significant other. I believed back then that my chances would be higher given that I’ve graduated and joined the ranks of the working class. However, these all ended up in vain – either I ended up in the “friend zone” or the girl was already taken. By this time, my batch mates in college and high school were already in their respective relationships while I’m still single. Just like any person in this phase, I almost ran out of patience, hope, and faith. I almost sank into depression, believing that life was suffering all throughout, punctuated only by futile searches for happiness. But as the great Gautama Buddha said, there is a way out of suffering. And find that way out, I did.
Inasmuch as I want to turn back the clock and reverse all the decisions I chose that led me here, it’s impossible. I couldn’t understand why I insisted on finding a girlfriend or someone to marry. There were times when I seriously wanted to throw everything away until nothing remains of me just to have an opportunity to be happy – even for one last time. If you’re already in a relationship, consider yourself lucky. Put your 100% into it and take care of your partner always. Moving on, being single isn’t something to fret about in the long run. I naturally felt sad during the first stages, but I learned to accept it and how my life has turned out in general. Here are three tips I can give you with regards to singlehood, based on my own experience:
1. ACCEPTANCE IS KEY. Indeed, this is the very first step, as they say. It’s difficult as I have mentioned earlier, but fooling yourself with the delusion that you’ll have a girlfriend / boyfriend is much, much worse. Believe me, it’s not a good thing. You may not be fortunate when it comes to the love department, but remember that there are other things in life aside from it. Just think of the fact that you don’t have commitments in the long run. In addition, you don’t have to worry about reaching old age without a partner. I once read somewhere that people who reach 40 while still single have more time to pursue their passions, and we’ve got a lot of that around the world.
2. FAMILY FIRST. There is a reason why the Chinese value filial piety as one of the most important virtues. I remember seeing an image in Facebook where people say different things about their parents (specifically mothers), but one quote from it struck me the most: “At 25: ‘Mom, you were right’.” I admit that I wasn’t really a good son when I was younger, but I realized that I needed my family more as I grew up. Aren’t they the ones who stayed and will stay beside you in times of trouble, in sickness and in health, when the world has forgotten?
It’s never too late to mend relations with your family and make up for the past; don’t take this chance for granted. Every day is a challenge for one to be a good son to your parents and a responsible older brother / sister to your siblings. Loving your family isn’t a sign of weakness or immaturity. If you could give up your life for someone who could easily throw you away, if you could love a woman who will eventually leave you to find another man, I bet you can take care of your mother who stayed and will stay by your side no matter what. The reason I’m here is because I can serve Him by taking care of the folks. They’ve spent so much time and money on me so I can be where I am, and now it’s time for me to give back through my efforts.
3. GOD IS THERE. I once blamed God as to why He made me this way, and I asked Him why He didn’t give me the looks, the body, and the personality. At this point, the thought of joining the priesthood crossed my mind once more. The last time I even thought of doing so was when someone I previously loved and lost graduated from college. I only stayed on because of my friends and the hope that we’ll meet each other again. I do admit I’m a sinner, but St. Paul was a sinner likewise before becoming a man of God, right? Besides, I did believe that He compensates for people’s shortcomings and if I go to Him, I’ll find what I really want.
This was one of my mistakes back then – to point my finger at Him who knows and sees everything. There are things in this world that happen because God knows that everything will be better if they didn’t occur. I realized that even without a significant other, I finished studies and I have a good chance of landing a good job – thus, I’m better off when I’m forever single.
To wrap up, let me share this wonderful story of mine. During one of the Sunday masses last year that I attended, the priest’s homily changed everything. His sermon was about the Holy Spirit and how He inspires everyone to serve despite not being a member of any religious order. He emphasized that various professions, in their own little way, are called to serve others. Seeing that I can’t be married since no self-respecting lady would ever like me, I looked to the nearest reason why I should stay – my family. I told myself this on the way home: If you’re always rejected, why don’t you take care of the people that matter rather than mope about the lack of love? I’m not meant to be a father – but I still choose to live for my family as a son. Isn’t that better than taking your own life at the end of the day?