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Single is the New Taken

“New Year, new you,” did you know there’s an app for that? It’s that time of year when everyone is hard at work keeping those New Years’ resolutions alive, or already throwing them away. Whether you’re looking to kick a bad shopping habit to the curb (guilty as charged) or trying to make it to the gym (come on, guilty) we’re all in some way looking to the New Year to help us start over. As for me, the New Year couldn’t have come any sooner.

Last summer I moved my life from the safety of my island home, to the complete unknown of the East Coast. It was time to leave Hawaii and explore what else life had to offer- like the career I always wanted. As I embarked on this life-changing move, I did it with my boyfriend of almost three years, who was starting his next chapter as well.

Life, if you haven’t gathered by now, is a very funny thing. When you think you’re headed in one direction, it throws you a major curve ball, sending you in the opposite direction. This is what it did to me, when about three months in, I was leaving my boyfriend to be on my own.

There are lots of reasons I came to the final decision to leave (that’s a long story I will spare you from) but in the end it was a moment when it dawned on me that I wasn’t completely “happy.” I was frustrated, and I felt like I had settled for something I never intended to in the first place. It’s hard to write this without having the full explanation, but the bottom is, I needed to do something for myself, by myself.

Cut to present day, I’m a “recovering co-dependent,” with my own apartment, bills to pay, a new job, a new column, and enjoying time with myself. I live in a great new place (Washington, D.C.) where there is no shortage of things to do and explore. The opportunity to begin again surrounds me, and the New Year just reinforces that.

I still have my doubts- “Did I make the right the decision, should I have stayed?’ Those thoughts constantly cross my mind, but I try to steer away from that and dwell on the positive impact this will have on me in the end. Probably one of the hardest yet healthiest things one can do.

I’m not the first person to walk away from a relationship and start over; men and women are doing it everyday. I find the most important thing is remembering to stay anchored to what I know I want out of life and not compromise the integrity of those standards. For me, that was getting myself out of a bad cycle, and finding out what exactly it is I desire- in life generally speaking, career, and love.

“Anything can be new again given the chance. I’m taking this fresh season to start over with a new purpose. This New Year I’ll be in the best relationship I could have imagined- a relationship with myself.”

When I say these things out loud, I can’t help but think of the Sex and the City character Samantha, who says, “I’m just going to say the thing you aren’t suppose to, I love you but I love me more,” as she breaks up with her long-time boyfriend Smith. Before you take this as a very selfish response, think about it. Sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves, and it’s quite the point to ponder. Ultimately, how can we expect someone to date us if we wouldn’t date ourselves?

Society and mass media usually divert us from this thought process. It influences us to couple up fast, forget standards and jump on the first thing that comes our way.

As long as you have a healthy relationship with yourself, your friends, work, and keep a healthy diet, you can do no wrong- single or taken.

Being independent, whether it’s your first time after a series of relationships, one VERY long relationship, or a short one, is quite a gruesome process of adjustment and a detaching challenge. Here are 10 tips from YourTango.com to help you make the most of this critical time.

1. Relax, it doesn’t last a lifetime.

2. Stay clean, and live healthy.

3. Give yourself the chance to be happy aloneit doesn’t happen overnight.

4. Study something new. It’s the perfect time to figure out what you’re passionate about!

5. Meet new people. Not for romantic reasons, but to expand your support system.

6.  Exercise, and reconnect with your body.

7. Rediscover your creativity, and find out what it is you were meant to create.

8. Focus your attention on your thoughts, and speak them out into the world. Then watch them come true.

9. Be grateful for what you already have. Connect with yourself spiritually at least once throughout the day.

10. Step out of your comfort zone, follow your dreams and do it now.

As you inaugurate this “love month” and New Year (technically we can still use this until the end of February) in a new relationship with yourself, remember to stay focused on long-terms satisfaction rather than instant gratification. The more time you spend with yourself, the more prolific new things you’ll discover. “Always listen to your heart, because even though it’s on your left side, it’s always right.”

By: Erenia T. Michell

I’d love to here from you! Send me your thoughts and comments to erenia.dfsmag@gmail.com or tweet me at @msereniamichell