LEAVES

I originally wrote this a couple of years ago when I was a junior in college. I found it again recently while I was looking through old word docs on my laptop, so I decided to edit it a bit and share. 🙂

My ears filled with the loud rustling of leaves from the tree I sat beneath. Occasionally the harsh winds ripped a red, orange, or yellow leaf from its branch, and it found its way into my lap. Attempting to keep warm with my hands stuffed deeply into the pockets of my favorite navy fleece jacket, I left them alone, untouched.

And when the next strong gust of wind blew, the leaves flew back into the air or the ground, mixing with the rest of the world. In their place sat new leaves or nothing at all.

As I sat at the bus stop and watched the leaves scamper in and out of my lap, I started feeling nostalgic and overwhelmingly sentimental and fought the urge to give myself a literal pat on the back when I made a metaphorical connection of how the people in our lives are exactly like those leaves, flying rapidly in and out — a constant change.

With every waking second another face, life, and story could become known or lost to us.

It’s funny how we can give our whole heart to someone for so many days, months, and even years, but after some seemingly melodramatic event, not give a damn about them anymore. We say we still care for the sake of not seeming like total assholes, but deep down our feelings are nonexistent. The people we once shared an emotional connection with are forgotten to us, and to them, we are nothing more than a mere memory hardly to be retrieved again.

But as humans, we yearn for more. We replace the old with the new: new people, new adventures, new memories. We search for others to fill up the emptiness inside of us left by the previous. We mentally and physically crave the feelings of being wanted and needed. And continuously, we search for those people until we finally find the ones who are worth fighting the wind for.

5 Reasons Why You Should Embrace Being Single

We see vines, memes, and YouTube videos all over the Internet illustrating how sad or pathetic it feels to not be in a relationship. Movies, novels, and TV shows showcase romance and relationships, putting it way up high on a metaphorical, nonexistent pedestal, leaving all the single people reflecting on their own lives, wondering what they’re doing wrong and what they need to fix about themselves.

In reality, there is no reason for you to feel ashamed of being single (you know, even if it has been 3 years since you’ve had a boyfriend/girlfriend…). So maybe you aren’t as close to being married as your parents would like, you have to spend some Friday nights watching The Walking Dead on Netflix alone, and sometimes you have to tag along as the third wheel to your best friend and their significant other’s night. So what! Being single offers you a chance to explore not only yourself but the world and others around you. It’s liberating, exciting, and fun.

1. You have more time for YOU.

Because you’re spending so much more time alone, you have the potential to figure out your wants/needs/goals in life. What makes you happy? Who are you as an individual? What do you want out of life? Make everything about you! Do what YOU want.

Pull out the old journal you’ve only written in twice. Read the book you bought months ago and haven’t touched. Play a sport that leaves your out of shape butt breathless. Take a picture of something beautiful. Grow a plant in your backyard. Bake a cake for your grandmother. Rediscover what you forgot you loved.

2. You can flirt with whomever you want.

Being single means you can walk all the way across the bar and talk to the cute blonde who’s been giving you a few hundred subtle glances. It means you can look around and take notice of all the attractive people at a party and find which one will be your next victim, I mean, um, potential partner. It’s so much easier to meet new people, go on casual dates, and just hang out with members of the opposite (or same!) sex without feeling uncomfortable about getting “too close.”

3. You don’t have to share your food.

If you’re anything like me, food is one of the top priorities in your life: eating it, cooking it, fantasizing about it. Spaghetti, tacos, hamburgers, steak, fried chicken – these are all tremendously beautiful creations we were blessed with on Earth. Now, give me three good reasons why you would want to share your food with someone else, and don’t give me any of that “because I love them” crap. No. Even if I was dating someone and loved them enough to give them a bite of my Whopper, I would only be doing so out of guilt, not because I really wanted to. Yeah, the truth hurts.

4. You don’t have to attend your significant other’s family functions.

Being around the parents of the person you are dating is an all-around sweat-inducing, awkward situation. Trying to make small talk with your significant other’s grandma you are stuck on the couch with is boring. Constantly making sure you don’t let any sexual or potentially racist jokes slip out of your mouth is tiring. Without feeling obligated to spend time with your boyfriend/girlfriend’s family, you are able to fully appreciate Uncle Larry’s drunken babblings at your family’s annual Christmas party.

5. I couldn’t come up with a fifth one… But five reasons sounds better than four, right?

I think I speak for the majority of us when I say we would all like to be in a great relationship someday, perhaps even marry and have kids, but self-discovery happens the most when you are in a relationship with yourself. Embrace your single-ness! Before you know it, you’ll find yourself in a committed relationship and you’ll have to actually share that large pepperoni pizza you ordered for yourself.