Being Single is NOT a Curse, it’s a Blessing

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If I would rewind all the previous conversations I had with people, I am certain that I heard the same question over a hundred times. “How can you even have a boyfriend if you’re always keeping your parents close?” Well, it’s not a bad thing for me, folks. It’s also nobody’s role to worry about this kind of trivial matters for me. I already have exuberant joy and love which come from myself, my family, and my friends. What else could be better than that?

Having a better half is not a requirement to live a fulfilling life. What’s far more important is to learn how to create a better version of yourself. Now, here I am, climbing another step towards self-improvement at the age of 23.

When I was about 13 years younger than what I am today, I got into a few brawls with boys. Some parents would tell my Dad, “Sus! Arman, daw hindi tana babayi nang bata mo nga na.” which means, “Gosh! Arman, your child doesn’t appropriately act like a girl.” Since when did protecting oneself from bullies and insensitive boys became a tint on someone’s femininity? Since then, I have observed lots of biased judgments in relation to gender. The recent one is the recognizable admiration of people towards bachelors which is contrary to their pity and ridicule over single women. In the Philippines, a handsome man who plays it cool while having a single life turns out to be more attractive and masculine in the eyes of many. However, if it is a beautiful woman who’s been left out by time and who hasn’t found her Mr. Right even after years of searching, people will say, “Ay, kasayang”. It means, “Oh, poor thing.” Well, I don’t think that it is a problem if a woman chooses to stay single. Many have always thought that the standard path for a woman to follow is to get a degree, then, get a stable job, then, finally marry a guy who can make a living for her and their children. Hell no! It’s not supposed to be like that. A woman can freely choose whether she has to get a permanent job where she may become a rewarding employee. It’s also her choice if she would want to start up her own business where she can fully express her creativity without being chained by strict company policies. It’s also her right to choose whether she would have to marry. She doesn’t need to listen to your cliches such as, “Oh, you have to marry at the age of 27 or else you’re going to have a hard time.”, “Give your parents some grandchildren because it’d be lonely for them to grow old without carrying these little beautiful creatures.” or “You have to give birth to a child who’s supposed to take care of you once you become a frail old woman.”. We all have our different paths. It’s unnecessary to always follow the standards set by this society. It’s your life, it’s not for the society to decide what’s good for you. In your life, you are the ruler. Don’t believe them when they say, “being single is a curse” because it is a blessing. I, Arlin Grace, a 23-year old career-oriented single lady, who can shockingly be bad ass sometimes, can prove it.

The lovers at the back are having a good time while this single lady is also having a good time in her own way. Anyway, this photo was taken in Baler, Aurora, Philippines last February 2019. The free breeze whispered that I am free as well – free in terms of making my choices without influence from critics who don’t really know what my own kind of happiness looks like.

Some people pity their own selves because they are still single at their 20’s while most of their friends are already getting married and some are starting to build a family. If you are one of these lonely single persons, you have to read this. Remember that you always have to look at the brighter side of things or else you will just end up wasting your one and only life with tears and remorse. Try asking yourself, “what are the perks of being single?”. Maybe you’ll find the answers if you just know how to appreciate even the smallest of the small matters around you. When I asked myself on what are the perks of being single for a long period of time, I have three answers.

Siargao Island, Phlippines is one of the best islands that this archipelago can boast all over the world. My high school friends who were also single at that time, brought me here. We partied almost every night without anyone telling us “NO, YOU SHOULDN’T”.

The first thing I love about being single is having more freedom. There’s no one to tell me what to wear, what to drink, where to go or who I should go with. I can wear that cute cropped top I’m comfortable with, without someone to tell me that it’s way too revealing and I better cover up my skin. I can drink a few more bottles of beer before I sleep tonight without someone telling me that it’s way too bad for a lady to drink alcohol because it’s not ladylike. I can go solo travelling whenever I want without someone so overprotective and over-possessive psycho to tell me, “Don’t do that because you might realize that you’re at your best when you’re alone and that you don’t actually need me in your life. So, you’re going to leave me eventually”. I can hang out with anyone I want without some jealous prick to restrict me in making friends. There are no promises to break, no commitments to forget.

“Munimuni by the river in Minalungao Park, Gen. Tinio, Nueva Ecija”
I have plenty of time to reflect because I don’t spend it on irrelevant date nights.

The second thing I like the most about being single is having more “ME” time. For 8 long years of being single, I have learned to love myself even more each day. I know how to put myself first. I know how to make myself happy without seeking happiness from another human being. I know how to encourage myself with a soft tap on my shoulder as I whisper, “Self, you are doing this for your own good. You’re not here to please anyone or everyone.” I know how to shout out bravely, “me first”. I am chasing that dream and no one has the right to stop me.

Manila Bay, Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines
“Things are not what they seem”. I will never forget those words from my sociology professor way back in college.
Even in the most unnoticed places, there you’ll surprisingly see beauty like no other.
Don’t be insecure just because you are single right now. That doesn’t measure even an inch of your beauty.

The last thing I like the most about being single is that I get the chance to patiently wait for that one true love. You deserve a kind of love that’s worth a million risks. It’s just that you haven’t found that yet. Don’t give in to all the pressure caused by the society’s coercive voices that say, “You’re getting old. It’s a shame if you’re still single.” If you listen to these self-proclaimed virtuosi, you could end up choosing the wrong person. Do you remember the day when you’ve put on a wrong pair of socks because you were in a hurry? Don’t do that again this time. Don’t be in a rush because love is not a race, it is a grace. Know that grace is given to people at the right place and at a right time. Stay single until you find the one who will not take away most of your freedom. It’s a sign that he/she respects you as a human being knowing that it is your right to be free. Also, stay single until you find someone who will not hinder you from achieving your goals. It’s a sign that he unselfishly wants the best for you. If there is no respect and sacrifice, love is just a mere facade of whatever his true intentions are.

Enjoy whatever you have for today because you may not have it tomorrow again. Enjoy being single today because you may not be single tomorrow again. The next day, you might be flashing this kind of smile – the same smile that I had when I was in Minesview Park, Baguio City, Philippines – to someone you deserve. Then, you say, “why don’t you warm me up with your love?”

You are single for now because God has a purpose. I am single right now because it is my responsibility to tell you that it’s a hundred percent okay to be single. What’s not okay is to put people down with hurtful words that you cannot take back like, “maybe you’re not as attractive as anyone else, that’s why you’ll never ever be noticed and you’ll stay single forever”.

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WHY PUT SOLO TRAVELLING IN YOUR BUCKET LIST

This photo was taken by a stranger from Bangkok whom I just met in this place, Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Now, he is my friend.

“Tara! Sabay tayong mag-CR!”, I used to frequently say these words to my classmate when I was a kid. It seemed like I cannot go to the comfort room alone. It is as if my urethra is in the hands of my classmate that I even have to bring her along to pee. Back then, I may have had the fear of being alone. Yet, truly, nothing is ever constant. What I used to fear before is the thing I mastered today – the art of being alone.

This is the view deck in Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai, Thailand where you can enjoy the calm environment and take time to appreciate all the beautiful things that came into your life.

Last April 28, 2019, I’ve gathered all of my courage to travel alone in a foreign country, Thailand. I stayed for three days in Bangkok and another three days in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. It was my first time to travel abroad and my first time to initiate a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) solo travel. Almost all of the people who knew about this trip had been asking me how could I even have fun when I have no one to keep me company. These people doubted my ability in seeing the beauty of solo travelling. They didn’t realize that in this situation, it is my own self, whom I have forsaken for so long, that will become my greatest companion in this life-changing experience. So, if you are here because you are struggling to find the nerve to go out for an adventure with yourself, I ardently hope that this article would be helpful.

Thanks to a new found friend, I finally experienced a little bit of Buddhism.

Why should you put “solo travel” in your bucket list? Well, I have written down here three main reasons. First, it is an act of self-discovery where you will surprisingly see yourself as an expert lone navigator, an effective budget officer (even if you are not an expert back at home), a fast learner, a clever explorer, and an amicable stranger. You get to know and trust yourself even more. “Woah, I can’t believe I made it.”, “How did I do that?”, “Is this really me?”, I kept on saying these to myself as I hopped from one place to another. I never thought that I would be this street-smart, brave, heedful, and bright young lady that I have actually always had in me. Even the people whom I spend most of my time with do not usually notice these attributes in me (except for my parents, apparently). Have you ever tried asking yourself, “How well do I know you?”. I bet some of you do not because you are all too busy knowing people who do not truly care about you. Why don’t you try to be kinder to yourself and get closer to who you really are? Instead of chasing people, chase that greatness that has been hiding beneath you. Once you catch that greatness lying inside, pull it out of your chest. Then, be proud of it and use it for the common good.

This is a temple in Bangkok called Loha Prasat. At 7:30 in the morning, I started walking on the street to find a good milk tea place but then, I accidentally found this! Because I didn’t strictly follow my itinerary which I personally prepared a year before my travel, I always end up in unfamiliar yet scenic places.

Second, it is one of the ways for a person to find extraordinary happiness, something you would not easily find in a monotonous corporate life scenario, and unwavering peace which are all coming from within. It was a break from the usual things that I do such as keeping myself busy calculating figures that do not actually matter for the search of the ultimate Truth. I believe that we are here on earth for something more significant than paying the bills, attaining your dream job, accumulating oozing wealth, gaining a fleeting kind of power, and other superficial matters. In travelling alone, you may lose lots of money but it cannot suffice the experience you will have once you survive the odds as a solo traveler.

Behold the famous reclining Buddha in Wat Pho, Bangkok Thailand. This reminds us that we, too, need to take a pause from our busy lives every once in a while.

Lastly, it is a good means of conquering your fears especially the fear of being alone. Essentially, you have never been alone in the first place because God has been with you all along. (To those who are reading this and who do not believe in God, maybe it is now time for you to pack your bags. This could be the start for your search for the existence of God.) As ephemeral as the things in this world could be, so is fear. Fear should not stay for long, it is not permanent. Hence, we have to let it go as soon as we still have the strength to do so and never let it rule our borrowed lives. Are you afraid because being alone might lead you to all the possible dangers such as being fooled by a swindler, getting lost in an unfamiliar place or getting robbed? Do not be. These are petty stuff that do not even equate to the jeopardies that may happen if you coil in fear. It is far more frightening to be fooled by your insecurities that tell you, “You are not bold enough”. It is far more distressing to be lost from your way to self-fulfillment and getting robbed of your opportunity to create your unique version of a story about bravery.

A single day visit at Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand was worth it. This is where I met plenty of people who have already crafted their stories of heroism and bravery. I salute all of them who established this sanctuary for elephants who were abused and taken for granted by selfish human beings. These creatures also need a home that is built from love.

You may have all the reasons why you should not take the risk of travelling alone but think again. Always challenge yourself and maximize your unseen potentials.  At the end of the day, it is still your choice. Solo travel, why not?