BY HANNAH POWELL
A couple of days before the proclaimed day of sweet sweet love, you realise that you are, in fact, single. A status that truly is as much as a social construct as your Facebook bio, you think of ways to keep busy on the 14th so to keep up appearances to your loved-up mates. Oh, I love being single, you say. I’m so glad I’m single, you preach. I’m not afraid of dying alone, you think as your heart beats faster from the mug of coffee in your hand – not because of the 10/10 at nine o’clock from your best friend’s face, or by any means from inward fear. Oh no, obviously not.
Here’s the thing. There is a time in your life when you gain some sex and relationship maturity and grow up. You realise your worth – you get yourself out of something. Or, you realise your worth and get yourself into something incredible. You create standards, return to the standards again. Life is fluid, so it’s okay. You leave high school as either having had sex or not – no one actually cares (except in Belgium it seems). As one of my mates once said, virginity is purely a social construct. There is no before and after, this is not Sixteen Candles. I’m not a cynic, I’m an avid romantic, and I love the idea of love and everything that comes with it. However, a wise woman told me that you must learn to be your own companion. I could chuck a handful of clichés your way and be done with it but I’ll give you this; you need to learn how to be alone with yourself.
At this age, we are heavily socially dependent. Loneliness is one of our greatest fears, but to feel lonely when you are with yourself is a good indication of a relationship that could be improved. So, this Valentine’s Day, take yourself on a date. Spend some time with yourself, whether you’re single or in a relationship. Check in with yourself – the easiest place to start being confidently alone is to buy a coffee and sit yourself and your mug down at a café table. Try not to do the I’m-waiting-for-my-friends-I-swear screen scroll. Believe me, it’s liberating – you just need to break the ice with yourself. Being comfortably alone creates a stronger individual, which in turn creates a stronger mentality towards relationships.
Other solo date ideas, you ask? Head to the river, to the mountain, to the sea. Take a wee urban crawl or record store browse, or sit in at home with tea and toast. Journal for the year ahead. Drop in for a ‘Blind Date with a Book at Auckland Libraries or spend some time at the Night Noodle Markets in Christchurch. Go for a groove with mates to the Silent Disco Tour at ASB Arena in Wellington – there’s nothing like yelling to I Will Survive. Get lost in your own city, hang out with your head. I don’t know how else to say it without sounding like an Instagram caption with pep, but genuinely celebrate yourself this Valentine’s Day. Love is the broadest term around; it’s not limited to somebody else. Show yourself a bit of love, and believe me, love is what you will get in return.
HANNAH POWELL is your local film and theatre gal gone hippie, complete with bangs and at least one pair of Docs. Music festival enthusiast, green tea drinker and avid horoscope reader. Will most likely be found at the next gig.
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