Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Is it healthier to be single or just have someone in your life, even if he/she is incompatible?

Sometimes I dread holiday seasons because they make this girl dwell about her single status more than she needs to. It is these times you suddenly notice more couples on the street and more families suddenly enjoying window shopping together. For a girl living far away from her family and single in Chicago, the months of November and December these past 2 years have been quite challenging.

I have never really been alone. From the day I was biologically formed, I had company – my lovely twin sister. And for 20 odd years, I have 3 siblings to keep me on my toes. Even when I move from continent to continent, I have never had a lack of friends, i.e. people I genuinely like to hang out with, a result of both my luck and my wonderful personality maybe *wink*.

But this year, something different happened. Out of the blue in the shower one nice November day, I actually pondered if it’s healthier to be with someone even if he/she is not totally compatible with you or just be single. Living in Chicago did not turn out to be as easy as I thought it would be and moving here was probably one of the toughest things I ever did. I was a “freshman” in the breast cancer survivor college, moving to a new city, new country, taking up a new job, adjusting to a new tax and healthcare system and most of all a harsher weather pattern. I am a sunshine girl and I need my regular dose of sunshine to keep my bubbly self up. Chicago’s winter is a long 4 to 5 months and plus I always ended up working in windowless offices at my client’s for the past year. (Side note: I really think everyone regardless of hierarchical levels within a company should be entitled to windows). Anyways, I suddenly found myself struggling to be happy. It was a little unusual but I am not surprised because every since cancer paid a visit, life has never been the same.

Then one fine February day, I found myself getting onto the bandwagon of online dating. I have met a wide array of people from there – pilots, company vice presidents, chefs, fellow consultants, architects, professors etc. Very successful people (in terms of career) but none has actually made me feel less alone than I already was. And we were all guilty of playing the disappearance game. It got me thinking what extreme loneliness would be like. Have you watched Will Smith's "I am Legend" or Tom Hank's "Castaway"? That is probably as extreme as loneliness can get. I don't ever want to get there. But is forcing myself to be with someone less compatible just as bad as not having someone at all or is it worse? Is it healthier to just have another warm body in your life or be single?

For me the answer is quite clear. I am quite an emotionally filled person and I tend to put my whole heart into every thing I do, including my job. For good or for bad, this is who I am. So being with someone who is either not compatible or not emotionally available is a daily torture. It is mentally and emotionally unhealthy for me. I don’t lose my sleep or appetite over it (thank god) but I lose my smile, which is quite undesirable for people around me.

So this holiday season, think about what you have and not what you are missing because fully enjoying what you already have and appreciating them is definitely healthier than dwelling on your misses and shortfalls. You are only as alone as you want to be. At least that’s what my journey through cancer has taught me.

I have put this question up for poll. Tell me what your position is. :)

Yours always,

1 comment:

the ever lovable said...

Hey Kelly,
I am just starting to read your blog. Your honesty and positive spirit shines through what you wrote!

I can fully understand what you wrote. Many people settle, either because the loneliness is just too hard to bear, or they get pregnant, or get all warm & fuzzy with this initial rush of falling in love.

Fully surround yourself with friends who love and care for you, make it known to your friends that "hey, you know anywhere i can gatecrash for thanksgiving/christmas/new year's cos I don't have anywhere to go to".

From this experienced online dater (LOL), the one thing that stands out is people always want instant result, instant chemistry, instant attraction. If I don't feel attracted, next. However, many times, attraction takes time to develop. As they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder! So if these people simply disappear, don't take it to heart (I did and after the 20th time, you sort of are numb to it!)

You're a survivor and my sincere wish is for you to shine as yourself.

Lots of warm wishes from Vancouver!