I often think about how much I’ve overcome. I don’t think there’s a single area of my life that isn’t hard-fought and hard-won.
Not one single aspect has ever been easy, and I find myself growing weary of the struggle. For whatever reason, I’m just not one of those people to whom the universe has given an easy path to climb. It’s all rocky, uphill, twisted and filled with detours.
But I have been blessed with a keen sense of magic, of possibility, of seeing beauty in the small things. So I can take those tangled thorns and trace them to a perfect rose in bloom. Or follow a rocky detour to the perfect picnic spot.
I feel like I’ve been blessed and cursed in equal measure.
Recently, I’ve stopped trying to find someone to accompany me on my journey. I have my children, and I have this need to write. I’ve decided that it will have to be enough.
You see, every time I’ve tried to take this adventure with someone else, I’ve found that they’ve held me back. I wasn’t able to enjoy the forward progress, or I lost sight of the small things that make me happy. In the last year, every single companion on my adventure (with the exception of my sweet children) only made the path more difficult. Not easier or more enjoyable—just infinitely more frustrating.
In light of that, I’ve decided to become a solo traveler through life—at least until I find a traveling companion who makes the journey sweeter, if such a person exists. I marvel at my self-possession in the wake of that decision, at how perfectly whole I am on my own.
Rooted. Grounded. Filled with a sense of possibility in myself.
I’ve started to dream again in vivid color, and I’ve started to write, words falling quickly from my mind to my screen, my fingers barely able to catch the overflow in their hurry to turn image and feeling into story and verse.
There was power hiding under all of that need. When I realized that those needs would just have to go unmet, that I would have to walk this path alone, that power was unleashed.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be loved or wanting to be coupled on our journey through life. There are needs that we have that we simply cannot meet alone. Our desire for companionship and intimacy and understanding is perfectly natural. Sometimes we get tired of having all of these unmet needs, but we also get tired of facing yet another disappointment when a relationship fails.
We just get tired.
So, how do we know when it’s time to bow out, to surrender, to say that’s enough?
The moment our search takes more than it gives, we need to be done. In my last—I hesitate to use the word relationship here—developing friendship, I found that I wasn’t enjoying it. I didn’t enjoy getting to know him or spending time with him, at least not when weighed against the stress and uncertainty of it all. It all seemed to be more trouble than it was worth. I wasn’t getting butterflies, just a sick sinking feeling that I knew where it was all going. I had seen this sort of interest start and end before, and I could see all the signs.
In the end, I just got tired.
Here’s the thing: We shouldn’t have to worry or wonder if someone is interested. We need to start and end that line in the sand right there. We shouldn’t have to chase anyone or even ask if they’re into this. Instead, we need to invest in those relationships where we know the other person is interested beyond a shadow of a doubt. If we’re not feeling that, it’s time to say goodbye.
Relationships should be more wonder than worry, more magic than madness. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Since I’ve bowed out and said enough is enough, the universe has rewarded me with a calm sense of assurance that this is right for me. I’m perfectly open to possibilities, but I’m not waiting or trying anymore. When someone comes along who is worth it, who doesn’t make me worry and stress over their interest or the direction it’s taking, then fine. In the meantime, my path—while difficult—is extraordinarily lovely, and I feel that dating has been an unnecessary and stressful distraction.
And dammit, I want magic! We all deserve a little magic. We deserve relationships that feel like a resting place from the stress of the world, not the source.
I’ve been married and divorced, and frankly I’ve put up with a little too much bullsh*t along the way. Now, I want a relationship that adds value to the life I’m leading—or nothing at all. This journey is far too short to keep wasting my time with people who aren’t ready or authentic. It’s so short that I’d rather travel the rest of it alone than miss out on so much of the joy of the journey because of the stress of the companion(s) I’ve chosen along the way.
For all the solo travelers who are simply tired of the stress of looking for a companion, know that it’s okay to stop now. It’s okay to take a restorative break.
We can detour from the path a little or spend time focusing on this vista or that one. We can allow ourselves a little peaceful solitude and know that it’s certainly better than a stressful relationship, no matter how lonely it may seem.
We are worthy of all of the magic and joy we dream of, and we don’t have to settle for less. We don’t even have to keep seeking. We simply must keep going, focusing on the beauty of what is right in front of us.
One day, I believe, the magic in this world will find us.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Editor: Toby Israel