The sky was covered in a blanket of grey cloud and the air was mountain fresh, with a touch if ice to keep the scarves and jumpers wrapped tight around our shivering bodies. Of course this did not dampen our afternoon as we sat on the hippy chic floor cushions in Utopia, Luang Prabang, taking in the breath-taking views of the Mekong River and the lush tropical forest that trickled down the river banks, making you automatically think that this wonderful moment would be forever engraved in the mind. This wasn’t the case unfortunately, as I was too busy wanting to kick the loved up couples who were lounging on the cushions – kissing and canoodling – off the edge of the bamboo balcony.
You see, I decided to actually make one New Year resolution which was to stop seeking ‘The One’. I rarely make any resolutions, believing that the pressure is sometimes just too much and that if you want to stop a bad habit and replace it with a good one, you will do so, when the time is right for you. Not because the clock has struck 12am to welcome a new year. Hopeless romantic that I am, it seems to be continually at the forefront of my mind, this longing of meeting someone. It is embarrassing to admit to such a strong desire of wanting someone to share life experiences with, but I just can’t help myself. On New Year’s eve I actually caught myself with this burning desire and found myself completely deflated with the emptiness that comes with wanting something and just not getting, something Buddhist teachings would certainly call Tanha. I felt awash with the embarrassment of my neediness, believing that I should know better that to believe having a partner is going to make everything ok. Also let’s face it, I am probably reeking of desperation which doesn’t add to the aloof, mysterious persona that I am trying to radiate.
I watched row upon row of couple’s Ville with a certain envy which was then replaced by sadness. Reason being was as I watched the couples – some whispering sweet nothings, some resting on each other’s shoulders – I remembered my own moments of tenderness and intimacy in past relationships and realised that I was completely miserable with those men. Men that I spent years with. Yes, we would sit and cuddle up and do all those annoying thing couples do when they are ‘loved up’ with one another. With one partner we would get yelled at by passing strangers with comments such as ‘get a room’. Yes we were annoying, but my God we were so very unhappy with one another. It was just one big act. One big massive performance that I actually didn’t realise I was a part of for a very long time. You see, it’s easy to pretend. Just look at Facebook. I added countless photos of me in various long term relationships and realise now how extremely unhappy I was in them. Of course we didn’t look it, all cuddled up, spooning ice-cream to each other and laughing for the flash of a camera. Two people, bound together with what was once love (or more likely lust) but had turned into a sour companionship over the months of bickering and neediness. Both too scared to leave each other and brave the unknown world of single Dom, so instead brought out the worst in one another, each day bringing another insidious punch to the confidence and spirit.
Seek and you shall find. Stop looking and it will happen. Both different ends of the spectrum and both utterly confusing. It’s not a case of desperation. Not just anybody will do. Of course there are countless pros to being single. For one thing I am no longer on that ‘roller-coaster’ of one minute being ‘up’ with the excitement and adrenaline of feeling so overwhelmingly, passionately in love, to the ‘down’ with plummeting drops, bringing anguish, heartache and horrendous disappointment. But sometimes, you do want someone to share those magical experiences that life throws at you. To see a gorgeous sunset and share in that moment with someone who is emotionally and mentally ‘there’ with you.
So, yes that’s my resolution. Just that one resolution. To stop seeking and seek ‘inside’ instead. To not be consumed with envy of others fortune of finding that someone that makes them truly happy and instead wishing them well throughout their journey together. After all, life throws some challenging situations at us, so if you are have someone to share the load, then all the better. And to the singles out there? Well, just keep looking inside and you will realise that you are never really alone. You have yourself and sometimes that is all you need. You will surprise yourself at what you can accomplish alone, how you can make yourself laugh and appreciate the small things, and how much you can actually feel ‘love’, not just the relationship kind, but from random strangers that smile your way or show you even the simplest gesture of kindness. Those are the moments that will really melt your heart and make your realise that actually you are never really alone.