"I'm STILL single," I revealed to my lifelong friend Chris, a boy, actually a man now, that I have known and loved since kindergarten, to which his candid response was, "Chill, you've been in a relationship since kindergarten. Enjoy being single for once." I could always count on him to hit me over the head with wit and candor.

The veracity of his statement was powerful, much appreciated, and certainly much needed a few short months after I had broken up with my latest boyfriend to whom I was nearly engaged (my second engagement). I had been in a relationship since kindergarten, always flowing from one long-term boyfriend into the next, a serial monogamist with a seven year relationship under my belt by the time I was in my mid-twenties, preceded by a four year relationship... you get the picture.

Although I’ve recently been presented with opportunities to begin relationships with very handsome, eligible, lovely bachelors and human beings in general, I’ve graciously declined, not really sure exactly why but intuitively knowing that it is not the time for romantic love. I've enjoyed getting to know myself over the past 17 months, spending much of my free time reading and meditating, without dangling off a man’s arm, most often a man much needier than I, which is considerably difficult to believe being that I have been diagnosed with a progressive neurological disease and have required a significant amount of support.

My parents have been married for thirty years, proving day in and day out to be a shining, sparkling, brilliant example of what real, unconditional, spiritual love and commitment look like in human form. Despite whatever flaws they each brought to the relationship table, they have committed and recommitted themselves to each other and to their family, which makes my solo act even more puzzling to outsiders.

I'm a through and through Sagittarius, independent and adventurous, eternally optimistic and excited, a deep thinker seeing opportunity for expansion where others feel a fear of the unknown that makes them want to shut down. I'm a nurturer yet I am currently and purposefully avoiding romantic relationships, even going as far as assuming I might not have the "baby gene" because I've never had a desire to have children (who knows, maybe someday). This is ironic seeing as how I’m in a nurturing profession (clinical social work), and I've nurtured my puppy to the point of neurosis and no return, smothering him with love so intensely that I question whether or not I have given him generalized anxiety (He's afraid of everything.).

But, I am involved in a nurturing, loving relationship right now with my most dedicated and committed partner yet – ME! Right now, I am busy working full-time on the relationship I have with myself, logging meditation minutes and miles,  because total, complete, and consuming self-love is the source of all healthy worldly and otherworldly relationships. In the past, I haven’t had such a wonderful relationship with myself, and I will go as far as saying that it was quite literally downright abusive, like a controlling spouse telling his/her lover what to think, do, wear, and say and then becoming volatile upon seeing the results, as if they were none of his/her doing. I could NEVER please myself, even with the best and most loving of intentions that I was capable of at the time. I would have divorced myself if it were possible citing irreconcilable differences. I was retched.

I’m delaying gratification for the moment while many of my peers are in relationships, married, engaged, and having children, which are the right decisions for them and are admirable nonetheless, because I intend to create a life that is unique to me and my needs, wants, and desires. These needs, wants, and desires may not be traditional, but they are mine, and I choose to believe that I will intuitively know when I am ready for romantic love, just as I intuitively knew I wanted to get a Master’s Degree, work in a hospice, and move to Miami, FL.

If that day ever comes, I will fall to my knees, heart bursting with awe and wonderment, and thank God for the blessing he has bestowed upon me, admittedly undeserved, like I do for the many blessings I currently have and have had in my life. But until then, my choice is to be all that I can be before I try to be all that we can be.

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