Columns, Opinion

Ladies I Am Right: ‘Tis the cuffing season

I have always been single for the holidays. Minus a seasonal fling a few years back, I have never had a beau for the holiday season. Instead of kissing someone when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, I was poorly hit on by a man who described me as “mysterious, like Tom Cruise.”

This time last year, my on-and-off-and-on-again sent me an endearing “Merry Christmas” text five days early, and then again two days after the fact. All I usually want for Christmas is a regular sleep schedule and an updated wardrobe, not another person. Needless to say, my holidays don’t have Hallmark endings. All the same, I can’t help but feel like it’s something I should want and have this holiday season.

Sometimes, it seems like we are focused too much on the things we want — things it would be nice to have. For those who celebrate Christmas with their families and gifts, we have been conditioned to do this. We make lists filled with our heart’s wants and desires, hoping to cross off the items as we get them. We focus on what we would like to get instead of what we already have. This is not a bad practice — we should always be looking forward and focusing on our goals and wants in the coming years. New Year’s is a perfect reflection of this. We are allowed to want the things we do not have, but we should also focus on the things that we do. I am lucky enough to have an incredible support system — from my parents to my extended family, from my roommates to my best friends back home — I am constantly surrounded by the love and support of those close to me. I almost don’t even have time to think about how I am single.

But sometimes, it can be hard to be single during the holiday season. Few holiday songs, short of “The Christmas Shoes” are about anything other than having someone to hold during this season.
Almost all the storyline endings, save two in “Love Actually,” end with the characters paired up. I understand that real life cannot be compared to seasonal movies, but it’s hard to avoid the holiday tropes and feel like there’s something missing — even if deep down, you know there isn’t. This is when you should focus on all the good things you have in your life, and on how you enjoy your time being single. If you want to be in a relationship, understand that relationships take time.

This is not to say that if you are single, you are alone. From December until mid-February, “cuffing season” feels less like a joke and more like a seasonal requirement. It feels like everywhere you look, you see couples enjoying seasonal activities together — ice-skating, holiday shopping, planning the downfall of single people, whatever it is that they do together. Songs on the holiday radio stations remind you that you should have someone to hold, as long and they’re not giving your heart away. Everywhere you look, it’s beginning to look a lot like relationships.

Almost a personal mantra at this point, I believe that relationships are focused on timing. It may not be the right time for someone to get into a relationship. As much as they are hailed as a happy and joyous time, the holiday season can also be a somber experience for some as they think about who they’ve lost in over the years. It should be a time used to be reflect on those that you have, those that you’ve lost and those you haven’t even conceived of coming into your life.

Right now, there are people who are single and enjoying every second of it. There are also people who are in healthy relationships, built on mutual respect and admiration. Both are valid. Both are important to your development. Both have a timing to them that changes at different points in your life. Although I am not a point in my life where i can support the time-schedule of someone else or be as emotionally available as I have been in the past, I do not feel alone. Until I can be all of those things, I am going to focus on the relationships that I have with those around me, like the one I have with my mom who doesn’t mind if I text her at midnight about “Downton Abbey” and the one with my friends who let make terrible puns in our group chats.

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