The Selfishness of Singledom

“I want to spend my entire life travelling the world.”

“I want to blow up my entire savings on a house next to the sea.”

“I want to have a dog, a cat…maybe an entire animal farm.”

We singles have selfish dreams. Dreams that involve us and noone else. A dog, maybe. A cat, yes. A farm, a holiday, travel, sport, food….but well, all our dreams centre around us. And things that make us happy. Agreed, the I in Individual is important, but as a generation, we’ve turned into these self-made yet selfish individuals who care for nothing more than our own happiness.

The other day I was having a conversation with a young 30-something singleton who proudly proclaimed that apart from himself, all he cared about was his parents’ happiness. And I asked him “Isn’t that a natural call of duty?” To which he replied pretty candidly “Well, a lot of us don’t even care about that either”. A statement that got me thinking. Is our selflessness quotient declining rapidly, even as we claim our ’emotional quotient’ is rising.

So the question really is: How much would you give of yourself in a relationship – so as to make it work? How much of your footloose life would you be ready to give up – in order to be a good parent? How much of your ‘wanderlust’ life would you sacrifice – just so that you could be in love and mean it? How much of your ‘i’m a loner’ excuse would you be ready to burn – so that you could be there for someone else? Whenever I get together with friends, I often hear us all proclaiming that “ultimately, it’s about being happy within”. While I am in agreement of this truism, I have a question: Is true happiness always about oneself, never about others?

Yes, we’re all socially conscious and care about homeless animals and elderly people and the poor and needy. However it’s time we bring the same amount of sensitivity to our relationships with men and women. The feeling of compassion for a friend, no matter how ‘weird’ she or he may be…the quality of sacrifice for a relationship, no matter how transient it may be….even the purity of passion for a lover, no matter how small the pleasure. Can we step up and give a litte bit more? Or will we continue to scream ourselves hoarse about being ‘utterly carefree and careless and lovin’ it’?

My verdict: You’ll only get as much as you give. So if you’re not ready to invest in a relationship, don’t expect it to yield rich dividends. If you only have a weekend to spare for your spouse, don’t expect him or her to keep that karwa chauth fast. If you can only make time for one date in three months, don’t expect the guy or girl to produce a ring the next time you meet. If you can only make one telephone call in six months to a friend who lives in the other side of town, well then, don’t expect a “Like” button to glow in her heart.

Being single is great. Being selfish isn’t. And the two aren’t contradictory. You just need to open your heart to understand it.

Authored by Savita Nair

Savita

Savita Nair is an advertising copywriter who lives and works in Mumbai. When she is not travelling, she is writing about all things seemingly superficial and inconsequential. She is also the author of 45 ml – a collection of irreverent poems on love, longing and living a life not-quite-so-ordinary.
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