Loved your comment. I agree with you completely, Brett. I’m lucky to have grown up around some amazing examples of truly happy, long-haul love. Having seen through-better-or-worse, in-rich-and-in-poor, in-sickness-and-in-health types of bonds since my earliest years, I’ve witnessed their potential to heal and fortify, too. Then, come grad school, I was frequently presented with the actual numbers that show how loving relationships enrich a life, in concrete terms. (In this sense, good relationships distinguish themselves from pure “distractions,” like booze, drugs, or sex addiction — specifically, good relationships make unbearable loads bearable because they add something healthy.)
I’ve always loved the old proverb:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
I do wonder where I’d be now if I’d had a partner through many of the tough times… and whether those times would even have been tough at all. Sometimes, I suspect that, yes, things would be much more comfortable right now and I’d be “further along” in my professional pursuits, to boot. But that’s not the lot I’ve been given thus far, and so I’ve had to be willing to look for the blessing in what I was given.
That’s basically what this essay was about: would being in a relationship when I was on my old career path, enjoying the emotional and logistical support of coupledom, have eased my stress and enabled me to go further down that path? Very possibly. But would that have been a good thing? In my particular case, no — because it was the wrong path for me.
All of this said, I’m certainly not one to shit on love — quite the contrary. ;) But we don’t always have somebody to make our journeys with us, and I think that sometimes the lonely singles need an honest, upbeat reminder that there are tremendous blessings in their solo adventures too.