The 52-Week Challenge: One Reader’s Quest to be Superbly Single

Serial monogamist Kristelle Siarza makes a promise to herself to stay single for one year.

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Years ago when I heard Fergie’s “Clumsy,” part of the song caught my attention and made me immediately think of myself:

You know this ain’t the first time this has happened to me
This love sick thing.
I like serious relationships, and uh
A girl like me don’t stay single for long.
‘Cause every time a boyfriend and I break up
My world is crushed and I’m all alone…
The love bug crawls right back up and bites me, and I’m back.

It has been ten years since I was last single: I was a 16-year-old at La Cueva High School, lonely after my move from the Bay Area to New Mexico. After that failed “high school sweetheart” relationship, the others fell in line one after the other with titles out of Carrie Bradshaw’s black book: “baby daddy,” “the Guatemalan,” and most recently, the “40-year-old.” All great relationships, all ending in heartbreak and tears.

How To Get a Date in Albuquerque

Ignite New Mexico talks are a fun way to test your public speaking skills; speakers have 20 slides to present as they auto-advance every fifteen seconds. As a regular Ignite speaker, I did a presentation on “How to Get a Date in Albuquerque,” which remains one of Ignite New Mexico’s most popular topics.

The irony? I wasn’t actually single when I did the presentation.

Fast forward to three years later, I ask my single gal pal this question: “Dude, dating sucks. How should I find someone for fun?” She said, “Watch your own YouTube Video!”

She was right. I should have listened to my own advice. But I’ve decided to take a necessary leap of faith and take my advice further.

 

The Grieving Process and the Challenge of 52 Weeks

I, Miss Kristelle, will be single for 52 weeks instead of jumping into another relationship. As of today, it has been 8 weeks since my last relationship. It’s a self-inflicted ultimatum to help heal my heart and prove to myself that I can be single. At first, it was the usual grieving process.

My first week was the most difficult. I was in denial about the relationship being over, and I didn’t want to move out of the home my ex and I had made with each other. It was hard to find my appetite. Sleep was impossible. The heavy feeling in my heart remained. I had to remind myself not to spiral out of control.

My second week was dramatically better. My girlfriends listened as I told and retold the story of “the end.” My mom gave me the comfort that only moms can show their babies. I began to smile more and more, and I felt like I was back on the road to happiness.

Now I’ve transitioned into the “moving on” phase. It’s the time when every brokenhearted girl starts to realize she can again balance on one foot, bike without training wheels, and swim without floaties. Like every end to a relationship, you wonder about that ex and start making crazy assumptions. Any time I wonder if he’s happy without me or if I will ever get married, I tell myself that the word assumption has A, S, S for a reason.

 

Why The Challenge

When my ex and I last spoke, I explained my commitment to upholding a positive reputation within the community. The phrases I used in conversation were “determined to succeed,” “career-focused,” “striving to achieve,” and “hardworking.” I now plan to add “independent” to my list. After ten years of serious relationships, I want to prove to myself that I can be happy without a man.

A major talking point in my mom’s “he-wasn’t-good-enough-for-you” lecture was that I’m not getting any younger; she said it is time for me to think about my future family as well as my future husband. She’s right, but I can let time pass—a year, to be exact. I am committing this time to myself: revising my definition of personal happiness, focusing on my career and professional future, and leisurely enjoying a few dating sites (no more pressure for the next Mr. Right Now).

 

Learning to be Fully Single

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been doing “homework” to guide my new solo status. Here are some of the mantras helping me throughout this journey:

  • Focus on you
    I love to help people smile and make them happy, but I’ve come to accept that making myself happy is crucial. Especially during this year, self-reflection and personal development will keep me away from bad dates and bad company.
  • Focus on others
    I always thought a boyfriend was my key to happiness, so in the past I’ve put my significant other first. Finally I am prioritizing the other important people in my life. Spending quality time with my son, my family, and my girlfriends has and will keep me happily single throughout the 52 weeks.
  • Live without regret
    To me, being single means having the opportunity to do things those in relationships can’t do: Travel to new areas, live in different parts of town, and dine in places couples can’t agree on. Every day, I’ve had a moment when I asked myself, “If I don’t do this now, will I regret not doing it later?” I’m making decisions without having to worry about what my other half would think. I’ve started to live life with a true “carpe diem” spirit.

 

Stay Tuned

So it has begun: my life as a single gal. I’m staying away from the love bug, and I can’t wait to share stories from this year with you.

If you’re a serial long-term relationship dater starting a new life as a single woman or if you’ve completed a similar journey, please tweet me at @MissKristelle or comment in the blog post below. Let’s support each other.

Here’s to the next year as a superbly single woman!

 

Immersed in the world of social media, Kristelle Siarza is an online public relations professional based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a childhood friend of Single Diaries founder Catherine.

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