A Separate Peace/Piece of Mind

Taken at The Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens

A married friend of mine once sighed, "I wish I was single again. I mean, I don't, but I do. You know what I mean." I do. I know exactly what she means–and it has nothing to do with dating around. I think it has to do with this feeling of wholeness and the freedom to guiltlessly make decisions based purely on what you want–and you, alone.

Dr. Pat Allen, the renowned relationship expert and therapist, once said something along the lines of: "In a committed relationship, the masculine energyusually a man–gives up his/her irresponsibility and the feminine energy–usually a woman–gives up his/her independence."  It sounds like an awfully bleak and dreary creed for feminine-energy women. Can a man's irresponsibility really be worth a woman's independence? I question whether that's a fair trade-off. (Whether or not a man can ever let go of his irresponsibility is another question altogether.)

I find myself gravitating toward committed relationships yet, at the same time, holding my cherished alone time near and dear. Without it, I feel deprived. I've repeatedly fallen into the same pattern of getting swept up in the beginnings of a relationship, only to find myself nearly dissolved in the process. This is a recurring conundrum that I face and I know that I'm probably not the only one. It seems to be a universal one among women. 

Possessing an independent spirit is such a precious thing, even when–like me–you're living with your boyfriend in the middle of the mountains with nobody else around for miles around. I don't think that I could ever relinquish ownership of that–even if, in an extreme case, the independence in question is reduced to having one's own mind. If anything, I think that's where it should start