I'm 17 And Have Never Been Kissed

Here's why I'm perfectly OK with that

I am 17 years old. I have never been in a relationship. I've never even had a first kiss. I am the virgin of all virgins. Is this a problem? No. I don't think so.

Coming-of-age films and novels may suggest that we should have all found our true love at 16, but that just isn't the reality. The love songs and adorable pictures of celebrity couples we always repost aren't always realistic, either. Being with someone is difficult (or so I've heard). Couples argue, frustrate each other, and find that they no longer have to consult with themselves, but with another person, too. You have to find time to be with that person, to organize dinners and dates. Frankly, it all seems rather complicated, but, in the end, a relationship should be about understanding that the person you're with is very, very important and should be one of your top priorities.

Not being in a relationship, therefore, means that I have time to learn. I'm learning how to love myself before I love someone else, and what my flaws are and how to improve them. I'm learning how to live without a relationship — in fact, I've been doing so my entire life and am living just fine.

For example, one sunny day I woke up at sunrise and went to a café for breakfast. I took myself to a museum, then treated myself to wandering around my favorite bookstore. I ended the day with pizza and a potted plant. It was one of my favorite days ever. It was a completely selfish, self-loving day. I did whatever I wanted without discussing it with anyone else.

I'm learning that I am not missing a piece of my puzzle and that company is nice but not necessary. I do not need someone else to make me complete. My worth is not determined by someone else's ability to love me.

Do I sometimes wish I had someone? Well, yes. Perhaps it would be nice to text that person and say, "I watched this documentary today about owls and it reminded me how much you like owls." Perhaps it would be nice to call them and say, "I had a really bad day and you're my favorite person in the world and I'd very much like it if you could come over and cuddle me." Perhaps it would be nice to have some of those '80s-movie moments, like someone handing you their jacket when you're cold. Every once in a blue moon, while watching TV, I'll think, It would be great if someone was here to play with my hair right about now.

But there will likely be many periods in my life when I am alone. Being alone and being lonely are two very different things, and I think it's vitally important that we learn how to be alone. We should learn how to eat alone at a restaurant, see a movie alone, or turn up to a friend's party without a date. Doing so doesn't make you sad or someone to be pitied. Having someone by your side doesn't make you a better person, and being alone doesn't make you a worse one. Perhaps one day I'll be in a relationship, but until then, I'm just fine on my own.

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