I’ve been consoling this friend of mine who recently went through a “break up”. I added the inverted commas, because by definition, you’d have to be in a relationship before you can break up with someone, and this couple never made it there – they’d been doing couple-y things for a year, but neither has ever broached the subject of what exactly they are (were).

So, of course she was upset. For context, this was supposed to be her first real relationship, and I’m sure she had high hopes for it when it first started – but as months passed, we were noticing that he just wasn’t doing the things that boyfriends typically do, like showing up for birthday surprise parties, doing something special on valentine’s day, and other things you’d typically see a boyfriend doing in a blossoming relationship.

So we asked her what’s up.

Naturally, she started making excuses for him. Oh he lives so far, oh he’s tired from work, oh he’s busy taking care of his sick uncle, etc etc. It came to a point where she couldn’t defend him anymore, and eventually I said, “Haiyah, so useless this guy, find another boyfriend la.”

“Actually,” she replied, “I’m not even sure what we are.”

Wait, what?

That’s when she told us that they’ve never had ‘the talk’. She has no idea what this was or what she meant to him. He never brought it up, and she never talked to him about it either.

For the first three months, I let that go, because I thought that well, you don’t have to rush to put a label on things this early. Then six months passed by, still no talk. Nine months later, and it’s gotten to a point where she avoided this topic completely.

This was frustrating for her (and me) because every time he’d screw up, she couldn’t justify being mad at him.

“I mean, like I can’t be mad at him because I don’t know what this is.”
Yeah, okay so go talk to him about it.
“But why can’t he talk to me about it?”

Boom. And there it was. Like a lot of us, she was waiting for him to make the first move. If he could just do this one tiny thing, that would solve all their (her) problems, and they can go on to being the couple that she’s dreamed of.

Yeah, no.

We do this a lot. I’m waiting for my friend to get serious about exercise before starting on my weight loss. I’m waiting for him to realise what an abusive boyfriend he is. I’m waiting for her to reply to my messages so I can ask her out. I’m waiting, waiting, waiting.

I wasn’t exempt from this either. I had been waiting on this girl who I’d been crushing on for more than a decade ago since college. I admired her because I felt like she was my perfect type – muscular, sexy, low maintenance, loved travel, determined, adventurous and everything else I felt I wanted in a woman. I’d always been honest about how I felt about her, but she never reciprocated.

So I’d wait.

She’d get a boyfriend who’d she be with for a couple of years, and then break up, and then get into another one, several years, and break up, and then get into another one… every time she did, I’d try my luck. No dice. Still, I had the same thought process – I just need to wait my turn. I was going to be the final boyfriend. She’d realise that I’d been the one for her all along, we’d fall in love, reminisce on the treasure trove of memories we’ve built, and find our happily ever after.

I think we can all take a moment to laugh/ cringe at myself right now. (It’s okay, I’m right there with you buddy.)

After all that time waiting though, I’ve learnt one of the most important lessons of adulthood – that no matter what, you should NEVER wait for anyone. Or anything. 

I know I’ve framed this post in almost entirely romantic terms, but I don’t want you to misunderstand – this applies across the board. If you want to lose weight, don’t wait for someone to go running with you. If you want to have a loving relationship, don’t wait for someone you like to text/call you, and if you want to start your own business, you better goddamn start googling ‘how to start my own business’ right now.

In short, if you want to achieve something, you simply cannot afford to wait for someone, or something to happen. You have to be ready to move on with whatever it is you want to do, with whoever and whatever you have with you. I’m not going to lie – most times, this means having no one and nothing.

The thing is, when you choose to wait for someone, you’re effectively pinning your future, your hopes, your dreams, and everything that you want to achieve, on this particular individual. Holy fucking shit, are you kidding me? You’re relinquishing control of a part of your life to this person? That they’re suddenly in charge of your future happiness?

Fuck. No.

You’ve got to learn to be decisive rather than reactive. You’ve got to learn that regardless of how people treat you, or what circumstances you’re in, this is your happiness we’re talking about. You wouldn’t let someone decide how clean you are, or how hungry you are, so why would you let someone decide how happy you are?

Of course it’s not going to be easy. Moving at your own pace is one hell of a Pandora’s box. It’s letting go of people who aren’t going to move with you. It’s facing things alone. It’s coming to terms with your insecurity and fears, and having to make big decisions by yourself. It’s lonely and scary, moving away from the herd.

But ultimately, after you’ve been through the motions, you realise how empowering taking ownership of yourself is. You’re no longer tied down by people who are indecisive. You’re not at the mercy of people who are not invested in your life. You’re able to make your own choices and move at a pace you’re comfortable with.

And isn’t that what living is about?