Today I stopped to admire the high-rises awash in the golden hue of the setting sun. There was no need to capture the moment with my iphone. Because what I really want to remember is not just the beauty of the image before me, but all the thoughts running through my head as I stood at the intersection of 2nd and King, oblivious to the cars whizzing past me and lost in that dreamy, dusky glow. It’s so hard to define this moment, or any other moment for that matter. Because it has less to do with what is happening right then, and everything to do with all the conversations, actions, and interactions leading up to this very particular moment.

There was a time in my life when watching the sun set over the city would fill me with melancholy because it would remind me of how very single I am. And all I would have thought about was how the beauty of this moment would be so much better if I had somebody to share it with.

But tonight, I’m watching the sun set over the city, and I feel so free because I am single.

I can’t say that I’ve been in terrible relationships, because they were not. I’ve been very fortunate to be with guys who were caring and supportive. But now I realize it was the person I became in a relationship that I don’t want. I played the girl who wants to be coddled; I made excuses for my failings; I demanded attention and comfort to cover my own insecurities; and I expected too much of the other person to bring out the best in me.

It’s so easy to stay in one place when you know what to expect. It’s so easy to let another person define your life when you don’t know who you are. But I’ve discovered that I am so much more than I expected, so much more than anybody can ever know. And I don’t want to fit nicely into a category that somebody has placed me in or even the one that I put myself in. For the first time in a very long time, I know what I want. And it’s not the arms of another guy that I could fall into. What I want is to finally be me.

If I have the good fortune of finding somebody in the future, it will be because I love myself enough to share who I am. But it won’t be because I am looking for somebody to save me from myself.

Tonight I am reminded of all the other people in this city illuminated by the waning afternoon light. I’m not wondering whether Mr. Right is out there waiting to be found; I’m thinking that somewhere out there, I’m waiting to be me. And I am comforted by the fact that my story is one in thousands of other stories being lived out right now, in this moment, in this city, as we all navigate our own way.