“Even in high school, when all the girls were excited about their first boyfriends, I never had a serious relationship. I didn’t want that and it’s never changed. But don’t get me wrong, I love sex and affection and intellectual connection. I just love my autonomy more. Four men have asked me to marry them over the years, but I wasn’t born to be partnered,” said this woman, a wildland firefighter, standing nearly 6’ tall, long blonde hair escaping its bun and blue eyes filled with power and joy. She reminded me of myself at 19, except she was 45. She had never let go of herself, of her truths, and lived her life totally on her terms.

As a teenager, I dreamed of a solo life. After finishing a nursing degree, I would have a love child and raise her on my own. It would be us against the world and we would adventure across that world – learning and nursing. Likely, my mother would make up part of our home. We would move every couple of years and take on assignments in various communities across the world. I didn’t know specifics and I was too young to recognize the hurdles that would try to stop my dream. But I didn’t need those hurdles to stop me because in my early 20s, I turned on myself, let fears overpower me and partnered with the man who should have simply provided sperm for the child.

I slowly fell into a version of me that spiraled into self-doubt, insecurities, and depression. After 13 years of partnered life, I took my child and stepped away from that often incredibly sad and traditional life. I share custody with him, so can’t go too far into the world for too long, with her, but we have our adventures and she is learning her independence. She and I had a bond for years before she was conceived, but I am glad she knows her father. My child is why we came together. But nonetheless, she and I have not gotten the open road we dreamed of together, in those years before her soul found its home in the body I made for it.

Since leaving her father, I’ve tried to partner again and failed miserably. I’ve had a few madly gloriously frustrating love affairs. Now, I recognize the frustrations were in my effort to capture the moments of beauty with ill-founded notions of partnering. Partnering that I, in fact, had no desire to actually pursue. After five years of fumbling through the idea of partnering, I spent another two years nearly alone – unpartnered and wondering if that’s my road because, in my heart, it feels right, but doesn’t click with what I’ve been programmed to believe I “should be” looking for as a woman. Though I am incapable of defining exactly what I’m looking for in a partner. Then, I spend an evening, tearing around an art event, on a golf cart, talking about love and life with a powerful, safe, intelligent, sexy woman and in her description of her solo life, she reveals a simple truth of her soul:

I wasn’t born to be partnered.

In that moment, I feel free and I know I am not alone. The world is mine and my only obligation is to make a life that is unbelievable in beauty and independence, fierce love and simple joys. My life is my story and no one will tell me how to live it. I am reminded:

I wasn’t born to be partnered.

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