I FOUND MYSELF AT A SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE WHEN THE CLOCK STRUCK MIDNIGHT AND THE BALL DROPPED ON NEW YEAR’S EVE. THIS MARKS THE FIRST YEAR I’VE KICKED OFF AS A SINGLE GAY MAN IN OVER 14 YEARS. WOW.
After stealing a New Year’s kiss from a friend, I went to the street to call my parents and brother to wish them a happy 2016. When that was done, I just stood there and thought, silently, for a minute.
2016 was here, and I was metaphorically on my own for the first time since before I went to college. At first the thought was scary. I have always been a “teamwork” kind of guy. I’ve searched this city and the earth for a partner I could team up with to take on the world. Every New Year’s Eve since I was 19 I had someone I thought would be that forever teammate. This year, not so much.
But within a few minutes, the fear passed. Excitement reared its head instead. For so many years I imagined being single as falling off a cliff. Losing my partner would result in me plummeting into the depths below, where I often envisioned spikes and sharp objects lying in wait.
But the truth was far less dramatic: I have been significantly single and not pursuing something with someone since the beginning of Autumn of 2015. And you know what? Being single isn’t all that bad. I was still breathing (and I still am now). I’ve become a bit pickier now that I’ve discovered being on my own isn’t the worst fate. If I’m going to re-enter the rat race of romance again and invest more hours, days, weeks, months and years of my time, I will only do so when I find someone that I truly feel a connection with. No more of this shoving square pegs into round holes I’ve done for so long.
And, as a serial love-hunter, I have never, until now, considered all the good that can come from being single for a while. Focusing entirely on myself and what I need and want. For so long in my life I have focused exclusively on my partners, or guys I was wooing in hopes of having them agree to be my partner. I’ve spent so much of my life living for everyone else. Why did I do that? Why have I done that? Ask my psychologist; maybe she knows. In truth, it’s not the why that matters, it’s the fact that it’s what I’ve done that matters.
With the New Year now here, I am walking into 2016 (and this damn winter that seems to have finally shown up) with full focus and attention on me. Finding myself. Figuring out what I want from life and a partner.
I just turned 34 years old, and, for the first time ever, I’m thinking about me. I’m caring about me. I’m loving and looking out for me. It’s an odd thing to do, still. I’ve truly never done it before. I’ve always been out to please others, to satisfy others, to prove my worth and value to others at any expense to myself.
No more. Not any longer. In 2016, I’m changing shit up. I invite you to do the same.
I hope you all had an amazing start to 2016, everyone. Happy New Year.
XO Justin Luke
Justin Luke is one of New York’s premiere gay party producers and promoters and the co-owner of the nightlife company BoiParty. He is also a six-time published author and entrepreneur.