The 52-Week Challenge: I Failed, But Mission Accomplished

Serial monogamist Kristelle Siarza made a promise to herself to stay single for one year. Read on to find out how she did.

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On October 22, 2013 I crossed unfamiliar territory. I became a single woman, moved out of my ex’s house, and decided to write a piece on this fabulous blog to challenge myself to remain single. When I had mentioned the piece to friends and family, they all gave me the same response: “Yeah, good luck with that.” My ex even laughed in my face about it.

Well, ladies, I am happy to report that I failed. I dated a few times, made some promiscuous decisions, broke a few hearts and accidentally met the perfect guy.

Although I didn’t stay unattached, I did accomplish my mission to be superbly single.

Learning to be Happy Outside of a Relationship: Check!

After rereading my piece from last year, my main goal was “to prove to myself that I can be happy without a man.” I’ve never been happier, and the personal mantras I created for myself kept me in check:

  • Focusing on other relationships
    I spent a good amount of time focusing on my son Johnathan and my family. I realized I accidentally isolated myself from my family by spending it with a significant other, and I’m glad I learned this lesson now before Johnathan and my parents get older. Our clan of four traveled to Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve and to San Francisco in July for family, fun, laughter and a trip down memory lane (I lived there until I was 14). My mom is my best friend, my dad has become the funniest guy in town, and Johnathan and I grow closer every day.
  • Focusing on me
    After finding inspiration in Catherine Avendano’s post on taking a vacation by yourself, I traveled on a “single solo trip” to Austin, Texas and had a ball. It was the soul searching trip I needed; I realized there were many toxic elements in my life that needed to be cut: things I was dwelling on that made me unhappy, excessive spending on useless crap, my ex’s manipulation, and unnecessary worrying about other people. I thrived on the possibilities of one-night stands, and I realized they ended up hurting me in the long run. More importantly, I realized that I was taking life too seriously; I needed to have more fun. I started to appreciate girls night. I finally put travel (an ignored to-do) on my calendar. I even bought a Camaro. Life started to become more fun because I finally took the time to take a joy ride both literally and figuratively.
  • Live without regret
    I could name the many phrases and mantras (like Carpe diem) running through my head every day this past year, but I am proud to say that I lived without regret. I finally started listening to my gut instinct and making life decisions without the worry of someone else’s opinion. I silenced the voice in my head asking, “What will so and so think?” I am no longer afraid to say the word “no” to someone because whenever I’m on the fence about something, I started to listen to my own voice in my head and ask, “If I don’t do this, will I regret it?” I made a few mistakes in my professional and personal life, but I accepted defeat and trucked forward. Like many who have come before me, I’m seeking bolder choices, and I know the best is yet to come.


I added another mantra to my list: Never forget your roots

During my unplanned and impromptu trip to Austin, I met with a friend from high school and a cousin out there. When I went to San Francisco, I spent some quality time with my best friends from elementary school. Reminiscing about the good ol’ days, joking about terrible fashion decisions and coming to terms with tough subjects like heartache and death reminded me who I once was. I realized that all this time the serial monogamous relationships defined me, and I forgot who I was as an individual.

When I was “Kristelle-in-relationship,” I was constantly depressed, worried and anxious. I focused on the person that I was with, gave my heart and soul to him. I forgot about my family and how important they are to me. I lost the connection with my son, who is my everything. I wanted to have the old me back: a woman who is focused on bettering herself for her loved ones, happy and caring towards others.

After seeing these people who knew me a long time ago, I recognized I am still the girl who was born and raised in San Francisco and took a chance at life in Albuquerque. However, revisiting my roots brought me an inner peace that helped me to see my lost self: a young, entrepreneurial woman who, despite the curve balls, has taken chances and found her own way.


So How Did I Fail?

Ironically, being single had its perks: the freedom to explore the world of online dating. I was bored and figured a few emails wouldn’t hurt. I wasn’t looking for someone to settle down with or the next boyfriend. I was simply entertaining myself with awful photos, terrible pickup lines and the occasional “you’re beautiful” instant message.

One person caught my attention, and his gentlemanly qualities (i.e. opening doors) have me hooked. It’s a romance I’ve never experienced before. He’s independent, physically and mentally attractive, deeply understanding and has a busy lifestyle like mine. Without sharing too much (I keep my relationships rather private–unless they break up with me, ha!), I’m happy to report that I met a perfect match for me.

This time, it’s different; in previous relationships, I wasn’t in a good place. I had damaged my other relationships with family and friends because of the romances I was in. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was in a relationship to fill a void of unhappiness and run away from the stresses of life, but the unhappiness was my own. Now after concentrating on other parts of my life and finally feeling like a whole person again, the new man is just the cherry on top.


Fifty-Two Weeks Later

When you think about the phrase “Being Single for 52-Weeks,” people think of it as a time of celibacy and swearing off men. Though I had every intent of being super single until now, I would have never thought of it as a time more about self-reflection and improvement than avoiding the opposite sex.

As I mentioned a year ago, “I’m going to take my time to finesse my personal happiness, enjoy a few online dating sites, and focus on my career and professional future.” Thanks to my personal mantras, I invested 52 weeks in bettering myself for me and everyone around me. There’s no stopping me now!



Immersed in the world of social media, Kristelle Siarza is an online public relations professional based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


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