1. Date the wrong person.
Date that person who is way too old, way too young, or way too emotionally flakey to consider at any other time. Date someone who makes absolutely no sense, except for the fact that your whole body melts when they touch your hand while walking. Date someone simply because they turn you on and make you feel something, even though you know all too well that it’s doomed to end before the end of the summer. Make that mistake and get the lust out of your system, because dating someone so clearly wrong for you is not a luxury we are often afforded.
2. Have a fling.
Go somewhere for only a little while and fall in love with someone even though there is an expiration date on your romance from the day it starts. Have a tearful goodbye at the airport and promise to keep calling each other. You’ll stop calling each other after a few months, but that’s how it was supposed to go. Don’t feel badly.
3. Work on a project that consumes your time.
Do something you have always wanted to do but which doesn’t enable you to have anything close to a social life, let alone a functional relationship. Throw yourself into the degree, the promotion, the internship, or the backpacking tour of Asia that you have always dreamed of doing but knew that you couldn’t do if anyone else was depending on you. Let yourself take up all your time and not feel guilty about refusing to share it. Watch how many things can happen when you remove all distractions.
4. Go on a vacation with a friend.
Have some bonding that doesn’t end in sex. Run wild on a town that neither of you two have been to before and make all of the ridiculous decisions you can only make when your friend — and not your lover or a family member — is by your side. Have one of those cliché-yet-wonderful bromance/girl crush excursions that result in a million photos to look back on with nostalgia and the kind of memories that neither of you can make when you’re all tied up in a million different commitments.
5. Get in shape just for you.
Decide what you want your body to look like, work towards that goal every day, and don’t let anyone distract you from the goals you have for your own physique. Don’t do it because you want to be sexier, or want the perfect beach body — at least, not if those are for anyone’s eyes but your own. Focus entirely in proving to yourself that you can set yourself to something and follow through with it, and transforming the body you were convinced that you were stuck in forever. Make yourself perfect-looking to your own standards, and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks of it.
6. Learn how to orgasm really well.
Masturbate with every toy at the porn store. Watch every video your heart desires. Find out exactly what makes you orgasm, and do it. Over and over. Don’t ever let anyone touch you in the wrong way again (especially not because you don’t know how to direct them any more effectively.)
7. Get your heart broken.
Feel what it is like to have absolutely no hope for your romantic future, to be totally alone in every sense of the word, and be completely numb to all of the supportive wishes of your well-meaning friends. Understand what it is to rebuild yourself bit by bit and to not really know if you’re ever going to fall in love again until you actually do it. Because only once you’ve gone through it a first time can you ever be sure that you’d be able to do it another, if push came to shove. And who knows — even when you’re “settled down,” you just might need to do it again.