I am a firm believer that your twenties are absolutely not the time to prioritize being in a relationship.
Actually, I am a firm believer that there is never a time to prioritize being in a relationship, but that belief is less firm and more personally tailored. There is a stigma attached to purposefully single young women that simplifies a complex state of mind. Women who choose not to seriously date or attach themselves to a partner on a longterm basis are labelled as independent, powerful, cynical and callous. A stereotypical understanding of any of these adjectives is harmful, including the positive characteristics.
Power and independence are not exclusive to unattached women. My mom is easily one of the strongest and most influential women I have ever encountered, and she unquestionably believes that she was put on this earth to be a mother. Family is her number one priority, and she has been a wife and a mother for many years. The challenges she has endured in raising a family are no less backbreaking and spectacular than the challenges an unmarried, careeroriented businesswoman faces as she pursues her unique goals.
As a woman just entering the realm of twenty-something, ‘powerful’ and ‘independent’ are certainly some of my favorite compliments but I want to bear these accolades for the right reasons. There is a distinct problem with describing women by how they exist in relation to a partner, particularly in relation to a man. If I am merely ‘powerful’ because I am not in a committed relationship with another person, that is false power.
Power is personal. Power is passion, ambition, compassion, empathy. Power is a desire to learn, a desire to persevere in the face of adversity.
I need love and connection just as much as my more monogamous peers, and therein lies the crossroads of love and dating. I refuse to prioritize dating while I’m in my twenties. That being said, I am committed to prioritizing love.
Love is not necessarily a steady boyfriend. Love is platonic, romantic, and familial. Love is like fingerprints no two loves are alike. The love I will prioritize in my twenties is remembering to call my parents as often as I can. It is telling my friends what I find special about them on a regular basis. It is dedicating my time to people who make me think, and who challenge what I know about myself and the world around me. Love can be art, sex, fresh air, cuddling or travel.
Your twenties are not the time to make big decisions based off of anyone but yourself. I’ve been told that it’s the time to be selfish but I don’t see it as selfishness. It is making a commitment, first and foremost, to yourself. Those that you love, and who love you back, will understand.