8 Lessons My Married Self Would Teach My Single Self

Flickr / Ken’s Oven
Flickr / Ken’s Oven

I spent 99% of my single life wishing I wasn’t single. If I stumbled upon a time-traveling DeLorean, I’d like to go back ten years and tell myself to get a grip.

1. It’ll happen.

Statistically speaking, you’re more likely to end up married and balls deep in years of matrimonial bliss than you are to end up as a modern-day Miss Havisham. Although it might seem like you’ll mourn your prom date in the attic until the twilight years of your life, eventually you’ll get over it and forget about the chucklehead in question. When your friend reminds you of the forgotten summer you wore pajamas for a month, you’ll make the same face you reserve for cleaning out a particularly grody fridge. Of course, at the time, this seems impossible. Convince yourself with the numbers and avoid attics.

2. Don’t wish your life away.

Time passes quicker the older we get. No matter what your idea about ‘the one’ may be, life will probably surprise you. Also, marriage is 50% cleaning (no matter what your stance on feminism might be, boys are messy. The sink will never be free of stubble again) and 50% Netflix. The next time you’re in the club being bummed out about living the single life, let it go and enjoy it. Married people seldom go out on the town, despite contrary intentions at the beginning. Men are much like bears, they only go out to hunt. Once they have a female companion and food under one roof, it’s hard to get them out of hibernation mode.

3. When you meet “the one,” you’ll know it.

Here’s a newsflash, self of yesteryear: The one won’t hit on your friends, or disappear off the face of the earth for weeks at a time. He won’t have another girl on the side, or suffer from “commitment issues”. He’s not the guy that doesn’t show up when he says he will, or leaves abruptly during the night. You might spend years trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but at the end of the day you’re just prolonging the inevitable. Love is a two way street, and if he doesn’t show signs of being a keeper at the beginning, chances are that nothing will change. Don’t spend time on someone who will waste yours.

4. Don’t sweat the assholes.

Assholes. Assholes in every shape, size and color. This is the summary of dating. Prior to marriage (unless you’re a weirdo who marries their kindergarten sweetheart) you will probably experience a dizzying plethora of assholes, who will gradually erode your faith in relationships and/or humanity. Apparently this is all part of the plan, and the trick is to not let it hold you back. When one of these fools plough through your life and leave nothing but a wake of crumpled tissues and empty wine boxes in their trail, do not dwell. I once spent two years mourning someone who wore spandex tights professionally. Hindsight is only 20/20. The best thing you can do, is get your shit back together and keep dating. Keep moving forward and never get stuck in what has been or what could have been. Your pre-married life is about having a range of horrible experiences so that when suspicion mounts that your husband is peeing in the shower, you won’t be so mad about it because you have the context of experience behind you. Peeing in the shower will always be gross. The point is that you won’t mind it as much, because it’s nowhere near as gross as a dude who dumped you via text message for a stripper in Palm Springs.

5. Stop Pinteresting your wedding.

Stop. Right. Now. Unless you have a ring on your finger or professionally plan weddings, there is no excuse for this behavior. A wedding is but a day, and if more people focused on the ‘death do us part’ bit rather than what type of tablecloths should be used, the divorce rate would plummet. Don’t get married because you want to be the center of attention for 24 hours and show off to your high school friends on Facebook. The idea of marriage should be about being with the one you love, not having the venue planned out seven years in advance. The real pitfall of this obsession comes when you’re in such a hurry to play Princess for a day that you’ll cast any schmo to be the Prince. Spend more time thinking about characteristics of the person you really want to be with, rather than the nuances of a single (and eventually trivial) day. Marriage is not the be all and end all, and might not be your cup of tea anyway. Just look at Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.

6. Appreciate your girlfriends.

True friends will stay in your life way longer than that tormented musician you met in a sculpture class. Never ditch on a friend to hang out with a guy. It’s a natural part of the female disposition to sit around and dissect text messages as if you’re decoding the Enigma. Just don’t let that be all that you do. When you’re older, some of the best memories you’ll have will be of your girlfriends. Make sure you don’t flitter them away.

7. Don’t broadcast your feelings to the world.

Seriously, TMI is the death of dignity. If you’re mad, sad or doing naked keg stands in Cabo, probably best not to share it over all of social media. This isn’t about freedom of expression, but rather keeping all of your options open for a later date. The way you portray yourself on Twitter after six glasses of wine might not be the way you wish to be judged when a legitimate employer Googles you. Although I disagree with changing yourself for a man, it should be noted that your dream guy might get the wrong impression of you if your newsfeed is filled with hate rants and anecdotes about slashing tires. Plausible deniability will take you far in both life and a courtroom. Additionally, it might be the best night of all time, but no 35-year-old wants visual proof of what happened at Mardi Gras a decade earlier. Chances are, retrospect will make it embarrassing. Save yourself the hassle and keep that for your private collection. Or drum up a pen name and let rip with the safety of anonymity. Just refrain from sharing any intimate pictures. Let Jennifer Lawrence be an example to us all.

8. Go on adventures.

Travel the world. Take risks. Go solo. The shortcut to maturity is to travel extensively and alone. You’ll be amazed at all the friends you’ll make, and once you’ve survived a night in Bangkok after losing your wallet, you’ll feel a lot like a BAMF who can take on whatever challenges life throws at you. Once the terror and food poisoning has subsided, that is. Travel gives you a worldly perspective and teaches you the true meaning of Carpe Diem. Perhaps the greatest time for running amok across the globe is after a serious heartbreak. It’s hard to be sad when you’re on a wild adventure into the unknown. It might sound like a placard mounted inside a yoga studio but you really do find yourself when stepping outside of the daily routine. Also the universe has a funny way of coming full circle. Less than four days after having the epiphany that I could generate my own happiness and was reinvigorated about the single carefree life, I met my husband. TC mark

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