I’m single and happy. Surprise! I know it may come as a shock that those two words can be used in the same sentence, but it’s true. Many articles and books for our generation focus on dating. We are driven by love and are seemingly flawed if we haven’t found “the one” by 25. This isn’t another article on how to find a spouse, this is life advice on how to be single.
I am 23 years old, have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and am living on my own in the city. Looking at my social media (because come on, how else can you get to know someone) you’d see I have lots of friends, a loving family, and a fish. What you wouldn’t realize is that I’ve never had a serious relationship and I have never been kissed. The most common reaction I receive when people find out is shock. It’s like they can’t believe that someone that has friends and is generally happy could go through life without someone to call their own. Well I’m here to tell you that being single can be great! We have to stop acting like it’s a curse and embrace it for what it is: freedom. Here are 4 ways I have found joy in choosing to be single:
1. Don’t live life waiting for love
Why do we so often fail to fully live out our dreams because we are waiting till we’re married? We settle for the plastic plates from Target instead of the ceramic plates from Macy’s because we’re taught that nice things are for when we’re hitched. We either learn to make meals for a family of four or memorize the takeout menu instead of learning to cook for one. We don’t take our dream job across the country just in case that guy that you hung out with once and texted twice might be “the one”. If you want to get in shape, don’t do it in hopes you’ll finally get a man, do it because you’re a grown adult and you need to take care of your body. Singles of the world: we have to stop waiting to live our lives simply because one day we might get married. Live out the adventure of your life now!
2. You don’t have be lonely if you’re alone
Movies and television have programmed us to believe that if we’re single we are the sad third wheel and should feel bad about not having a date; that, or we have to be constantly hooking up to feel satisfied. Neither is accurate. There’s no shame in being a third wheel; on a tricycle the third wheel is the leader and decides where the trike goes! Enjoy the benefits of hanging out with friends and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Be confident in the fact that you have friends to third wheel with! So often we feel like we have to be down on ourselves if we’re single, practically depressed because we don’t have what we think we deserve. Surprise! Being alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. I’m going to go there: think of the people that truly have nothing and how they have found joy in the small things. We need to learn to appreciate life and stop living as though we are plagued because we can’t get a date. There’s so much more to life than being romantically involved with someone.
3. Not everyone you meet has to be a potential mate
At this stage in life our focus shifts from seeing the opposite sex as potential friends to seeing them as potential spouses. No wonder it’s awkward to ask someone to grab coffee or to get dinner. All I want is to hang out with some testosterone! I’m not asking for a ring here. When we shift our focus we are able to get to know people on neutral terms instead of sizing them up as a suitor. Will my family like him? Is he ambitious enough? Does he like my most recent binge on Netflix? We forget that humans have more to offer then their reproductive organs and ring finger. Once we reign in the hormones and concentrate on friendship we’ll see how much there is to learn from one another. Contrary to what When Harry Met Sally told you, it’s possible to be just friends with the opposite sex.
4. Love yourself
This has been taught for decades, but it’s no less true today. You can’t expect others to fall in love with you if you don’t love yourself. Figure out what you like, what disgusts you, and what your passions are. Don’t wait around for some guy to figure it out for you. We are all created differently with an array of personalities and passions; figure out your identity and what makes you tick. Just because that guy said he likes blondes, doesn’t mean you can’t rock brunette! If she doesn’t care for you to waste your time fishing, don’t waste your time pretending to like ballet. Now there are sacrifices that can be made if you truly love someone, just don’t change who you are at your core. You don’t have to settle simply because you feel you’re at the age when you should be getting married. Love yourself first. Don’t get me wrong, getting married and having a family is an option, but it’s not the goal. My goal is to spread joy, love each person I come in contact with, and change the world; all of which I can accomplish as a single lady. Now get off the computer and live your life out loud!