Whether you’re dating someone or single, it’s important to take self-inventory, being intentional about the relationships you have and the relationships you want. How often do we make checklists of our needs? I firmly believe that you can do anything you want while you’re in a relationship — except flap your arms and fly, because you can’t do that ever — but before you go about throwing yourself into something, it’s best to ask the big questions.
Here are 31 things that I believe are equally important as being in a relationship or in the case of #2, way more important. Kerry Washington is more important than everything.
1. Having healthy and fulfilling friendships with the people who have stuck by you forever — and who will stay by your side, even as relationships come and go.
2. Making sure that you’re caught up on Scandal.
3. Being in touch with what you really want. Sometimes you need to ask yourself if you even want to date right now. What will really make you happy?
4. Taking care of your body and your soul. As they say, the most important and lasting relationship is the one you have with yourself.
6. Achieving a balance in your life between dating and your social life, work and play.
7. Being independent and forming friendships and relationships because you choose them, not because you’re reliant upon them.
8. Knowing that you’re ready to ask for the kind of relationship you want and able to show others how you want to be treated.
9. Not settling for less than what you know you need out of life.
10. Saying yes to life, which (if you’re Liz Lemon) means saying yes to staying in more.
11. Always waking up prepared to conquer the world every day — whether that’s in terms of love, your career or being ready for what comes
12. Coffee. They say that time heals all wounds, but when you don’t have the space to wait around for that bullshit, coffee helps.
13. Having “Me Time.” When was the last time you took yourself on a date?
14. Remembering to do the “little” things you always put off, like fixing up your apartment or putting your space in order. You have no idea how much your environment determines your personal well-being.
15. Being genuinely proud of the person you are or committing to the person you want to become.
16. Taking new opportunities to learn and grow, as you remember that life is a long process of constant education.
17. Feeling alive today.
18. Treating yourself, even if that means that you break your diet, just for today.
19. Being fully present to someone in the moment, whether that’s a kiss in the rain or a conversation with your best friend.
20. Doing things that scare you every day — even things you never thought you would ever do.
21. Being okay with the connections that don’t last and enjoying the time you get to spend with people for what it is.
22. Learning that rejection isn’t a reflection on you, but a part of life. Even Robert Redford got shot down sometimes.
23. Asking yourself if who you are is someone you would have wanted to be when you grow up.
24. Standing by your decisions, even your bad choices and your mistakes, knowing that we can’t grow unless we fuck up sometimes.
25. Learning to finally move on from your previous relationships and to stop looking for the person who will replace the one you lost.
26. Masturbation. As Woody Allen once said, it’s sex with someone you love.
27. Thinking about other people who aren’t you.
28. Knowing what your boundaries and limits are — the things you’re okay with and what makes you feel uncomfortable.
29. Your lifelong romance with Chipotle and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
30. Allowing yourself to get angry when you need to let your feelings out and having someone to talk to when you need comfort or a sounding board. Just because we’re alone doesn’t mean we have to be lonely.
31. Never being afraid to want more or demand more.