1. Not being required to care about anyone’s opinion.
Let’s be honest: Even though we constantly have people around us telling us how not okay or how awesome our various decisions are, when in a relationship you’re somewhat obligated to take someone else’s feelings consistently into account. Thinking of doing something new, making some kind of change, or going out and doing something tonight? Yeah, you’re going to have to check in with headquarters if you’re a member of a couple — especially jealous couples, which are more common than we’d like to admit, unfortunately. But when you’re single, you do exactly what you want, when you want. You enjoy the hell out of your spontaneous vacations, wanton flirting, and trying something new every day with impunity. It’s awesome.
2. Moving at a moment’s notice.
If there is one thing that can be impeded by having a stable relationship that you care about, it’s the zip code in which you live being able to change. Everything from a new job opportunity to a town you thought looked cool on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s show can bring you into a new place, and if you’re tied down, that decision is going to have to be made as a team. Unless, of course, you want to enter into a long-distance relationship, but that’s a can of worms to be opened on another day. So enjoy singledom! Move to Austin on a whim! Take a look at Portland and maybe decide you’re too normal for it! Don’t worry, you can always go somewhere else tomorrow.
3. Enjoying your friends.
Why is it that we always seem to forget about our friends when we get overwhelmed with a hot new relationship? We act like they’re some kind of weight we’ve been lugging around on our shoulders that, as soon as we find someone perfect to snuggle with on weekend afternoons, we just drop at a moment’s notice. And while we do come to our senses eventually and find a balance between relationship and friends, there are still few pleasures as pure as spending days, nights, and a series of bad decisions with friends while you’re single, young, and trying to figure things out together. Being single allows you to focus your full attention on the love you have with your friends, so why not take them out on a nice date once in a while?
4. Life is an open book.
Tomorrow could be the day you meet the love of your life, the day you get an opportunity that takes you halfway around the world, the day you decide you want to make a huge change and just go for it. There are no expectations ahead of you — no goalposts that need to be passed with your significant other — and you can decide exactly how you want to do things. Possibility for you, and you alone, is endless.
Yeah, we can all complain about dating, but let’s admit it: there is something thrilling about the promise and mystery of a first date. You get to find someone, go through the butterfly-inducing contact that leads up to your meeting, and then finally doll yourself up for a night on the town that could either end in marriage or complaining about how they were a terrible kisser over drinks with your friends. And while the dating scene can definitely get exhausting — and we can start to think that we’re doomed to repeat the same lame evenings out over and over — being single affords you the freedom to take your time and learn what you like, through often-absurd trial and error.
6. Getting to know yourself.
We can be so hard on ourselves, and maybe a big part of that is because just spending extended time alone with yourself is… surprisingly hard. Going to dinner alone, taking long walks, and doing a little exploring with no one there to talk to can seem intimidating, even not worth it. But when you actually get to the point where your own quiet company is enough to have a great time, and you don’t need — even if you may like — the crowds and other voices in your ear, life becomes infinitely more enjoyable. And more importantly, when you do date someone, it won’t be because you need to fill some kind of void, because you can’t stand to just be alone with yourself.
7. Parties for one!
Have you ever just had a “single” night where you get drunk by yourself and watch movies, play around online, eat junk food, and remain entirely unconcerned with what you look like? They’re the best. Sometimes it’s nice to know that you can do exactly what you want to do, and find out that having yourself as a drinking partner sometimes doesn’t have to be depressing or just a filler until something better comes along. And this is made all the better when you know that no one is expecting you to give them your time and do something with them instead. Being able to just enjoy a night of fun that you maybe wouldn’t want anyone else to see (we maybe don’t look our very best when eating out of a bowl of Doritos perched on our tummies while watching cooking shows) with no expectations is criminally underrated.
8. Only one set of parents to worry about.
Admit it, parents can be stressful enough when they’re just yours, the ones you are used to and at least know, no matter what, still love you. Add to that being with someone you love and want to impress, whose parents are now going to bring some final judgment down on you as a person, and — if all goes well — are going to be family for the rest of your life, even if you dislike each other openly. I want to take a Xanax just thinking about it.
9. Not having to worry about grooming.
Do you want to spend the whole weekend unshowered and in the same pajamas you put on on Friday? Do you want to not shave your legs/crotch/beard/underarms/whatever part of you usually gets shaved, or at least trimmed, if someone else is going to be touching it? Do you want to burp and fart and masturbate with complete and utter liberty? Do you want to walk around naked eating hummus with your fingers straight out of the container? Well, the single life is for you! Enjoy, Smelly!
10. Being able to focus on your career.
Having a career, and everything that comes with it — from managing your own money to having your own place to live — is scary, and challenging, but one of the most adult things we do. Knowing that we can rely entirely on ourselves, that we can make our careers and our work/life balance what we want them to be, makes entering into any relationship just that much better. When we’re alone, we can focus on building that nest of security (both financial and professional) that ensures we will not need to rely on anyone else — that we don’t have to be scared. Taking the time, while we have it, to make our career dreams come true, is an investment that pays off the rest of our lives.