Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be almost thirty and as single as a devoted Catholic nun. Funny thing is, I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time and I have no clue if it’s because I’m older and wiser or because I have no one to answer to but myself. Maybe it’s a combination of the two. It’s been almost a year since my husband woke up one morning, packed his bags and left me without so much as the courtesy of a reason why. Months afterwards, he told me it’s cause he “just wasn’t having fun anymore”. Something happens to a person when they go through something like that, a growing and learning process that would never be possible without the struggle. I could have crawled up into a ball and allowed the world to swallow me whole but instead I embraced the difficulties and allowed myself to stand tall, be strong, and learn things about myself I never would have known otherwise.
1. It’s Perfectly Okay to Be Single and Happy… At the Same Time.
We’ve all been conditioned to think that life’s happiness is dependent on being happy with another person. We think that finding someone to “complete” us is what will ultimately make us happiest. We buy into the Hallmark cards and the bullshit movies and we think that we can’t be happy by ourselves. I can tell you that I’ve learned this to be completely untrue. I have had many hard days this past year but at the end of each I have been able to find multiple reasons as to why I am happy. I have come to realize that I am happy being single. I am happy that I control my own destiny now. I am happy that I no longer feel the need to be with someone just so I can be in a relationship. I am happy that I have found my peace with being alone and feel good about it.
2. Depending on Yourself Feels Better than Depending on Others
Being independent is hard. Whoever says it’s easy is either lying or delusional. Having people around who support you is an amazing feeling and you do start to learn who matters the most when you go through a hard time. Really learning how to depend solely on yourself though, is like learning algebra backwards with your eyes closed while jumping on a trampoline. It’s a whole lot of stuff at once and sometimes it seems like it’s too much to handle but once you get a good rhythm going and find your footing and your confidence, the rest of it falls into place. It’s the times when you HAVE to do stuff alone, like drive across the country by yourself or move without anyone’s help that really defines you and once you get through it you feel like you’ve conquered the world. I wouldn’t trade my independence for anything at this point. Even though it’s hard, it has taught me how strong I really am and that’s pretty invaluable.
3. Rushing Will Only Slow You Down
There truly is no need to rush into a relationship. Many people find it hard to be single so instead of just working on themselves and learning how to be independent, they rush into short fling after short fling, hoping that one of them will be long lasting. What I’ve learned through being single is that there is no need and no point in jumping from guy to guy. There is no need to rush into relationships just to have someone you can call a “boyfriend”. If only more people would take a breath and slow it down and enjoy their own company, they would see that being single has way more benefits than clinging on to someone so you can be in a contrived relationship that won’t even last a month. I have no time for that because all that would do is take away from my “Me Time” that I have grown to love so much.
4. “Me Time” is not only Fantastic but also Necessary
I’ll admit, sometimes the bed feels a bit too big and I do have small spurts where I feel a pang or two of loneliness. At this point though, I’ll take it because it’s a small price to pay in return for getting to do whatever you want, whenever you want to. No compromising, no fighting over weekend plans, no watching movies that kind of give you a headache but doing it with a smile because you know it makes them happy. None of that, just 100% Me Time. I didn’t realize how necessary for the soul this time alone actually is until I had to experience it first hand and let me tell you, it’s amazing. You can learn an awful lot about yourself when it’s just you and your thoughts. Netflix also begins to have a whole new meaning when you don’t have to share. Spending time alone is necessary because it helps you figure out who you are without the influence of another person. Yes, it’s nice to have someone’s hand to hold but learning who you really are is the key to figuring out your own life.
5. Trust is an Issue
When you’re single in your early twenties, you rebound back pretty quickly because you still have time. You still have high hopes and romantic ideals that you believe are within reach. You may have had your trust broken but you still trust again easily because you don’t really know better. But see, when you’re older and your trust is broken you rebound back as fast as an 87 year old after hip surgery. You learn that trust is not easily come by and you are less willing to give it away. You learn that being too trusting could get you hurt again so you become cautious and you see no point in handing your trust or your heart over to just anyone. I’ve learned that this is a legit reason why I’m still single and I am okay with that. I would rather be single and work on my own issues than have a fake relationship with someone just so I can have a date to the 76 weddings coming up this summer. I like going to weddings dateless anyway.
6. There’s no Reason to be Ashamed
No one should be ashamed to be single. If anything, people in mediocre relationships are looking at you wishing they had the same courage to be alone. Being single can lead you to feel shitty at some points but you should never think less of yourself because of it. I’ve learned that being single is a choice that too many people are scared to make, especially as we get older, so in all actuality I’m proud of myself. I’m proud that I don’t feel pressured into settling with someone I barely know or even like and I feel confident that if someone good does come along one day, I’ll be with them because I genuinely enjoy their company and not because I feel like an old maid. This is one of the biggest lessons I learned this past year and I only wish more people could understand that being single isn’t a life-sentence to hell.
Being single in my late-twenties has been drastically different than it was in my early-twenties, but I am grateful for it. I am grateful for the lessons, big and small, that I have learned and for the strength I have found to get through it all. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and if being alone will help me find out that reason then so be it. The biggest thing I have come to find from being single (and almost thirty) is that sometimes life pushes you in the exact direction you need to go…we just need to be aware that the path might look different than we imagined. And we need to be okay facing that path on our own.