As someone who has spent the majority of their adult life single, I totally get the plight of singletons - sometimes, it really sucks. It's so damn hard to cook when all recipes are measured out to "Serve 2" and it was absolutely nerve wrecking going to a fancy restaurant to ask for a "table for one." Looking back I know I wasted so much of my teenage and young adult years whining that I didn't have a boyfriend and afraid that I wouldn't be able to find another one.
If you are still single and in the same boat, I'm sure you've heard this a million times but it's incredibly true: STOP WORRYING!
Seriously, if there is one regret I have about all of my youth it's the simple fact that I spent so much time dwelling on finding love when I really had no control at all.
A few years ago, they declared February 15th "National Singles Awareness Day," so in honor of this lesser known holiday (sorry, President's Day advocates), here is a list of reasons you should celebrate being single rather than dreading it. Odds are pretty high that this will not be a permanent state of being, so please repeat after me: STOP. WORRYING.
1. Being in a relationship will not end your problems; it will just bring about a bunch of different problems - You are kidding yourself if you believe that having a boyfriend/girlfriend will make all your problems go away. Whatever problems you have when you're single, just multiply them by two and that's the number of problems you'll be dealing with in a relationship, because all of their problems become YOUR problems and visa versa. Most of the time people throw their hands up and walk away from relationships after a few months of dating simply because they don't want to deal with twice the problems at such a young age. Believe me, most of my relationships ended this way. It's only when you meet the right person when you WANT to handle your problems and theirs because love transgresses all of these. If you're single, just enjoy having ONE set of problems; this may be the only time in your life when this happens.
2. Traveling alone is actually more fun that you think - Since I was 18, I have taken dozens of solo trips all over the world, and looking back I wouldn't have had it any other way. You may be the only one to experience a place firsthand, but who cares? As a solo traveler I have met so many interesting people who I otherwise would have never encountered if I had been traveling with a companion. From befriending an Australian family at a horseracing rack in Hong Kong, to chatting with an old Portuguese farmer after he let me have an empty window seat on a flight back to the U.S. from Madrid - none of this would've happened if I traveled with someone else.
3. You can go wherever you want, whenever you want - Along the lines of the previous point, if you want to get up and travel, YOU CAN! If you want to go to a show, concert, go on a cruise, take a class, join a gym, go to a club, you don't need to check in with anyone, you can just do it. On the other hand, if you're tired and don't want to go out, you can totally just chill at home in your PJ’s watching TV.
4. Pets can fill any emotional void - There are millions of animals that have so much love to give and yet are lacking a good home. If you find that you're a super extrovert and need constant companionship, go get a dog or cat at your local shelter. Nothing beats the feeling of coming home to an animal that greets you happily no matter what your mood.
5. Focus on learning what makes you tick and never hide who you really are - Know thyself is not a suggestion, it's pretty darn important. It took plenty of failed friendships, failed relationships, and traveling to new and interesting places for me to figure out what makes me tick. I don't think I'm 100% of the way there, but I'm now aware that self-discovery is very important and when you discover something, pay attention to it. Spend this time being single to figure out who you are and what you want in life, and then you'll attract a person to join you on this journey.
6. Spend money on stupid things - When you're single, no one can tell you that any purchase you make is a stupid one. If you want to spend money on a hideous piece of art that no one else will understand but you, GO FOR IT! If you want to spend a few grand on an annual basis buying fancy, smelly bath oils and perfumes, GO FOR IT! Feel like buying a set of skis, a Vespa, or a paintball gun, GO FOR IT! No one is the boss of you and none of your purchases require a committee’s approval. Knock yourself out!
7. Sleep all day if you want to - There's no one nagging you to get up on the weekend or wake you up when you are sound asleep. Get as much sleep as you can or as much as you want! Of course, don't neglect your work obligations. That is NOT something you should ever do, single or not.
8. Get ahead in your career NOW - Employers love hiring single people for high-paying, complex jobs because they lack families and commitments that would otherwise hold them back. This is not implying that people who are married with families don't work as hard - they HAVE to - what it means is that you have complete control over what you do with your career. If an opportunity comes up to transfer to a new city or country, you can go without anyone else's approval. Work all night, all weekend if you want to, go and get drunk with your co-workers after hours- in the end you're the boss of you and you can do anything!
9. Amuse Yourself - See how much laundry you can cram into the washing machine before it breaks. Eat pancakes and bacon for breakfast AND dinner in the same day. Race to make your bed and clean up your clothes while waiting for the shower water to get hot. Drive to IKEA, walk around the store and buy useless items while laughing at the arguments that go on between shopping couples about the color of their bathroom linens (FUN FACT: I STILL do this). See how much shit you can shove into your closet before the beams collapse and the door falls off. Play video games until the sun comes up (FUN FACT: C STILL does this). The possibilities are endless, my friends!
10. Be picky about every date that comes your way, no matter what your age - If you take every date that comes your way, you look incredibly desperate and desperation is never a healthy way to begin a relationship. You cannot, and should never try to, change someone to be the way you want him or her to be. This is not fair to you and it's not fair to them.
11. Getting married is NOT an accomplishment - This is coming from someone who is about to get married: I don't consider marriage an accomplishment in any capacity. Getting married is just something that people do. It's on par with graduating from high school: just about everyone does it, and in the end who really cares? You have a high school diploma, I have a high school diploma - seriously, where is the uniqueness of the accomplishment here? Brides go crazy about things being perfect and having a day devoted "entirely to them." If that's what you consider a life accomplishment, please get your head checked. A marriage should be something fun to look forward to, because it's the one time you get to throw the fanciest party ever with all your favorite people. Think of marriage as a fun perk in life, not a goal to be achieved; in the end it isn't something worth bragging about.