After writing this snippet about finding someone to compliment your life, I decided to dig further into this particular subject. I began pondering the nuances of singledom, the benefits of living an uncoupled lifestyle, and what I would have for dinner. After getting my thought train back on track, I dissected my own solo status.
When it comes to my singleness, men typically approach the subject by asking me, “how come you’re still single?” If I’m feeling sassy I retort, “because you’ll ask me why I’m single rather than actually ask me on a date.” Other times when I sense my sarcasm might lead me into trouble, I state the truth, “I choose to be single.”
While I’m sure the men really mean, “you’re so fantastically amazing that it’s hard to believe no one has snatched you up” (because, let’s be honest, my personality is quite dazzling), it leads me to question, “why does anyone have to snatch me up?”
Despite popular opinion from strangers, mothers, grandmothers, your cat, staying single is not a form of punishment. Rather it is a choice. One not for the faint of heart.
Having a party for one means dinner and movie dates alone. No plus one for events. No “good morning beautiful” texts. Selfies instead of friendsies (a term my friend’s nine year old had to explain to me). It’s easy to understand why people are quick to couple up, settle, or sacrifice values just to avoid the single life. It’s a lackluster lifestyle. Or at least that’s what popular opinion may believe.
I ended a four year relationship two years ago. I am so incredibly bummed I didn’t ditch the tumultuous relationship and become better friends with myself sooner. During the first year after a drawn out break up, I struggled to find the “me” that was misplaced in the “we.” I unsuccessfully dated. I lamented over my newfound status. I developed friendships with people I didn’t particularly like to avoid loneliness. None of those methods brought to fruition the happiness I was seeking (unlike discovering skinny lattes which made me ecstatic!).
Life is full of bumps in the road. Similar to The Oregon Trail game we all know so well. One minute life is flourishing and you’re trapping bears and trading furs and the next you’ve lost half your wagon clan in the river. To prevent any further virtual deaths on our road to the Gold Rush, there were certain lessons we had to learn as the game progressed (and a lot of luck to be traveling with a healthy oxen). Similarly, there were were the lessons I learned and am learning on my journey navigating through the trail of life.
Single Status Rocks
Somewhere in the middle of a long journey of self discovery, I started dating. Navigating those shark infested waters was enough for me to decide I should give being single a fair shot lest I unhappily settle. Over time I realized the perks are bountiful.
Many of my friends are single, and I’ve been able to reconnect with my girlfriends. Sure, we girl talk about dates we’ve gone on, but we don’t obsess over our relationships analyzing every text. We talk about our travels abroad or the embarrassing things we’ve done during the week. How refreshing it is to chat about other things in life than men (no offense guys).
Money is a source of contention for many couples, but as a single female, if I want to spend my money on a pedicure in the middle of winter when no one is going to see my toes, I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. If I want to eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner three days in a row (my record is only two days), the only person judging me is myself. And now possibly you.
If I am in desperate need for a vacation and decide to throw a dart at a map and take off, I do not have to coordinate my schedule with anyone except possibly my boss. There will come a season in life where roots will keep us more stagnant. Until then our singleness is the perfect chance to explore, adventure, and say yes without the worry of shrugging off our responsibilities.
I freaking love solitude. Trust me it’s weird for me to read, too. I’m a social butterfly, and I’ve been told on more than one occasion I talk a lot (read: I’m a lot of fun!). Once I learned to stop filling every minute of every day with noise, I found myself cherishing the quiet moments in my life. That was a Superman leap in my personal growth.
Without our attention focused on another person, we are left to our own devices. It may come as a shocker to you (it certainly did to me), but no human being is perfect. We all have our vices to overcome. For example, mine is trying to listen more and talk less (my in my head voice is constantly telling me to “shut up”). Take note of areas in your life which may need some tweaking and get to work.
Unless you plan on staying single forever (hats off to you), you will eventually become part of a duo. Getting to know yourself, your hot buttons or some of your quirky habits which might not bode well for you in a relationship, will prepare you for the work you’ll inevitably face as you navigate comprise and consideration with another person.
I can turn my phone off and it is okay. About a month ago I took an impromptu trip to Hawaii. I was able to go off the grid without answering to anyone about my whereabouts (other than my Mother). I’m taking a less is more approach to my interaction with my phone, and silencing it more (only failing miserably on days ending in y). It’s quite liberating to have no one know my whereabouts.
Not only is it freeing to put my phone down, it’s so much less stressful. Unless plans are in the works and a quick response is necessary, no one needs my immediate attention. I can get lost in whatever activity is holding my attention at the time without the worry of checking the latest stories on Snapchat or responding to whatever notification is popping up on my cell.
More Free Time To Give And Serve
Serving others is a rewarding task unless you’re just a completely self absorbed person. While some of us have specifically been spiritually gifted for service (Romans 12:3-8), this doesn’t mean the rest of us aren’t capable of giving our time to a good cause. When we’re sololy navigating life, there is not another person filling our free time. We have the ability to balance selfishly using our time and donating some of it to a good cause.
Volunteering our time to helping others gets us outside our problems for awhile. Helping at a soup kitchen in the face of real poverty reminds us that some of our first world problems aren’t really problems at all. Nothing can give you a better outlook on life than helping out at a kid’s organization. Children are the greatest storytellers and their outlook on life will give you a new perspective on your own. If you don’t believe me, PBS expounded on this subject in this fantastic article.
Cliche stereotypes of crazy cat ladies and old maids give the single status a bad rep, but it’s a lifestyle that can truly be enjoyed with the right mindset. Fill me in, ladies. What are some things you get to enjoy or ways you spend your free time.