My twenties were filled with a constant flow of romantic relationships. Three years with this one. A year spent over there. Three years with another. I had a chronic case of serial monogamy. After I began dating at age sixteen, I spent the next decade in a revolving door. I doubt I spent more than a year single, total, throughout that duration. As each relationship ended, I swore I was going it alone for awhile, yet I was easily distracted by shiny things and quickly drawn back into the world of dating.
By nature, we are social creatures. Even the introverted among us, myself included, appreciate a healthy, loving and committed relationship. But, sometimes, if we’re not careful, we can lose ourselves in others. I eventually became tired of always having someone else to worry about. That’s why, before I turned thirty, I made a promise to myself to stay single for a year.
I chose to date myself for a change. It wasn’t always easy. I intentionally threw myself into work and refrained from going out to bars, clubs, parties, or anywhere else one could easily meet someone. During this time, I learned the beauty of being alone, and I want to share with you just a few of the amazing perks.
The Beauty of Being Alone
Eating Leftover Pizza for Breakfast
When you’re flying solo, you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. All of your favorite foods are exactly where you left them. Gone are the days spent dreaming of going home to that leftover Chinese food, only to find that someone beat you to it. Or, in my experience, ate all of it but two bites. How annoying!
You can fill your fridge with all of your favorites and not have to worry about someone’s vegan lifestyle choices, or their gluten-free restrictions. If you want to eat ice cream for dinner three nights in a row, go for it. You can tear into that cold pizza over the kitchen sink and not care that you might slightly resemble a rabid animal. Your home can once again become your safety blanket, a completely judgment-free zone.
It’s All You, All of the Time
The times we’re not tied down, we’re free to do as we please. You can stay in, or go out, without having to consult anyone. You get to control the remote and hog the blankets. And no one can call you selfish because of it.
Now is the time to catch up on all of your favorite, wonderfully horrible reality TV shows, without someone reminding you of how stupid and fake they are. Yes, they’re stupid, and that’s kind of the point. After the daily grind, you just need some mindless entertainment. If reality TV isn’t your thing, insert guilty pleasure [here].
More Time for Friends and Family
Being single is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with your nearest and dearest. Let’s face it: there’s only so much time in the day and our romantic relationships can tend to take up the biggest chunk. Now, you have a chance to take that long-distance road trip with your oldest friend or have old school sleepovers with your sisters.
Most of us have moved more than once, so chances are, your loved ones are scattered. You’re now free to hop on a plane and go visit them whenever you want. No more waiting to coordinate schedules with your partner, or feeling guilty for leaving them behind.
Getting to Know Yourself
Every person we have been with has brought something unique to our lives. We leave each relationship with more knowledge than what we entered with. As we grow over time, so do our needs, wants and desires. Take this time to assess yourself. Reflect on where you’ve been, and discover where you want to go next.
Yes, change is constant and plans often go awry. It’s not likely a five-year plan will go exactly as planned, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be aware of the general trajectory we’d like to travel. You might even surprise yourself. What I wanted even a few short years ago is not the same today. Life is fluid. Learn to let go and flow with the current, instead of resisting.
Becoming a Self-Sufficient Badass
Even the simplest things like going out to eat alone, can remind us that we don’t need anyone. Asking for “a table for one” will probably be a little awkward at first. As you dine alone, you might feel as if everyone is staring at you with pity. They’re not. And, even if they are, who cares? You’re never going to see these people again.
How many times have you wanted to see a movie but didn’t go because you couldn’t find anyone else available or interested in it? “I’ll just wait ’til it comes out on RedBox,” you think to yourself. Go by yourself. Do it. This is true of anything you enjoy. Why deprive yourself of things you find pleasurable? Push through the discomfort so you can surpass it.
As you become more comfortable doing things alone, you become more confident in yourself. With that newfound confidence of standing on your own two feet, your choices in relationships will also begin improving. Suddenly, you’re in relationships because you want to be and not because some part of you feels like you need to be.
And, the fact that being self-sufficient and confident is sexy as hell doesn’t hurt either. So, whether you find yourself on your own by choice or not, rock it for all it’s worth.