I put off doing an episode about being single for as long as possible, but really felt like the time had finally come.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about what being single really means — how it really affects someone’s life. And singleness isn’t just for the never married females, but it includes the divorced and widowed too.
I don’t believe that it’s terrible to be single, but I do know that sometimes, it can be hard to adjust when it seems like everyone around you has moved on or has people in their lives.
It could be that you never get to see a friend because they’re busy with children or grandchildren, or that you’re the one who has to travel home for the holidays every year because it’s easier for everyone else.
As I get older, there are times when I wonder if I’ll always be single. Nothing in life is guaranteed, so if being single for the rest of my life was a possibility, how okay would I be?
Well, I tell myself the same thing that I remind myself of when a seemingly good thing doesn’t work out: My life is going to be great with or without them.
And here are the things that I’m doing to make sure that’s true.
Date Numero Uno
I love a good date. When an unexpected match leads to great conversation and a night that never ends, it pumps that heart and hope up making it impossible to stop smiling.
But why wait until you meet someone? Why not make those dates happen on your own?
You’ll avoid the need to impress someone or having to go somewhere that you hate. Some of my favorite dates include:
Matinee movies (because hi — mama likes to be budget-friendly)
Sunday afternoons at a museum
A glass of wine and a charcuterie board at a bar just because
Picnics in the park
Coffee and bookstore wanderings
The more time you spend by yourself, especially out in the world, the easier it is to not worry about being alone.
I’ve found that I meet more people, have better conversations with strangers and notice more of my surroundings when I’m by myself.
Over the years, I’ve worked hard to not have walls up in public if I’m solo. That means, I don’t pull my phone out unless absolutely necessary, always have a book to hide behind or generally just look like I don’t want to be talked to.
I channel the energy I would want to have if meeting someone for the first time — even if I talk to no one.
Pack Your Bags
The older you get, the harder it is to coordinate trips with friends and family, but the easiest person to plan a trip with is: you.
You don’t have to worry about anyone else’s schedule, budget, or bucket list items. Solo travel allows you to make your own plan and also gives you the power to change it if you want.
One of the frustrating things about being single, is that sometimes, it can feel like you’re just waiting around for people or that you should be more willing to bend your schedule regularly.
I get it though — it’s easier for the single person to fly to family or to adjust a schedule because it’s just them. But sometimes, you don’t want to jump through hoops.
So, whether it’s the holidays or just because, traveling on your own can give you some ownership back. Plus, people who have kids or are coupled tend to share how envious they are of a single person’s freedom.
And you never know when that could change, so don’t wait too long.
Balance That Checkbook
Hate to burst the bubble, but there is no knight in shiny armor who’s going to save you.
Whether it’s investing, saving or working down debt, your name is the only one on the dotted line, so you better know what’s what with all of your assets.
Money is a touchy subject for most people, but as a single person, it’s important to make sure that if something comes out of nowhere — car trouble, losing a job or a family emergency — you have a plan.
I know. I know. It’s way boring to be this responsible, but the more you keep up with your finances, the more room you have to breathe.
And that means, more time to date yourself and travel the world.
Find Gratitude for Where You Are
Sure, I dream about finding that person as a lot of people do, but I know that being grateful for what I have now is the only way to appreciate all of the things I believe I want.
People get afraid that they’ll be so good on their own that they’ll never be able to be with anyone, but when you find that person, it’ll be easier than you think.
By making space for gratitude, you’re focusing on the present and when you need to make room for someone else, you’ll know how to be in the here and now.
And that’s the best place to be.