With the rise of social media and sharing of photos, we have become a culture that lives and breathes the idea that “our lives are so perfect” — at least online. In reality, relationships take up your time, emotions, and passions amongst other things, and it’s not always as happy as it looks.
Now, what would I know? I’m a single 23 year old girl who rarely actually dates people. We could get into a whole psychological breakdown as to why I’ve made these choices and conclude how sad I am that I’m not in a relationship, etc. However, I recently have started making changes in my dating life. Earlier this year, I decided to try online dating because maybe finding someone in a mutual friend circle or at the “right place at the right time” just wasn’t feeling realistic anymore. So I did it. And I hated it. Not because I wasn’t receiving messages, not because there were no attractive people, but mostly just two words: time consuming. I found myself getting annoyed at having to check my messages and respond to them, never mind having to filter through all of the ones that truly were a waste of time. So after a good two or three weeks with online dating, I deleted my profile. I found the process exhausting and made me even less interested in dating than I was prior.
The story doesn’t stop there. I recently went on a date. Yes, an actual, real date. At the end of the night, he leaned in to kiss me and my bodily response was to give him the cheek. I felt awful. He’d just dropped $60 on dinner and I couldn’t even give him a goodnight kiss? Nope. I called several friends (women and men) to confer. The consensus at first was generally, “give him another chance, you never know!” But the days following I found myself becoming annoyed at the constant contact (which let’s be honest, wasn’t even that much contact, just more than I’m used to), and annoyed at the things he said. I argued with myself wondering if I should “stop being so judgmental” or “should I lower my standards?” I have read a lot of articles recently that say that the reason so many twentysomethings are single is because our standards are just “too high.” Well, I’m here to call bullshit on that theory. Don’t settle. You can definitely give people a chance and put yourself in situations you might not normally put yourself in, but you by no means have to settle because you’re single. After speaking with another few friends about my uneasiness of moving forward, I decided that I indeed, had no interesting in seeing this person or continuing the relationship. They agreed with me that I shouldn’t feel bad, and that I should continue on my journey to find whatever it is I’m looking for.
I spoke with a co-worker today about my future and what my plans are post-graduation. Our conversation only solidified the lack of consistency I have in my life right now, which is totally okay. I’m 23! Why should I have to feel like I need to be rooted in someone, something, or some place? So here it is…my list of reasons as to why I am still single as a twentysomething and why I like it.
- You can go wherever you want. Not everybody wants to move all around the country (like me), but if you do, this is the time to do it. It’s easy to be selfish and make friends at this age. We’re all still learning at this point, so it’s okay to be inconsistent.
- You don’t have to settle. Like I stated earlier, be open to the idea of relationships with someone you might not usually consider, but don’t feel bad about it when it doesn’t work out. That’s just life.
- You answer to no one! I have become so accustomed to taking care of myself that when someone does peak an interest in me and starts asking me how my day was every single day and what I’m doing tomorrow, I get weirded out. Of course, with the right person, you may want (and will do) those things with them, but because you’re on your own, you get to put you as priority uno. And let’s be honest, how long is that gonna last?
- More room to make mistakes and figure out who you are. I have had a lot of friends who get lost in relationships and mold into whoever it is they’re with at the time. This is natural to some extent, but I think it’s healthy that we keep our independence, too. Making mistakes doesn’t necessarily mean a string of one night stands, but you are able to capitalize on opportunities (career, relationship, traveling) more often.
- This one might just be silly…but you get the whole bed to yourself. I like cuddling just as much as the next person, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t also love taking up all of the room on my full-sized bed every night, too!
- More time spent on meaningful relationships. Just because you’re independent of a significant other doesn’t mean you don’t have relationships to attend to. This is a time where you are able to really connect with your friends (of all genders) that you might not have time for once you’re in a committed relationship.
- More time to figure out what you want. The great part about being “alone” is that you get to decide what you’d like to do independent of anyone else’s plans.
- Being okay with being alone and even liking it. There was a long period of time where I spent making myself feel bad for not being a relationship only to find out I don’t want a relationship. It is okay to be single and like it that way. It’s still possible to find happiness, fulfillment, and success without the accompaniment of another person.
So there it is. Eight reasons as to why I’m single and like it that way. Today we are so into “shaming” — relationship-shaming, sex-shaming, race-shaming, age-shaming, etc., that I think we all get a little caught up in how the world sees us and we forget to reflect on how we see ourselves. Getting in touch with our feelings should be something we encourage in culture today, and finding inner peace with oneself is a great place to start.