‘Why are you single?’ I never really know how to answer that question. Sometimes, it is asked with simple curiosity, sometimes with disbelief (maybe you’re too choosy), sometimes with suspicion (there must be something wrong with you), and sometimes with pity (you poor thing, you’ll grow old alone). It doesn’t bother me, but I wonder–what is it about being alone that scares people so much?
I get it, though. Love is a wonderful thing and life can seem pretty cold without it.
Being a hopeless romantic, as soon as it was ‘legal’ to date, I ended up getting into one long relationship after another, which means for most of my adult life, I was always part of a couple.
And then one day, I became Single. Everything seemed uncertain. I wasn’t even sure who I was, what I wanted, and what could be because for years and years, my plans and dreams always included another person. It was scary…but in retrospect, it may have been the best thing that ever happened to me. I was finally free to grow into the woman I was meant to become, to explore the world, to do what I loved. I traveled to places I always wanted to visit, made lots of new friends, got lost a few times, lived for the moment, mustered up the courage to talk to strangers. I focused on my work, learned new things, built a stable career. I saved money, made investments, planned for the future. I joined a civic organization, worked on projects for the community, and tried my hand at leadership. I spent time with my loved ones, strengthened bonds with friends, made my mom my best friend, got comfortable in my own skin. It was–and still is– the time of my life.
What an epiphany it was to find that there is a way be blissfully single, without thinking of it as a waiting period for Mr. Right to come along! Here are some tips I learned along the way:
- Pray. For peace of mind, for a strong heart, for forgiveness. Pray for guidance. Pray for your questions to be answered in time. Pray for pain to teach you kindness instead of anger. Pray for the courage to pursue your dreams. And I assure you, one day you’ll wake up and find yourself a much better, much happier, much stronger person. It is all worth it.
- Travel. This has always been my favorite balm for the soul. Travel with friends or family if you like, but if you can, travel by yourself at least once- where you decide exactly where to go, what to do, what to see, who to talk to. Get caught in a hailstorm, lose your shoes at a club, talk to random people, live like a local. It is truly an awakening and gives you a great new perspective on life.
- Push your limits. If you have always lived within a box, done things a certain way, or played by the rules (like me), maybe now it’s time to break them and experiment a little. Do more than you ever thought you could, be it at work, with your talents and interests, and even how you live your everyday life. Surprise yourself. You don’t want to live the exact same day 1 million times. Yes, you can watch a movie or eat out by yourself and actually enjoy it. I never thought I’d say this, but yes, you can text a guy first. Yes, you can casually ask him out too. Yes, you can go on a blind date or try a dating app. It’s not going to be the end of the world if it doesn’t go well, and who knows, it can even be fun. What’s important is, you like yourself and you know what you’re worth. Don’t mind what people say about you too…it’s your life, not theirs.
- Try something new. Have you always wondered about something but been too scared to try? Now’s the time to do it. Can you imagine what it will feel like when you’ve succeeded—in running a marathon, or skydiving, or mastering a language, or opening a business, or creating your first painting? This may just be the Universe’s way of telling you that there is so much more in store for you if you’d only try.
- Keep getting better. Assess and refine all aspects of your life. Are you in the best physical shape you can be? How much have you learned in the past year, at work or outside of it? Is your spiritual life solid? How about your relationships with others? If you can make little changes in all these areas, you’ll rack up a huge difference. It is amazing what a little extra effort can do. So yes, eat healthy, work out, read and learn, set time aside for meditation, spend your days with the people who value you. You’re in for a kickass transformation (and no, you don’t need to cut your hair).
- Be compassionate. You will never be as attuned to the challenges of others as you are today. You’ll see yourself in their struggles, you’ll be more open about your experiences, you’ll be more receptive to listen, you’ll be humbler. You will be a better friend, a better leader, a better daughter. Maybe it’s true what they say—sometimes the only way for God to get into your heart is to break it. So let the light in, bask in the intensity of your feelings, and shine on for everyone else.
- Forgive. Forgive all who have hurt you, and forgive yourself for your mistakes and for the hurts you have caused others. Realize that the world doesn’t owe you anything, and stop expecting for any of your efforts to be appreciated nor reciprocated. Just let it all go, and smile because the slate is wiped clean again and the very best of your days are yet to come.
- Enjoy. Yes, enjoy! Go out, laugh at silly things, shop till you drop, dance the night away, get tipsy (but don’t drive), wear red lipstick, dress up, drag your friends out if you have to. Life is short and every day is a blessing. There’s so much fun you could be having right this very minute, all you need to do is get up and go. Decide to be happy.
- Trust. You can’t let any disappointment scar you in such a way that you build walls around yourself. Continue to trust people, let them in, keep your heart open and free. There is a reason certain people cross your path, and it’s up to you to allow them to add color to your life. Imagine the possibilities!
- Love yourself. Yes, it is great to be head over heels in love, to be ‘kilig’ (hey this word made it to the Oxford English dictionary!), to feel like you can go through all time and space for that one person. But what if that person is you? Take a cue from Tita Whitney and sing with me…‘Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.’ Then one day, you might meet someone with a sweet, shy smile, and pretty boy eyes…and maybe…?
The point of this whole article, my dears, is to remind you that your singlehood should be so sweet that it would take a truly wonderful person who rocks your world to make you want to consider the alternative. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed you’ll meet that person soon. But if you don’t, that’s ok—you are wonderful all on your own.