Being single is new to me.
I’ve been in two long relationships, with only a short break in between. I haven’t been properly single since high school. Breaking up with my last boyfriend was like someone yanking the covers off me at four in the morning. Those covers were my burrito of warmth. And now some asshole has my bedding in his grasp and is screaming, “TIME TO GET UP! RISE AND SHINE!”
I am uncomfortable with this.
The cold air is shocking after the loneliness of my bed. But I’ve decided it’s time to appreciate being single. I often think in lists, and this is one I’m working on. It’s a list on why being single is awesome.
1. Explore the World
If you’re unattached, you can pack up and move to any corner of the world with fewer ties to sever. You can travel to Iceland or South Korea on your own terms and conditions. Start a new job; and if your dream job isn’t within reach, go back to school and learn how to get there. With all this alone time you can work on novels, start blogs, paint things, take up welding and doodle on napkins. You can hike through the river valley with your newfound abundance of lazy Saturday afternoons. These are things you can do in the context of a relationship, of course. But with more time and less obligation to someone else, the possibilities are endless.
2. Learn New Things
Even if you’re perfectly competent at river valley excursions and mildly acceptable at artsy things, there’s always so much to learn. You can take cooking classes – eventually Kraft Dinner gets a bit tedious. Learn to rock climb. Try yoga. Read the newspaper. If you’re fuzzy on the details, figure out what’s going on in the Ukraine or the Middle East or how your own country’s government works. Reflect on your relationships. Understand how you think about things, and ask yourself if there’s a way to make your reasoning processes more efficient.
3. Improve Your Friendships
Being single allows you to focus on your friends, which is especially helpful if you’ve neglected any of them while you’ve been in a relationship. It’s pretty cool to connect with old friends, make new ones or hang out with close friends a bit more than usual. Bring them along for that cooking class. Go on a trip with a coworker. Start a reading club with your bookish friends. Learn from these people. Explore with them.
4. Have Fun Flirting
When you’ve been in a monogamous relationship for a long time, coming out of it – and realizing it’s totally okay to flirt with almost whomever you want – is a bit of a shock to the system. Or it was to mine, anyway. I’m terrible at flirting, but I’ve heard practice makes perfect. Flirting is fun and exciting for most people, so this is probably something to look forward to.
5. Focus on Yourself
Finally, being single allows you to focus on yourself. It lets you figure out what you want to accomplish, and gives you the time and flexibility to make progress. Being unattached leaves you free to explore your independence. Figure yourself out: Work on your flaws, catalyze change. See how you fair in situations that are completely unlike anything you’ve been through so far. Volunteer in a foreign country. Join an orchestra. Work with your hands. How do you react to these situations? This is who you are, what you’re made of. It’s what you want and need and hope for. It’s a portrait of yourself. It’s something to love with all of your heart.
And this is pretty awesome.