How To Be Single In Your 20's
By: Taylor Vazquez Illustration: Emmy Smith
Being single isn’t my status. It doesn’t define me. Single is not who I am. There is so much more that determines a person’s social status than their relationship status. I’m not going to start listing my character traits and personal interests because this isn’t an online dating website and I’m not here to find love. In fact, I’m here to do the exact opposite.
Yes, I am single. Yes, I am in my early 20’s. No, I’m not looking for my soul mate or a one-night stand or even a FWB. I am single because I want to be exactly that. Single. In the full definition of the word. For the past three years, I have chosen to be single, and there’s not a single day that goes by where I find myself wishing for a boyfriend. I don’t get lonely on holidays, I don’t go to sleep at night wishing someone else was in bed with me, and I certainly don’t feel sad on Valentine’s Day.
To me, being single, especially at my age, is perfectly normal. I don’t question someone when they tell me they’re single so I get confused why people question me when they find out I’m willingly single. I was in a relationship for what seemed like an eternity and I lost myself because of it. I was so involved in another person’s life that I no longer felt like I had control over mine. Post-breakup I realized I needed to take time to get to know myself again. I had been in a relationship for so long, that as I was growing, I wasn’t actually evolving like most people do. I was inept in every aspect of my life.
After the crying and laying in bed for weeks and thinking there was going to be no end to my misery or pain, I did what any normal girl does after a breakup. I went out with my friends and I made every day a new adventure. I let go of who I used to be in order to find who I was now, which meant letting go of my old interests in order for me to discover new ones.
Once I was comfortable and confident in myself as a woman, I became comfortable and confident with myself being single. Those first couple years were filled with nothing but new hairstyles and colors, trips with my friends, holiday parties, sleepovers with my girls, and concert after concert. Life was and still is, so much fun.
Being single is somewhat being selfish I guess you can say. Because you are only caring about your likes and dislikes and, of course, life is much better that way for anyone! Being single isn’t something to feel sad about. Embrace it and live your life for you. It’s the only time in your life if you decide to eventually marry and have kids, that you can be completely and utterly selfish.
Regardless of how I felt, and still feel, about being single, I will always have society pressuring me. It’s unfortunate, but it’s just always the way it’s going to be with older generations.
They don’t understand why a woman would choose to be single. To most of them, we should be settling down, getting married, and popping out babies. At my age, most of them already had gotten married and started their families. So, to them, it’s unfathomable to want to be single in your 20’s and wanting to settle down in your 30’s. The constant feeling of always having to explain myself got old after the first year. At some point, you just have to accept the fact that you can’t change everyone’s perspective and move on. If you’re happy with where you are in life, that should be all that matters.
Being a part of a generation that seems to dismiss any kind of emotional intimacy actually makes being single so much easier. I get so turned off when I meet people who solely have hookups or flings. Like I said, I’m not looking for a relationship or a FWB situation but if I do choose to hook up with someone I don’t want it to be with someone who has gone their whole life afraid of commitment and in turn has only ever had casual hookups. I know it shouldn’t matter but it does. It’s a sense of self-respect for me, I guess. I suppose I would rather hook up with someone who is comfortable with himself and choosing to be single rather someone who is afraid of emotions and, therefore, is single. It really is two completely different things.
Being single isn’t about the hookups or the flings. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of hookups but that’s not what being single is about. To me, being single in your mid-20’s means you get to be independent and take the time to figure out who you want to be. It’s the time to take spontaneous trips with your friends, travel to places you’ve always wanted to, and have quality time with the people you love. I learned that being independent doesn’t just mean you get to choose what Netflix show to watch. It’s about being confident enough as a single person. It’s about knowing you’re walking into a room alone and no one is going to be looking for you. You have to be okay with that. It’s about enjoying Valentine’s Day with your girls by your side and buying yourself loads of chocolate to binge eat and watch a rom-com. It’s about taking care of your well-being and being so happy and fulfilled with yourself that when you get into a relationship you are already a whole, you are not looking for someone to be your other half. You’re simply looking for someone to enjoy life with, not to complete yours.
Being single in your 20’s is perfectly fine. It’s normal. It’s okay. Enjoy the time to yourself. Enjoy your life. Enjoy your freedom. Find out what you value most in life so when you meet someone you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for and it won’t be another dead-end relationship. I believe in fate and that everything that is planned for you will happen, so live your life for you and let things fall into place naturally and in their due time. Don’t listen to your mom, your grandmother, or in my case my uncle who keeps trying to set me up on dates. If you are happy being single then forget the judgment. Remember, you’re living your life for you, not for anyone else.