“Single” shouldn’t be a scary, “four letter” word. This should be a period in your life when you get the gift of time to yourself; the time to find out who you are, learn to love yourself, and embrace your freedom. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time being single. How much time do you have in life to be selfish and just focus on you? Let’s put this into perspective… I’ve been single now for 2 years consistently (about 7 years total since I was 18) and have been dating as an adult for 13 years (yikes, that’s a scary number). If I meet the person I will marry tomorrow, and let’s just say, for fun, that we’re married for 50 years (if we should be so lucky), take 7÷(13+50)… that’s only about 11% of my adult life that I have to myself. 11%!!! So I’ll ask the question again, how much time do you have in life to be selfish and just focus on you? Here are some things that I believe are crucial to do in that 11%:
This is a scary concept for a lot of people, and I used to be one of them. I went on my first solo trip to Vegas in March of 2016. It was only a 2 ½ day vacation, so this was less threatening for me. At first I was incredibly nervous about traveling alone and even tried to find someone to go with me last minute. I was afraid I wouldn’t have fun on my own and that I would be lonely. My family thought I was crazy for picking Vegas for my first solo trip, but it’s such a perfect city to visit alone! Full of people, entertainment, and activities to keep you very entertained.
When I arrived at The Monte Carlo and checked into my room, my nerves set in. It was close to 3am because my flight was delayed. I looked around the empty casino laden with shady characters and gigantic hotel lobby with intoxicated people laughing with their friends, and at that moment I felt alone and scared. I went up to my room, wondering if I had made a horrible decision going to Vegas by myself, then finally calmed myself down and went to sleep.
The next morning I woke up early, got ready, took a deep breath, and headed out of my hotel room to face my fears. I went down to the restaurant on the main floor to have brunch, and maybe a couple mimosas to build up some liquid courage. The rest of the day I went out on the town and to my surprise I had an amazing day! I met Wheelchair Elvis, saw Penn and Teller and met Teller, made some good acquaintances, and walked up and down the entire strip weaving in and out of every casino. I felt alive and free. The majority of the vacations I had taken before were with my family and I always felt like I was on someone else’s schedule. It was very rare that I got to do something that I wanted to do, so this is why this trip to Vegas was so special. I wasn’t on a schedule, I didn’t have anyone with whom I had to check in or make decisions, this was my time to myself and I got to do whatever the hell I wanted to do. I was able to take myself out of my comfort zone and this was an amazing, liberating experience. I am so grateful for this trip, and I have already booked my second solo trip: Dublin, Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day 2017!
Spend Quality Time with Your Friends
This seems like a no-brainer, right? But think about it… when you’re in a relationship, your world tends to revolve around your significant other, especially in the beginning. If you happen to find yourself in a toxic relationship, this person may even prevent you from seeing your friends at all and then your friendships will begin to crumble. Spend quality time with them. Have a get together at someone’s house, invite your girlfriends to a girls’ night, or find healthy hobbies to do together like run or hike. Indulge in the finer things in life. Go to that expensive wine bar and buy a nice bottle of wine to share. Go to brunch. Go shopping. Be comfortable being the 3rd wheel with your friends who are married or in a relationship. Mend your friendships and make them stronger before your next relationship. This will show you how important and irreplaceable your friends are in your life. Hopefully, if you’ve neglected your friends in the past for a relationship, you will learn your lesson for the next one. Another lesson to learn from this is that if you’re dating someone who doesn’t want or care to meet your friends and get to know them, kick them to the curb! Anyone who is worth your time will respect your friendships and want your friends to get to know them in return.
Face Your Fears
Are you afraid of being alone, heights, open water, or flying? Just like traveling alone, find something that scares you and conquer it! It may be as small as eating by yourself at a restaurant without a “security blanket” like a book or your phone to hide behind, or it may be something more extreme like skydiving or swimming with sharks. Whatever it may be, face it head on and overcome your fear! Studies show that fear spurs from your own perception that you are incapable or inadequate to accomplish something. Overcoming these fears will boost your self-confidence, help you differentiate between what is fact and what is fiction, and provide you with the courage you need to take on your next “impossible” task.
Find a healthy routine. Do something good for your body like starting a new clean eating diet, workout regimen, or outdoor sport activity. With so many things to participate in around Austin, the choices are endless! Some suggestions I have tried are ClassPass, Austin Sports and Social Club, Crossfit, Yoga, CYC fitness (spin studio), and there are so many more fitness and health groups on Meetup.com. When you feel healthy and attractive your confidence shines through and you will begin to attract more people in return. Give yourself a makeover. It could be something small like doing your makeup or hair a different way, getting a few new outfits, or it could be something more daring like changing your haircut or color. If you are prone to depression, getting in a routine or doing one of these things will give you the endorphins you need to help pull yourself out of the darkness.
If your physical health and fitness is on point, focus on your mental health. Learn how to meditate, write in a journal, or volunteer in your community. Find things that give you peace of mind, make you happy, and serve as an outlet to your busy, stressful life. I can tell you from recent experience, writing is an amazing outlet. Putting your thoughts down on paper to reflect back on is extremely therapeutic. I never really understood why people kept journals until now. If you are not a writer and choose the volunteer outlet, there are plenty of nonprofits and charities that need volunteers around Austin, and maybe you can “be the change you want to see in the world”. -Mahatma Gandhi.
Set a short term goal and a long term goal. Your short term goal should be something attainable that you will accomplish within the next few weeks to a month. For example, you can finally go to that class that you’ve been wanting to go to of or try that new restaurant you’ve wanted to try (and maybe you even go alone…). Your long term goal should be something more challenging. You can set a career goal to get that next promotion or book a trip to the destination you’ve been dreaming of. Whatever goals you set for yourself, write them down, create a timeline, and hold yourself accountable. Whenever you’re setting goals, especially long term, it is crucial that you find a way to stay on track and be successful in achieving them. If you are not a self-starter, find someone to be your accountability partner who will check in on your progress. Achieving your goals will show you that you can do anything you set your mind to and will also serve as yet another confidence booster. Don’t forget for those long term goals: it takes 21 days to build a habit, so don’t give up or allow yourself to get discouraged!
However you decide to spend your 11%, make sure that you are spending it wisely by doing things that have a positive, upward trajectory on your life and well-being. You will be exceptionally grateful for this time you devoted to yourself and you will be a stronger, better person for it.
“Make yourself a priority once in a while. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary.”