I found myself at a funeral a few months ago when a relative made a comment that made me realize how single I am in my family. Holding my cousin’s baby, everyone turned their heads to witness the spectacle. It was a moment of amusement amidst the sadness of the day. But that wasn’t the first time I had encountered such comments. In fact, I have been single for 10 years now, and it has been a valuable time of self-discovery and growth.
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Some people are uncomfortable with single-by-choice women
One of the first lessons I learned during this decade of singleness is that some people are simply uncomfortable with the idea of a woman choosing to be single. I have endured countless comments and attempts to explain my status by friends and family. But why should I have to explain myself? When was the last time you heard a couple justifying why they are not single? I have become skilled at deflecting these inane questions with witty comebacks. The only opinion that matters to me is my own, and I am perfectly content being single.
There is no ‘if’ and ‘when’
Throughout my teens and twenties, I believed that I needed to be thin in order to be desirable and find love. I bought into the patriarchal idea that my self-worth was tied to my appearance. But I have since realized that loving myself is the most important relationship I will ever have. It’s not about changing my body, but changing my mindset. Society may not always love me for who I am, but I have learned to love myself in a world that doesn’t always return the favor.
Alone time is a precious commodity
As a writer, I have struggled to find uninterrupted alone time to pursue my passion. There is often a societal expectation for women to prioritize their time for others rather than themselves. But I have learned that in order to create, I need large chunks of uninterrupted alone time. It may come at the cost of broken friendships and canceled dates, but it is essential for my creativity to thrive. I have prioritized writing above all else, and while it may be a challenge to balance relationships with my writing career, it is a challenge worth embracing.
Some people mean more to you than you do to them
Through heartbreak and disappointment, I have learned that sometimes you feel things more deeply than others do. It’s important not to take it personally when someone doesn’t reciprocate your feelings. I once loved someone who didn’t feel the same way about me, and it was a painful realization. But it taught me that I am deserving of someone who cherishes me as much as I cherish them. Feelings can be one-sided, and that’s okay. It’s all part of the journey.
When to dump him
Over the years, I have encountered toxic relationships and situations that I should have walked away from much sooner. I have learned the importance of setting boundaries and knowing when to say enough is enough. These experiences have taught me what I will and will not tolerate in a relationship. Dating has taught me valuable lessons and made me stronger, equipping me with the knowledge to recognize red flags and end unhealthy situations.
Lessons for a lifetime
This decade of being single has taught me to be kinder to myself. It has taught me to silence my inner critic, value myself for who I am, and embrace the preciousness of alone time. These are lessons that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
So, the next time someone asks me why I’m still single, I’ll just smile and say, “Because being single is the best thing for me right now.” After all, it’s my choice, and I couldn’t be happier.
This article was first published in 2019 and republished in 2023. For more insightful content, visit 5 WS.