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How to be single

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

The title of this post is very deliberate, I was going to title it “how to conquer singleness” or “master your season of singleness”, but I don’t think those words ring true. I don’t think you ever truly “conquer” singleness, nor do I think every season of life has to have an end goal of being “mastered”. I think seasons of life are for us to live through, to be in. However, how we choose to live through or be in seasons can be approached in different ways and the ways we approach them often determine how we grow more into more of who God has made us to be.

In my twenties I got very used to the typical cycle of dating, maybe that progresses to a relationship, but when it ends, always getting back to singleness. I used to dread trying to find my way back to the “single me”. Single me has to work a lot harder to keep myself in community, schedule plans on a Friday night and hates not having that someone special to lean on in life.

However, the last break up I went through put me in a new mindset. The end of the relationship put me in a place where I had no peace in life. I was trying to make something work and hold onto someone that honestly was contributing more pain, confusion and anxiety than anything good in my life. That was the turning point for me, when I realized I could have a more stable, secure, peaceful and honestly joyful life being single than I could in that relationship. I wanted to seek peace and joy in my single life and become skilled in creating and maintaining it, so I could also seek relationships that added to, not subtracted from my life.

The peace, stability and security didn’t come back overnight after the break up. In fact it’s taken the last few years to fully arrive at this latest stage of feeling so fulfilled being single (most of the time, haha). You can que the eye roll at that last statement, but I do know it to be possible and here’s some things I’ve been learning along the journey:

1. Learn your way around loneliness

For me, the hardest part of being single is being lonely. There’s no way around it. No matter how much you learn and grow, how many friends you have around you, at the end of the day being on your own can be lonely. I used to fight this feeling so much, I was so scared of it- scared of a Friday night with no plans or no plus one to bring to that friends’ wedding.

In her book, Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about confronting loneliness after her divorce, “When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience.” Reading that was the exact shift in perspective I needed. I have learned to accept and be okay with loneliness. I have learned my way around it and how to respond to it. When it hits, I don’t let it take over my life and mindset like it used to. I accept it, I validate it, I feel it and then I do my best to move forward with my day. Being lonely might be hard, but it’s not the end of the world. I’d rather be lonely on my own than be in a relationship that makes me feel lonely in the presence of another person.

2. Find your people

Deciding to date someone usually comes with knowing that they will get the majority of your life and I don’t think that’s a bad thing, especially as we look towards marriage and finding someone to build a life with. However, that being said, there’s no better time to find and invest in your friends than in singleness. My best friend, Ari and I, found each other on the other side of some rough break ups. We always reflect on the fact that one of the main reasons we became such great friends was because we were both single at the same time. It’s a “for life” friendship and we often joke we’d take each other and the friendship we've found over our exes any day.

3. Invest in self awareness

I’m going to be blunt with this one. All 20’s somethings need to invest some time into becoming self aware and I only say that after facing myself these past few years. Use this time to figure yourself out- what parts of your past have left you a bit damaged, the negative habits you have formed or picked up along the way. Be brutally honest as you examine yourself and then get to the good part- heal from it, grow from it. I invested in going to therapy for the first time in my life and I cannot recommend it highly enough. None of us make it through life unscathed and there’s no better time to uncover some of the harder parts of yourself and grow up a bit than when you’re single.

4. Learn how you want to spend your time

This has been a big one for me. All those times you find yourself with an empty calendar challenge yourself to do something anyway, even if it’s on your own. Take yourself to a movie, to dinner, to a bookstore, for a road trip, the possibilities are endless when it’s just up to you. Also, learn how to be okay with just staying home and enjoying a night in with yourself. Cook new recipes, figure out how to spend time with the Lord, learn how to do your laundry the adult way, clean out your closet, pick out a new tv show or find a hobby. Part of singleness is not only learning how to be by yourself in public, but also in private. You can fool yourself thinking you’re content being single when you’re out and about doing stuff everyday, but at the end of the day when you come home to just you, you want to be able to embrace that as well.

5. Find peace

We spend the first 20ish years of our lives with our parents, siblings and in school. God-willing, sometimes around our 30's (if we desire) we will spend the next 50ish years with a constant companion and a family to take care of. That only leaves us with a few years to really be on our own. Sometimes it’s hard enough for me to take care of me and my life needs, I can’t imagine doing that with a partner and little ones to look after. While I’m hopeful and excited for those days in my life, I have found such peace right here and right now knowing it’s only me to look after. It’s only me to care for, build a schedule around, make life decisions for and right now I’m so thankful for that. God has taught me a lot about myself, what He’s doing in my life, and where I might want to go one day through this time, and to me, that’s invaluable.

So, simply put, I kinda love being single. I think where that leaves me is knowing it’s going to take the right man to come into my life and make me not want to be single. I have built something super special in the last few years and while I know I’ll be so ready for someone to mess that up a bit, I’m not going to take one moment for granted wishing for that day to come sooner. I have found a full life to live right here and I don’t plan on wasting one moment of it.

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