By: Jenn Clark
The warmer months can be especially tough when you’re single. It seems like everyone you know is getting married, taking a fabulous vacation with their partner, or spending Saturdays sipping a cocktail with their beloved on an outdoor patio. At best you’re inundated with advertisements of couples and families frolicking on the beach and at worst you’re asked to be a bridesmaid (yet again!) in a girlfriend’s upcoming wedding. (Yes, that girlfriend who you were certain would be single longer than you!) And if all of this isn’t horrific enough, your Facebook news feed serves as a daily slideshow of the digital imagery of all of your happily coupled friends. It’s enough to make a single gal’s mascara run down her cheeks and into her pomegranate martini.
Or is it?
All too often, women equate being single with being lonely. We believe that in the relationship status hierarchy, “single” is pretty far down on the list. Surely it’s better to be “in a relationship” and on your way to winning the coveted gold ring known as “marriage,” right? Let’s face it, even being “divorced” has a bit more cache than being “single.” With “divorced,” you’ve loved and lost for sure, but for some reason “single” conjures up images of a woman with too many cats who spends her days sitting at a bus stop while wearing a shower cap. However, the reality is these stereotypes are far from the truth.
Like most things in life, your attitude about a situation will determine how well you handle it and what you gain and give from it. When we view being single as an opportunity instead of a hindrance, something magical happens – we learn to enjoy that time. We stop focusing on the fact that we are “alone” and instead work on creating a spectacular life for ourselves. When do we have the most time to cultivate our friendships, focus on career advancement, or simply lounge in a bubble bath for as long as we’d like? That’s right, when we are single. Being single should be viewed as a time to be treasured rather than a time to be miserable.
In my book, “How to Be a Goddess,” I share the story of a conversation I had with a married acquaintance. I was recently divorced and feeling a bit sorry for myself that I was now an unmarried woman in her late-30s.
“I’m jealous,” this woman said to me as I recounted tales of my dating disasters to the table of ladies I was dining with that evening.
“Why?” I asked, completely blown away that my horror stories would inspire jealousy.
“When you’re married, you pretty much know what every day is going to look like. But being single is exciting. Every day is a new adventure and a new possibility.”
She was exactly right. As a result of that one conversation, I completely changed my attitude about being single. I began to look at it as a blessing rather than a curse. It was a time of self-exploration and self-discovery. I could do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. Instead of feeling held hostage by my single status, I embraced the freedom that came with it.
Most women are not immune to feeling the pressure of being single. There’s always a family member who wants to see us meet and settle down with a “nice guy” while we’re still young enough to carry on the family lineage. There are the well-meaning girlfriends who sing the praises of marriage and childbirth as if they’ve joined a cult where its members are issued a sensible SUV, a pair of yoga pants, and an overstuffed diaper bag upon initiation. (Maybe that explains the unkempt hair and glazed over expression so many of them seem to have?) And who among us hasn’t had to endure the concerned look of a co-worker as they ask the dreaded “How is it you are still single?” question.
One of the big problems with succumbing to these external judgements and subsequently feeling like a societal leper is that we might miss out on all the opportunities that single-hood can bring. Using your time to make some amazing new, single girlfriends will not only alleviate any loneliness you might feel, it will also expand your social network. Finding a new hobby you enjoy, volunteering for your favorite charity, or fulfilling your dream of learning French are just a few of the things that could help to create a more satisfied and well-rounded you. So what is it you want to do right now? Whatever it is – be it taking a course in wine tasting or going back to school for your M.B.A. – begin to take the steps to accomplish it. Being single shouldn’t stop you from living life; it should inspire you to create the life you’ve always wanted to live.
Using your single time to learn about and develop yourself is one of the most rewarding things a woman can do. And guess what? Having an active and vibrant life is attractive to others and is imperative to maintaining a healthy relationship in the future. So even though you might be feeling like the last single girl in the world right now, your relationship status could change at any time.
Being satisfied with your life – as an individual – will make both you and your future love life that much more amazing.
She is the author of the book “How to Be a Goddess (A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Woman Men Dream About…),” which is based on an article she wrote that went viral and has been viewed nearly half a million times. She is also a monthly columnist for AVID Magazine, a featured writer for a variety of websites, and a frequent radio guest. You can find both her and her blog at www.facebook.com/jennx30somethingandsingle and on the YouTube channel “Jenn X: 30Something & Single.”
Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos