By: Emily Bihm
Falling in love can be one of the best feelings in the world. Being dumped is one of the worst. I would know; I felt both in one day. When my boyfriend of a year and half broke up with me I had the sudden realization that ‘Wow, I actually love this guy’ as well as the reality ‘Dang, he just left me.’
It has been almost a year and half to the day since our relationship ended. The details of why and how are not important, but here I am 18 months later realizing he did me a favor. Not to say that he was not good for me, but that I needed to experience being single in my 20’s. I began dating him my senior year of college and went from being this eternally single, party girl to a serious relationship girl. We even moved in together after only 6 months of dating. Yikes! After D-Day (D for DUMP) I was upset, of course! But now, I am thankful. I am a different person than that girl I once knew less than two years ago. I am stronger, wiser, more confident and independent. I have realized the importance of taking time in your 20’s for yourself. I have the rest of my life to be in a relationship, but I only have NOW to live young and wild and free.
The lessons I learned are truly irreplaceable. Once I got over the pain of the initial separation, I began to see all the things I had been missing out on. This is why I believe you should spend the majority of your 20’s single.
Every girl in their 20’s should learn how to be alone. Being alone is not just about your relationship status, but figuring how who you are without anyone else around. Living by yourself helps you to learn how to balance your finances, take care of yourself, and maintain a household. Even though it is cheaper to live with a roommate, or significant other, the freedom of living alone is much more rewarding. It not only gives you satisfaction but proves that you are a strong, independent woman that can make it, no matter what.
Not only should you try living alone, but doing activities by yourself that you might not normally do. If you want to go see the newest romantic comedy, see it by yourself. The only one judging you in that dark theater is you. Have dinner alone or spend the day shopping without anyone else. By teaching yourself that you don’t need someone there constantly now, you’ll set yourself up for success later. If you get comfortable doing those things now, you can do them on your own later, even if you are coupled up. I know way to many girls who won’t go see a movie cause their boyfriends won’t go with them. What?! That’s crazy! You need to be your own person, with your own likes, hobbies and friends EVEN if you’re in a relationship. This time will teach you how to do that and not lose yourself for someone else.
Once you learn that you can do things by yourself, you will finally be able to stop waiting on people. It is not fair to wait on friends to make plans; if you want to do something just do it. Stop waiting on your boyfriend to commit to you. If he does not see the great thing he has then move on. Being in your 20’s is a time of discovery, so don’t waste your time waiting for the next best thing. Go out into the world and be the best.
This time of discovery will help you learn what is right for you; what kinds of friends you want to have, what you are really looking for in a partner, and who you want to be for the rest of your life. The most important discovery you will make in your 20’s is self-love. No person will be able to love you if you do not love yourself. Work on all your personal goals and be proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished on your own. Don’t let your self-worth be based on another person because that person won’t always be there…even if you’re married.
All of the lessons you learn by being single are bitter sweet. It is hard dealing with society’s expectations on what you should be doing in your twenties, but they are all wrong. It is crucial, though, to learn these skills now so that you can be a healthy young woman who loves herself and can function outside of her significant other. I actually thank my boyfriend for breaking up with me because now I’ve gone from the serious relationship girl to the independent, kick-ass woman I am today.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net
About the Author
Since graduating from college two years ago, Emily has been working as a waitress at a local breakfast restaurant. She enjoys writing and reading in her free time and hopes to have her own column in the future. She loves music, watching Netflix, spending time with friends and loved ones, and walking her dog Ollie.