No offense intended for those that haven chosen relationships and family above all else. It’s just not my style and it doesn’t have to be yours either.
In the generations before ours, little girls were raised to believe marriage and having babies was the ultimate goal. They would dream about their perfect wedding, a commitment to the perfect man and the perfect family.
A happy housewife, if you will.
That was what they looked forward to, and it was okay.
That kind of dream will always be perfect for those women who want and accept it.
Now, that reality has shifted as years passed and women grew more independent. Dreams of marriage morphed into dreams of travel and careers that change the world. Having children has switched to having an impact, and that is more than okay.
For some, including myself, the realization that women can do literally anything came later in life, when the bonds of generations before started to break. I was in my late thirties before I understood that I was free to be whoever I wanted to be; wife, mother, or none of the above.
Sometimes that realization still seems a bit hard to remember, but it’s no less true. Us women can literally do and be any fucking thing we want!
So, what the hell are we supposed to do, or be, if we aren’t in a relationship or making a family? What the hell will make us happy and leave us feeling satisfied? What goals do we strive for if it doesn’t include marriage, a baby and a white picket fence?
There are five things I believe are worth a single woman’s time and energy. Five things that will fill the relationship void still tugging at me from time to time. Five things that will enrich our lives possibly more than a relationship ever could.
- Mental Health
There are so many emotions that go along with being single. Some are good, like freedom and peacefulness, but others can be hard to handle. Loneliness. Depression and anxiety. The unnerving feeling of being totally lost and terrified of a future alone and forgotten.
I’ve been there more times than I like to admit.
For years, I beat myself up for being single. What the hell is wrong with me? Why does no one want to love me? Will I die alone and miserable?
That negative thought pattern can quickly become paralyzing if you give in and let it fester. It took a life altering virus for me to understand the detriment of harmful thinking and lack of movement.
As women, we must focus on our health, both mental and physical, every single day. We go through a lot of shit constantly and because of that we need to take absolute care of ourselves above anything else.
Properly feed your body and your brain. Exercise in whatever way makes you feel good. Drink plenty of water and educate yourself on proper self care.
Your body will come alive and your mood will lift. They go hand in hand for most. Then savor the chemical high you are rewarded with for all your hard work.
Being healthy is so important. You can’t do much in life if you don’t have physical and mental stability. Push yourself off the couch. Cook a healthy meal. Brush past your worry and move your body. Focus on being healthy in every way you can and you will find your happiness.
As tiny women, we begin to learn about friendship. We develop connections with other tiny women and men that bring us joy and excitement. Friendship as a child, and even as a young adult, is quite different than friendship as a grown-up, but they all provide the same kind of fulfillment.
Friendship is everything and then some.
Admittedly, I have had my fair share of questionable girlfriends, and even years where I spend the majority of my time friendless, but as I said before, I learned this lesson a little late. If I could smash the rewind button and go back to my early twenties I would in a heartbeat, if only to nurture those couple of true friendships I was lucky enough to find.
Friends build you up. Friends hold you when you are down. Friends laugh when you laugh and cry when you cry. The right friendship will guide you through your life, reminding you constantly that you are not alone.
You don’t need a relationship to see the world. You can go anywhere you want to go with a solid friend. You don’t need a relationship to feel love. I have found the deepest love in the small handful of friends I’ve carried through my life.
Find your people. Feed your friendships, both female and male, with kindness and compassion. The reward will be a connection that is incomparable and unbreakable. Friendship will reward you with a lifetime of laughs and joy and companionship.
It is true, you can’t pick your family, but you can choose to embrace them and feed into those blood relationships every single day.
This suggestion is not for those who were raised in dangerous, toxic families. If you are one of those people with relatives who suck the life out of you, I personally would ignore this and move on to the next suggestion. Toxic family members have no space in your life, but I digress.
I once picked up and moved across the country from my family. While it was an excellent decision for many reasons, it put a strain on my relationship with my family.
I became the daughter always missing from holiday pictures, birthday parties, and cookouts. I became the aunt my nephews and nieces only knew by name. The sister my siblings watched live my life on social media instead of in person.
Moving away from my family made me miss out on a lot, and realize exactly what I was giving up in doing so.
Family is your literal blood. You have these people who share the same history, the same DNA. They share the same past and if you’re lucky, the same future. Family has your back. They are shoulders to lean on that will support you and celebrate with you whatever life throws your way.
Family is forever part of you, no matter what.
Get your lazy ass off the couch and cultivate the connections you have with the people who share your name. It is one of the most important relationships in your life, if not the most important one.
Family will hold your hand, and your heart, through your entire life and beyond. There is no stronger bond. There is no simpler way to find happiness and contentment.
Not being in a relationship means you have a lot of time on your hands. There are sometimes too many hours in the day when you are alone with nothing but your thoughts.
It can be difficult being single and lonely. I understand that more than most because for the majority of my life thus far, I have been uncommitted.
Nights were always the hardest for me. Darkness came and so did all of my negative thoughts. My loneliness would rear its ugly head, sometimes burying me in a pit of despair.
I had no method of distraction. No way to find comfort and joy besides zoning out at the television. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties that I realized I needed something to pass the time. Something that was not work. Something I was happy doing, even if I was alone when I did it.
We all need a hobby. Everyone can find something, or a handful of somethings, that will enrich us and fill our downtimes with excitement. With purpose.
Read a book. Make a blog. Do jigsaw puzzles or take a hike in the woods. Make some sort of art just for fun. Dance. Take a day trip. Learn to cook. Learn to knit. Learn to meditate.
Just do something!
If you don’t have a relationship to focus on, it can be easy to lose purpose and motivation. We all struggle with being alone and anxious about the future. There is no fault in that at all.
Shift your focus. Do something that brings you joy in the moment. It’s worth your time, your energy and even a little bit of your money.
We all need a purpose. Beyond friends and family, we need something that drives us forward. We need something to invest energy in that provides a reward.
Everyone needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
It is easy to become stagnant with no relationship or kids demanding your presence and attention. It is easy to never find your true passion and simply drift through the days. Suddenly years have passed and you have no idea what you want to do with your life. You have no idea who you want to be or what you love to do.
Being single makes it easy to find your path. There are no distractions or excuses keeping you from investing your time into educating yourself or simply finding your career.
Not too long ago, women with jobs outside the home were frowned upon. Because someone had breasts and a vagina, they were automatically deemed a wife and mother. There was nothing else and if you dreamt of more you were an outcast.
For some women, that is enough. I admire those who marry and give birth to future generations because that is what they knew they were meant to do.
That reality was simply not for me, but I was not at all prepared for that freedom.
What the hell do you do when you can do anything?!
I was daunted by the ability to do or be anything I wanted to do or be. The freedom was almost paralyzing, and for years I was never able to focus on finding a career that truly suited me.
Learn from my mistakes! Do something. Sign up for a class. Try something new then try something else. Go to college or trade school. Read books and educate yourself on all the possibilities out there. Find your career then ten years later find a different one.
You don’t need to be in a relationship or a family to have a purpose as a woman on this earth. There are so many other things in life you can invest in. Work hard and find your own way. Embrace the things, places and people you love and life will be all the more worth living.
Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?