Alice Curtis explores all the benefits and joys of being single in your twenties. Drawing on personal experience, she stresses that making this decision should not be seen as a 'failure.' None of us are defined by our relationship status, so whether you choose to be single or not, make sure it's the right decision for you and, don't judge others for theirs.
When I was 7, I made a life plan. I was going to meet my future husband by 23, marry him by 26, and have our first child at 28, all while holding a stable job. I am now 25, single and about to go back to university. If my 7 year old self could see me now, I think she would be disappointed. But the truth is, I could not be any happier with the way my life has turned out. Each time I hear of a new friend either moving in with their significant other or getting engaged, I am pleased for them - but I’m grateful that it’s not me.
Don’t get me wrong, at one point in my life I was ready for marriage. I was very much in love with my ex boyfriend and if he had proposed to me, I would have said yes. Unfortunately that isn’t how it worked out; although this was hard at first, I began to realise we were in very different places in our lives. After cutting all ties, I joined Tinder. I went out on lots of dates. I got drunk, I laughed a lot and I made very questionable choices. After being in a committed relationship, being able to let my hair down was liberating. However, I have since taken a step back from the dating world and I have decided I need to think about me for a while.
I always thought I would hate being single. I constantly needed attention and hated my own company. However, I have surprised myself and I am learning to be good at being alone. For the first time, I have learned to be selfish. If I want to go for a spontaneous weekend away, I can (money permitting). If I decide I want to leave my job and go travelling, I can (again, money permitting). Having been in a long distance relationship, I had become used to relying on phones to be able to function; while I don’t regret it, it meant that I spent my time not living in the moment. Since being single, I have been able to appreciate what I have in front of me. I don’t count down my days like I used to do, but take each one as it comes.
It’s cliched. People say that you can’t love another until you learn to love yourself, and it is true. I have finally been able to get to know myself. I have a routine: I wake up, go to the gym, work odd hours of the day and have some wine in the evening before I go to sleep. I can sit in bed all day and watch back to back series and not have to worry about anyone judging me. I can take up my whole bed and hog the covers. I rarely shave my legs now and it has been amazing. I don’t want to change that for someone else. I love that I can spend my own money and not think about needing to save it for another person. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to challenge myself - and I want to do it by myself. It is something I won’t be compromising on.
For me, my twenties are not at an age for jumping into a relationship for the sake of being in one. Until someone can give me something that I am not able to give myself, then I am not interested. So as my friends in their twenties continue to settle down, I will congratulate them sincerely knowing that when the time is right, that will be me. But until then, I have decided to do a PGCE and move to Australia to teach. I don’t think I would have figured that out if I was in a relationship and not being forced to think about myself. Maybe if my 7 year old self could see me now, she would be proud of that.