All ’90s sitcoms worked the same way: a 30-something woman sits in a studio apartment on the kitchen floor eating ice cream straight from the tub. She’s clearly just been broken up with and has declared that she’s swearing off men forever. It’s eyeroll-worthy in hindsight, especially since she usually ended up finding a guy not long into the series. However, I actually am staying single forever quite happily. Here’s all the stuff I get to do since I’m focusing on dating me that might appeal to you too.
- Catch up on hobbies and TV Use being single as a reason to get to know yourself better. Find out what makes you tick and what brings you joy. You might find that crochet takes your fancy or scrapbooking. Maybe even hiking or dirk-biking – who knows? It’s great to embark on new pastimes solely for yourself rather than because you think it might be a great place to meet a guy. Take time in your day to learn a new skill or try something truly rogue. Find a YouTube video and have someone break it down for you. Learn a language, get a type-writer, stop to smell the roses! Your options really are endless!
- Work on your art I know some artists say that they can only write when they’re sad or in a relationship, but I think that’s useless. Just because I might be used to feeling a bigger range of emotions when I’m in the throngs of a “will they or won’t they?” situationship, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t got heaps of creative energy without all that. Take this time to listen to your smaller thoughts and put pen to paper. Maybe try watercolor or even find a relaxing coloring book to unwind to. Whatever it is that’s bugging you, get it off your chest with some good old-fashioned arts and crafts.
- Start a diary This makes the initial fallout after the breakup much easier to deal with. Tired of bottling up emotions or feeling like you have no one to talk to? Tell your diary! Write it down for posterity, then you can look back in a few weeks’ time and see how much things have changed. You’ll learn so much about yourself, your needs in a relationship, and how to let things go. Nothing is permanent, definitely not feelings, and this is a great way to keep on top of your mental hygiene. You’ll be surprised by how quickly the diary fills up with your thoughts and reflections from the day! You don’t need another person to prove that you felt or did something, you’re more than enough just as you are.
- Travel independently You can go somewhere with a friend for a weekend retreat or a girls’ night. That’s one thing. What I’m proposing is to close your eyes and pick somewhere on the map to just fly to (COVID-abiding, of course) for some enrichment. Don’t just go to the same vacation rental your parents always used or to somewhere you used to go with your partner. Identify a cool place or trip to take yourself on and just go! Don’t wait on anyone else’s timetable and don’t explain yourself or your desires. This is all about you!
- Keep things casual Now, I said I was going to stay single forever, but make no mistake – I didn’t say that I would be a celibate old woman. What’s fun about committing to being single is that you have a built-in reason to keep all hookups fun and casual, free from complications and expectations. One-night stands aren’t for everyone, sure, but we need to experience life without the pressure of having a plan or knowing where things are leading all the time. Sometimes we just have to go with the flow and see where the night takes us. When’s the last time we could really unwind? Just pick a time and place and paint the town red. There’s no better reason to stay single forever…
- Learn more I know I sound like a high school English teacher now, but hear me out. I don’t mean that you have to read Moby Dick every week, but maybe this is the time to start a new podcast? Or finally read a chapter of that cool photograph coffee table book you bought because it looked fun? You don’t have to make learning dull – just find something to learn about and exercise your brain. You can clear the fog and gain some much-needed clarity or just a simple distraction to watch a documentary and just slow down to find out about whales’ migratory mating herd patterns.
- Take a kickboxing class Okay, hear me out. This is liberating, trust me. You might think it’s not for you or that you haven’t got the build for it. That’s what everyone thinks at the start, but once you’re in a big room with people just like you, all happy to sweat together and listen to the manically energetic leader at the front, that’s a special connection. Nowhere else would this situation arise, but good lord does it get the heart pumping and endorphins soaring. Just being able to punch things with your whole body weight strengthens my core, arms, and my faith in myself. I feel stronger, more in control of my body. I can feel muscles I didn’t realize existed before! You don’t have to do this religiously either. When you’re stressed, knowing that you have an outlet is so important to get those feelings or anxieties out of you in a productive way.
- Go to a restaurant alone All the good romcoms talk about this, and for good reason. Just trust me. Even if you hate it, you can eat all the bread basket without judgment.
Just start listening to your own needs. Take time for yourself and find your own path.