Being single in my twenties sucked. Friends were getting married and having kids left and right, and there I was, still on my own. But something changed when I reached the big 3-0. It was almost as if a light bulb went off and I learned some things about myself that would lead to my best decade yet.
I can take care of myself. I didn’t make much money out of college. It was so bad that I had to move back home with my parents, so for years it felt like I would never be able to live independently. Everything changed when I reached my thirties. I had an established career with years of experience and my salary increased because of it. I began to realize that I could live on my own without having to sacrifice my needs or the things I wanted. For some strange reason, I always thought I’d need a husband to fulfill those goals. In reality, I’m doing it all myself and it feels great.
I like living alone. The thought of living alone never seemed appealing to me in my twenties. I honestly used to think I’d leave my parents’ house and move into my forever home with my future husband. That never happened. Eventually, I had to move out so I bought a house and discovered newfound independence. I love coming home from a long day of work and not having to speak to anyone. I play my music as loud as I can and I clean up whenever I feel the need (which is not very often). Thankfully, it’s OK because I’m the only one who has to live there.
I love myself now more than ever. There’s something about turning 30 that gives you the confidence you never even knew existed. I literally fell in love with myself. I stopped caring what other people thought of me and started focusing only on the things that made me happy. It’s not that I didn’t have these positive thoughts before, but my self-awareness and confidence reached a new level.
I no longer delay pursuing my goals and dreams. In my twenties, I’d often put off things like traveling because I always thought I’d need a significant other in tow. Or, I’d be hesitant to take on a new position at work because I’d be thinking about my future family and how that would affect them. This is no longer a practice of mine. If a great opportunity presents itself for me to head overseas, I’ll do it in a heartbeat. I feel the same way about a new, exciting job offer. We only have one life to live.
I learned to stop settling. I was so desperate for “love” in my twenties that I’d date just about anyone. I can’t count the number of times I’d lower my standards just so I wouldn’t be alone. As a result, I spent more time in relationships during that decade than I do now. But they weren’t good relationships. I’m more content these days with being by myself than settling for something less than I deserve.
I stopped comparing myself to others. This was tough to avoid at a younger age. When you’re always a bridesmaid and never a bride, you begin to wonder what’s wrong with you. But I now know that everyone’s path is different and I’m OK with that. Besides, the grass is hardly ever greener on the other side.
I learned how to de-clutter my life. I purged all of my toxic relationships, some of which I’d been hanging on to since my adolescent years. If my friends didn’t make me better, they got left behind. When you grow to know better, you do better.
I began experiencing the complete joy that comes from spending a Friday night at home. Friday nights used to be “date nights” in my book, and if I didn’t have one, that would ruin my entire weekend. Nowadays, I’m almost reluctant to make any plans on Fridays. This is the day I set aside to focus on me. It may be a trip to the spa or a binge-watching session on the couch—whatever I choose, it’s all about me.
I don’t waste too much time on negative thoughts. Yes, I have my “woe is me” days when I think about where I would have liked to be at this point in my life, but I don’t dwell on those thoughts for too long. I have so many good things going for me and they definitely outweigh the bad. I’m financially stable. I have my health. I have a great group of family and friends. So what if I’m not married yet? My life is still great!
My thirties have been the best decade so far. I’m comfortable in my own skin. I can stand on my own two feet. I can afford nice things. I can travel at will. And just in case it doesn’t get any better than this, I plan to do everything I can to ensure I’m living my best life right now.
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