Sometimes I Worry I’m Wasting My “Pretty Years” Being Single

I’ve been single for about three years now and while I’m happy with myself and my life, sometimes my lack of relationship makes me feel really insecure. I work on bettering myself all the time. I get up early, workout every day, read a lot and I’m starting my own business. Even so, I worry I’m wasting my “pretty years” being single.

  1. If I do life right, all my years will be “pretty.” First of all, the idea that women have only a few good years is downright ridiculous and I know that deep down. I can feel good, look good, and have an amazing life at any age; it’s wrong to live with the idea that my 20s and early 30s are the best years. Yeah, my bum is probably at its tightest now, but if I work on being better every day, all of my years be good.
  2. Being single is the best way to get to know myself. My younger years are actually the best time to be single. How would I figure out who I really am if I’m always with a partner? It’s easy to disappear into someone else’s shadow. I’m scared of changing just so a boyfriend would like me. I have to take the time to know myself entirely now so that I can be the best possible partner later. Being single is the clear solution — I just need to remember that more often.
  3. I know I won’t end up alone. Sometimes I forget that being single now doesn’t mean that I’ll be single forever. If I live to about 80, being in my 20s now means that I have literally 60 years to fall in love and find my happily ever after. It’s inevitable that I’ll find someone to cozy up to eventually. In fact, I bet that even if I tried to stay single my entire life, it would be impossible.
  4. I refuse to let my relationship (or lack thereof) define me. No matter how much I love a guy, I’ll always love myself more. The relationship I’m building with myself is the longest, most important one I’ll ever form. If I take good care of it, I’ll be able to build healthy relationships with others, too. If I can’t love myself, how should I expect others to love me? Instead of worrying that I’m wasting my “pretty years” being single, I should worry about letting a relationship dictate whether I’m worth something.
  5. Rolling solo has actually allowed me to make the most out of my “pretty years.” I’m happy to say that my “pretty years” are being spent on travel. I’ve been traveling for the past eight years and lived on two continents. I’ve been from Boston to Bali to Barcelona without having to cry over long distance relationships. Travel is an invaluable investment I’ve made in myself and I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much had I not been single.
  6. It’s better than being in a toxic relationship. The only thing worse than wasting my “pretty years” being single is wasting that time with someone who’s clearly not right for me. Ending up in an unhealthy relationship is super common and that scares me much more than being alone. I don’t want to commit to someone now just for the hell of it, only to realize that it’s been a huge mistake when I’m 50.
  7. Being single allows for plenty of trial and error dating. Finding out early on what works and what doesn’t is super important. I now know that I shouldn’t date guys only based on looks, but that was all I did in my early 20s. I also learned that I like ambitious guys and don’t care for one-night stands. Being single in my “pretty years” has allowed me to make mistakes and figure things out without pressure, and it’s really freeing. If I dated someone now just to make sure my “good years” aren’t going to waste, we’d break up eventually and that would kill me. Being in a great relationship will make my years “pretty” at any age, so I have to be careful with my selection.
  8. I’m not letting society dictate my life’s timeline. Who’s to say that the being in a relationship is the way to go, anyway? That’s strictly personal. I shouldn’t let society dictate when I should be single and when to date someone. I like to be young and free of serious commitments. I like to be able to pack up and go wherever I want to without worrying whether my boyfriend would follow or leave me. If others prefer to spend their “pretty years” with an S.O., that’s cool. It’s just not for me. I shouldn’t let anyone else tell me how to live my life.
  9. My “pretty years” have been my most shallow. I spent my early 20s hopping around from one partner to another. I didn’t care for a guy’s personality when I was younger as long as he had a toned body and blonde hair. That was a bust. With age, I learned to appreciate guys as a whole package. Personality matters big time. If I spend all my good years with someone attractive but no personality, I’m ruining my chances for long-term happiness.
  10. It’s not being single that will ruin my “pretty years” — it’s all the worrying. I tend to forget that life is meant to be enjoyed. Worrying doesn’t help. If anything, it kills the vibe. I have to remind myself every day to take it day by day and stop worrying about what I should or should not be doing. Life starts when I stop giving a damn. I’ve taken up meditation to help me live in the moment and stop feeling the pressure of my “pretty years.”
Dayana is a passionate traveler who's been navigating foreign lands and confusing relationships since she was 16. You can read more of her work on Matador Network and her blog, Dee Across The Sea.