I’m happily married to the man of my dreams, but for a while there, I was spending a lot of time reminiscing about my single days. I eventually realized it had nothing to do with dating other people and everything to do with the fact that I’d stopped doing the things that make me happy. Here are a few things I recently got back into and that make me a much more fulfilled person and partner.
- Seeing live music by myself When I was single, I used to go to shows by myself all the time. I loved the feeling of dancing by myself, getting lost in a crowd and not worrying about keeping track of anyone. Going to a concert with my husband (or my friends) is one of my favorite things to do and we have a lot of similar tastes, but just because I love doing it doesn’t mean I should stop seeing music alone too. It’s a completely different experience and I missed that freeing feeling. I always come back feeling rejuvenated.
- Eating alone There were times during my single days when I wanted to go out to eat but didn’t really feel like meeting up with anyone, so I’d go it alone. I enjoyed the solo time to simply treat myself or observe the interactions going on around me. It felt fancy to be at a restaurant alone. I felt interesting when I’d tell the host that I wanted a table for one. It was something that was a little challenging to do at first, but I always felt like it brought me more confidence. Yes, I’m alone. Yes, it’s intentional. Yes, I like it. Awesome, right?
- Meeting strangers My husband would tell you I meet people everywhere I go, so I can’t say I completely stopped chatting up people I don’t know. However, I did stop actually developing real connections with strangers. I’m not talking about people from work or new friendships that develop from acquaintances over time. In my single days, I might meet someone at a bookstore and end up taking a painting class with him or her that night. For some reason, when I got into a relationship, I adopted the mentality that a new friendship with a stranger wasn’t acceptable. New friend hangout doesn’t mean date, and closing myself off to new friendships was holding me back from making authentic connections with people.
- Buying frivolous things that make me happy When my husband and I started sharing our finances (years before ever getting married), I started feeling guilty whenever I’d spend money on something I didn’t really need (like a gorgeous vegan leather jacket that I still think about). Retail therapy is real! I’m not looking to blow all of our money on shoes or anything, but a little splurge on a vintage dress to treat myself every once in a while is definitely fine and makes me feel beautiful. My husband and I have never had any issues with responsibly spending our money so I don’t know why I stopped treating our money as mine too.
- Paying attention to our bills When I was single, I knew every dime that went in and out of my bank account, loved watching my savings increase, and hunted down any payment that seemed fishy. My husband works in finance and took responsibility for managing our cash flow, but that doesn’t mean I should stop paying attention. It was frustrating for him (and me) that I didn’t really know what was going on with our finances or savings because I knew it was being taken care of. That’s pretty crappy of me and pretty irresponsible, which is something I’m not. It’s typical in a relationship that one person might manage most of the finances, but the financial plan should really be a team effort as it’s directly related to your goals and ambitions for your future.
- Going with my gut Again, I’m not irresponsible, but I’ve been known to take risks. If I had a job I didn’t like to the point where I couldn’t stand it, I’d quit and trust myself to figure it out. I always figured it out. When my relationship got serious, unless it was an adventure we were taking together, I kind of stuck to what was safe in my life even if I wasn’t sure it was best. But that’s not who I am or who my husband fell in love with. I’m lucky to have such a supportive partner because when I made the decision to start my own business, I realized the only thing that was holding me back was my own perceived guilt about risk-taking. Always taking the safe route was stopping me from achieving things I had always dreamed of. That’s dumb.
- Making plans with me Usually, when getting into a relationship, you want to spend all of your time with that person. Eventually, you make more time for your friends and start being a normal person living in the world outside your bedroom, but for some reason I never made enough time for myself again once the honeymoon period ended. Sure, if my husband was out of town or unavailable, I’d work on my hobbies, but the time I spent doing things that only I enjoyed was minimal and simply not enough. That’s my own fault. Now, I carve out time every day to do the things that I love, and I feel much more fulfilled because of it.