I wouldn’t admit to this unless I was comfortable with it, but I’ve been single by choice for the last 10 years of my life and have learned that being single in your 20s really isn’t so bad. I don’t hate men and I do hope to have a relationship sometime soon, or later in my life, but I needed some time to get to know myself before I asked someone else to get to know me too. I grew up insecure, and unable to feel confident unless I had a boyfriend. At age 18, I lost a boyfriend due to a bad breakup, and after that, decided to take a step back and evaluate some things. What I learned was that being single in your 20s can have its ups and its downs, but overall, it really isn’t so bad. Now, I don’t have any advice for those of you in your 30s and I’m hoping I won’t be writing this article 10 again years later!
1. You Can Get to Know Yourself
As I said, one of the best things about being single in your 20s is you can get to know yourself. Sure, you know your name, height, age and what town you grew up in. That's not truly getting to know yourself though. Learning who you are is learning what you love to enjoy without the influence of anyone else, what your beliefs are outside of anyone else’s opinion, and learning what you want to do with your life, outside of anyone else’s persuasion or effect on that. I don’t think I’d ever spent true alone time before my early 20s where I enjoyed just doing things alone. I couldn’t even go to the store before that without having someone with me. Not even your friends can tell you who you really are. Being single in your 20s allows you to discover who you really are as a person and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
2. It Gives You Freedom
Ah! Freedom, isn’t that what most single people seem to enjoy the most? It’s true; being single in your 20s can give you more freedom, but not just to date whoever you want. Freedom to travel, to move if you want, to pick any job in any city, to do things at 10 p.m. at night if you want to, to go to any college, to pursue any degree, to go on whatever vacation you want. Anything you choose, you can do on your own schedule, without the needs of considering what someone else wants you to do, or making plans with someone else.
3. It Amplifies Your Career Success
Let’s be honest. Most people in their 20s are either career driven, or husband-driven! Most women either want to settle down, or achieve a lucrative career or ambition. If you’re one of the latter, I’m not saying that being in a relationship will keep you from this, but I am implying that most women tend to be either or, and not both ends of the spectrum. I, myself, always felt it was important for my career to be what I truly loved and discovering that was important to me because I would be doing it the rest of my life. I figured once I had that taken care of, then I could give someone else the emotional energy I needed, to settle down. That may or may not happen, but either way, I feel good about making the choices I did.
4. It Can Give You Confidence
Being single in your 20s can be the best way to gain more confidence. Not always, but many times. Being single in your 20s allows you to develop your skills, talents, ambitions, and learn to do things independently. It also allows you to be comfortable with you and the many life changes that occur in your 20s. I believe healthy relationships can bring confidence, but I also think that being single can too. Find what makes you passionate, driven, and happy. Take the time to truly be your best self, just the way you are. This gives you the greatest confidence, more so than any guy can.
5. It Keeps Your Options Open
You’re going to change a good bit in your 20s, and so will your tastes in men, your values in men, and what you want in a husband. If you’re single in your 20s, take the time to consider all of your options and keep your mind open about what you want for your future. You’ll never find the perfect guy, but you will find the perfect one for you after consideration, time and thought into what options are available, and what you want in life. Don’t date men just to pass the time. Really consider what you’re looking for and consider options from all angles.
6. It Can Raise Your Body Confidence
Many women base their self esteem off of what a man thinks, or change their bodies to please their guy. Being single in your 20s is a great way to give yourself some time to raise your body confidence. You're gorgeous just the way you are, doll, and no guy should influence how you feel about yourself! You should be happy in YOUR body and it should be healthy to serve you. Achieve the best body you can for you. That means nourishing it, sustaining it, and keeping it active so it can keep you happy. This will raise your self esteem, keep you healthy, improve your body image and give you freedom to find your best body, outside of what a man thinks.
7. It Helps You Learn Patience
If you’re looking for a relationship and you don’t have one, no worries! If nothing else, learning to live without a guy in your 20s will teach you patience. Don’t rush your life away! I once thought I was miserable without a boyfriend, until I decided to take the time as a gift. I didn’t know it would be a 10 year gift, but it truly was by choice that I stayed single so long, even though the initial entry to single life wasn’t my own. I’ve learned to wait on things for the right timing, and learned to pay attention to my values, wants, needs and goals for the moment, without rushing into hasty decisions that may not be best for me or my future.
A lot that I've talked about here all boils down to one thing: independence. When you take your time and don't immediately rush into not just a relationship but also into caring about someone else over yourself, you learn that you can do anything by yourself. You can take care of yourself, you can pay your bills yourself and you don't need anyone else.
9. Never Have to Think of Someone else
When you are in a relationship, you probably tend to put the person that you are with ahead of yourself; when you choose to not be in a relationship until you are older, you have the freedom to be selfish. After you have your time, you can slip into a relationship so easily and not feel smothered.
Remember, you only get one set of 20s. If you’re single and unhappy, reconsider why you’re unhappy. Take the time to discover yourself, and enjoy your life! If you’re with someone and not happy, consider how leaving that person would change that, and what you’d like to do apart from them. If you’re with someone and happy, then great! I’m so glad you’ve found the right person to spend your 20s with that enhances your life, not constrains it! If you’re single, what are your favorite benefits of being single in your 20s?
This article was written in collaboration with editor Heather Jensen.