The Benefits of Being Single in Your Mid-Late Twenties

When I was a little girl, I (secretly) had my life planned out.

14-16 – First boyfriend

16 – First kiss (isn’t that what you’re supposed to do on your sweet 16?)

17 – graduate from high school

18-21 – meet and start dating my future husband

21 – graduate from undergrad school and get married a few months later

24/25 – we have our first kid, I voluntarily quit my great salaried job to raise a child and we all live happily ever after

Now that I look back on all of that, it sounds like an idealization from the 70s and back.

I never bothered factoring in grad school because I didn’t think it was needed. As I got a little older, I made adjustments but the idea of dating for the first time, getting married and having kids over the age of 30 just didn’t seem desirable to me.

For a good part of my teenage years and early twenties, I loathed being single. I felt out of place from all of my friends who were dating and getting married. In small group Bible studies, February was the month where all the small groups discussed love, sex and relationships from a Biblical standpoint. It seemed like everyone looked forward to it but me.

Most (if not all) of the discussions were geared towards those who were beginning a dating relationship, currently dating, engaged, getting married or single and at least had some experience with romantic relationships. Aka, not me. Any advice towards single people was “Stay single.” “Don’t worry about relationships or marriage because you should stay as you are.” “You’re a good girl, you don’t need any of that.” The end.

At this point in my life, I’m closer to being 30 than I am 20. Only one of those things from my initial plan has happened. But at this point in my life, I’m truly starting to see my singleness, or “super-singleness”, in a different light. I still want to date, get married and have kids. Some days more than others. However, I’ve stopped putting strict age limits on when I want things to happen.

Which brings me to some perks and things that I’ve learned about being single:

  1. Just because your peers get married before the age of 25 does NOT mean that they’re happier, better, more well off or more loved by God. Most people barely know who they are before the age of 25. (Heck, I’m still learning who I am now.) Picture this. You’re having a “Do I really know who I am?” crisis while trying to finish school, trying to be the best spouse you can be AND learning about another person. Sounds stressful and rocky. My advice: if you’re like me and among the crowd of people who are older than 25, unmarried and not dating, our advantage is being able to tackle a those things one or a few at a time.
  2. The longer you’re single and unmarried, the more chances you get to observe the couples in your life. Think of it as doing research. We get to see a little bit of what works and what doesn’t. So in a way, you get to learn from their (externally shown) triumphs and mistakes.
  3. If you want to up and move to a different state or go travel the world, you don’t have to worry about how your decision is going to affect your significant other. Not much else to say. You’re providing for yourself and you don’t have to try and figure out what to do if the other person wants to take a completely different path. Just be sure to keep in touch with family and friends.
  4. You can work on decreasing your debt. Whether it’s credit card or college loans, everyone has some kind of debt. I can’t imagine being 23 married, out of college,  having a mountain of debt from me and my husband and trying to pay off a wedding.
  5. Singlehood right now is probably one of the best times to work on your relationships with your friends and family. Anybody remember the lyrics to the TV show “Living Single” with Queen Latifah? If you don’t, here they are. My favorite lines of the theme song are: “Whenever this life gets tough, you gotta fight | with my homegirls standing to my left and my right. True blue, we’re tight like glue.” Some times… many times what helps us get through rough times in our lives isn’t having a significant other on our hip, it’s having strong, supportive and loving friend groups. When both sides take the time to invest in each other’s lives, it’s a win-win situation. Not only do you have more people to rally around you when times are tough but working on strengthening relationships with them is a great way to take your mind off of yourself and onto others.
  6. You have more to talk about. This may be my personal opinion but dating/married people have a tendency to talk or make frequent references to their significant other. While there’s a time and place for this, as single people, we have the opportunity to focus on ourselves and the world around us.
  7. There’s a chance that your “Mount Everest” (or at least one of them) may happen when you’re in your mid-late twenties. And rather than trying to balance a romantic relationship, you get to see what you’re truly made of before you can truly commit to someone.
  8. You learn that there are some people that you should stop getting romantic advice from. These people either need healing or have personal issues they have to work through. Here are three types of people I’m referring to:
    1. The Hypocrite: These people try to discourage you from wanting a healthy romantic relationship. At the same time, they’re often seen hugging, kissing and bragging about their significant other to others or on social media.
    2. The “Overprotector”: These people have been hurt once before and say never again. As a result they try to “protect” you by saying something along the lines of “Never date/get married because all men/women are {negative description here}! 😢😡”
    3. The “Do as I say not as I do”: This person either goes through partners like water through a sieve OR they’ve had a few significant relationships but they’ve all ended roughly the same way. This person won’t always discourage you from wanting a romantic relationship one day. They may actually encourage you but in a way that sort of resembles their actions.

I know what you’re thinking, “but relationships look like fun”, “they say that being in a romantic relationship feels good and makes you healthier.”

And they are probably right. Can being single feel lonely? Yes. Will you get a little tired of seeing “such-and-such is in a relationship/engaged/married”? Yep, but you can always hide those posts. Seriously! As much as feeling lonely sucks, it’s better to try and figure out how to deal with it now rather than later or too late.

I’m not going to tell you to usual clichéd sayings that we all often hear. But I will tell you this, dwelling on the loneliness and the feeling of being left behind is draining. It won’t make you any happier and you’ll only be wasting precious time that could be spent doing other things that actually make you happy.

It’s okay if you have to stop scrolling through Facebook so often. It’s okay if you have to hide all of the wedding/relationship status posts. Just because it’s posted does not mean that you have to subject yourself to them. It’s okay if you have to take a break from social media all together. It’s okay if you have to find other single people your age to hang out with. Heck, it’s perfectly okay if you have to stop watching tv shows and movies that are high up on the romance scale.

Don’t get me wrong, marriage and dating can be beautiful, healthy, beneficial and God-honoring. I look forward in dating, marrying and living life my future husband if God wills it. But even the apostle Paul said (in so many words) that with the current state that our world is in, being single is just as good as being married (or at least romantically involved). You are not on some lower pedestal just because you aren’t boo’d up with someone. Life is more than sex, kissing and taking cute selfies with someone. And as singles (super-singles especially) who are 25 and older, we get to experience some of its different facets in ways that we might not be able to explore with someone else.

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