Your twenties bring on this really weird, heavy pressure to have it all figured out. Find the perfect apartment, meet the perfect person, get the perfect job – it’s like a constant sloppy struggle to perfection. Where does this pressure come from? Weren’t you eighteen, like, two seconds ago? Well, if I’m learning anything as I stumble awkwardly and anxiously through this passage of life, it’s that it is okay to be confused. It’s okay to live in a tiny studio. It’s okay to work three part-time jobs that have nothing to do with your college degree. It’s okay not to have a college degree. But above all else, it’s more than okay to be alone.
It feels like there is this increasing fear, or societal expectation, in your early twenties to settle down. Your Instagram is probably packed full of engagement photos and “first home” snapshots. And through these tiny glimpses into the private lives of our peers, it becomes easy to believe that path is the only path. It’s also so easy to let your mind wander to self-doubt. What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I have a partner? Why didn’t this relationship work out? Maybe I could’ve tried more, or tried less. Did I try at all? It’s so important to fight through that. Honestly, why should we be expected to commit to, or even comprehend forever when we’re barely a quarter of a way through life?
There’s something to the art of flourishing independently. Sure, you might miss out on the double dates or the couples trips, but there are other aspects of life you won’t miss a beat of – the first being a true sense of self. It’s really hard to get to know – let alone like or love – yourself while you’re in a relationship. You’re pretty much required to give a piece of yourself up to mold and grow with another. Being single means holding and nurturing every single part of yourself. It means dedicating everything to you – your time, your money, your kindness, your patience, your compassion. All of it. And it’s amazing.
No one wants to admit it, but being a little bit selfish is great. Want to go out for three nights in a row? Go for it. Want to stay in and order chinese food while binge-watching “New Girl”? More power to you. There’s something so freeing about pursuing your own little sources of happiness.
There’s also a strong sense of self awareness that comes from focusing solely on yourself. You start to understand the true meaning behind your tendencies and actions. The voice of reason within you is amplified and you begin to understand the difference between sound and stupid decisions. There’s no lying to yourself. You can’t escape certain truths like the fact that you’re not texting your ex because you miss him, you’re texting him because you’re lonely and you know it. Basically, you grow a heightened sense of clarity and there’s something really beautiful and beneficial about that.
Being somewhat alone makes you protective and proud of your worth. You recognize how important it is to weed out the liars, the low-lives and the losers – to hold out for the people that appreciate and care for you the way you do. It allows you to build stronger, non-negotiable standards. So try to ignore the expectations of society, Instagram and your great Aunt Susan. Focus on yourself and reap the growth, happiness and strength.