4 Things I Learned In The 4 Years I've Been Single

by Natasha Artwell

It is human instinct to love and to want to be loved. A long time ago, I fell in love for the first time in my life; it was incredible. It was euphoric.

I felt safe, content and I was in a world of my own where no one and no single thing even mattered. I was utterly and uncontrollably, head-over-heels in love.

Things change; circumstances and desires change. People grow and evolve into who they are supposed to become and that’s just the way life goes.

That was four years ago, and I have been single ever since. I’ve kissed a couple of frogs, had my fair share of bad dates and even fallen for someone else within these years, but ultimately, my status has remained single.

I went from one long-term relationship, straight into another, but the second time around, it was with myself. I’ve found that the more time you spend on your own, and the more you become your own source of happiness and contentment, the less likely you are to settle for mediocre.

In the four years of living the single lifestyle, I got my degree, studied abroad, traveled the world and ticked off a couple of entries on my "things to do before I die" list. I can't say as much happened during the four years I was in a relationship.

This is not to say that life goals and dreams cannot be achieved when in a relationship. With the right person by your side, you can go above and beyond in any quest you wish to conquer.

This is just an honest account of four things I have learned in the four years I have been single: the good, the bad and the ugly.

It Takes A While To Adjust

When everything you have known for a very long time stops, it takes a while to adjust. In this time, you are figuring out how to be by yourself again.

It is in this uncertainty that a lot of unnecessary and unwanted rebounds can occur in an attempt to almost validate yourself again.

Try to avoid this at all costs. The only validation you need at this point should only come from yourself. It’s a slight matter of adjustment in order to break out of a routine you were accustomed to. Each day that passes makes that entire process a lot easier.

The Comparison Game

Without even knowing it, you compare every single detail to a previous experience or relationship because that becomes your only source for comparison.

It's a bad game to play, though, because no two people will ever be the same, and while you are busy comparing, you can miss all the best bits a person has to offer.

We are all unique, and each person you meet will offer you his or her own pros and cons as you perhaps will to each person. Why compare your past with your potential present and future? We are not looking for the rerun; we want the next episode.

Table For One

I think this one comes down to your character. Personally, I have never been afraid to eat out alone, or go to an event or gathering on my own. My motto is often, "F*ck it, why not?" That works for me.

When you are single, you come to realize that there will be things you want to do, but you don't think you have the necessary tools to do them (i.e. a boyfriend).

Perhaps it’s a romantic setting or Valentine’s Day, but after a while, you get the confidence to attend these things without a plus-one. You become pleasantly surprised by how much fun you can have.

The Cliché: You Learn Who You Are

I was trying to avoid this one at all costs, but as I pondered other life lessons of the single life, the concept of time alone revealing more about your desires and character kept coming back to me.

You really do begin to get a better understanding of all your likes, dislikes, wants and needs. Ultimately, this is because you have only yourself to think of, so there is no need to compromise, ever.

There's only one person you need to worry about, and that's you.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It