As I turned 30 and entered this new chapter of my life – getting engaged and starting to plan for the future — I look back at where I am now and realize I am a better spouse because I had spent some time alone and single.
Who knew being single for so many years could actually benefit me now? How is someone who once feared and ran away from commitment now (in my opinion) a better spouse?
Well, it's simple: I allowed every life experience to be a lesson that taught me, not only about myself, but also about what I wanted in someone else.
In our single stages, we often find the independence thrilling and intoxicating initially, but in the whirlwind of hookups and late-night partying, there comes a point where this independence may become tiresome and even lonely.
For a long time, I found my single life emptying. Even my most gratifying ventures and accomplishments didn't seem to fill the void I felt.
Suddenly, I was growing out of this partying lifestyle. I was starting to crave a feeling even I was unsure of. My previous relationship had left me so torn and broken, and other relationships had me believing true love just didn't exist. I was jaded.
But as I continued to navigate through singlehood, I slowly discovered more about myself as I spent more time focusing on my own life.
I slowly discovered more about myself as I spent more time focusing on my own life.
I also discovered the truth behind some of my friendships. In a way, I was able to clean out my life and remove the toxic people whom I originally thought were my true friends.
And by cleaning out the things I didn't want in my life, I was slowly learning what I qualities I did want in my life — both in myself and in other people.
By being alone (and by cleansing my life of any and all toxic things), I was able to grow comfortable with who I was and who I am.
I began to see my insecurities, fears and the void I felt as motivation to better myself. But I also realized those things made me, well, me.
Every day, I was uncovering a new part of myself I hadn't known before. I was truly learning about my authentic likes and dislikes — not just the ones of the people around me. And the more time I spent alone, the more I was comfortable with being alone, but I was certain of what I wanted for my future... and future partner.
When all your friends are in relationships, getting married or having kids, it's so easy to feel pressured to find the same thing.
But what kind of life is that? What kind of life would we be living if we did everything that exact way everyone else was doing it?
For a year, I travelled. I moved to a new city. I allowed myself to fully embrace this life I'd only seen in movies. I was carefree and didn't care that everyone else around me was establishing their lives because I was establishing my own.
Fast forward to now, and here I am. I am happier than I've ever been, and I thank my time alone, my time exploring and my time embracing me that I am able not only to be the best spouse I can be, but also the best version of me in general.
I was carefree and didn't care that everyone else around me was establishing their lives.
If it were not for my sporadic adventures and uncertain paths, I would not be as understanding as I am now to the last-minute changes in our day-to-day lives.
If it were not for my travels to foreign places, I would not be as understanding about the fact that, sometimes, things won't always go my way, and I can't always get what I want.
If it were not for all this and more, I would not be in the relationship I am in today, and I wouldn't be the happiest I have ever been.
Sometimes, we think we know what we want, like I did when I thought I was happy and satisfied in bad relationships and bachelorhood. But more often than not, we really just need to get in touch with ourselves instead.