8 Signs You've Mastered Being A Fabulous, Single 20-Something

by Emory Rakestraw

Tonight, I find myself wandering down the hall to the kitchen.

I pour myself a glass of Chardonnay, swirl it gently and decide to embrace some fresh air.

I step outside, the air is cool and I begin to realize, in my loneliness and in this buttery wine, I’m enjoying this. I am alone, and I like it.

What is so wrong with being alone and liking it? Sure, I could have a significant other or (hate this word) bae sitting next to me, but I don’t want a bae sitting next to me.

I want to be alone with my thoughts, be a recluse, and just enjoy being single.

My Facebook newsfeed, on the other hand, must think I’m one lonely 20-something.

I am constantly bombarded with articles about relationships of all natures, like “20 Signs You’re in a Real Relationship,” “25 Great Things about Being in a Long-Term Relationship” or “Is It Just a Hookup?”

You know what I have to say? I am NOT lonely. I’m actually perfectly content — and guess what? I don’t want a "Real-Ationship."

Sure, I’m a hopeless romantic at heart and I still like to daydream that “someday my prince will come” or whatever Disney taught me.

But, hey, there’s nothing wrong with not wanting a relationship right now.

There's nothing wrong with teaching yourself how to be alone and how to actually enjoy it. Here are eight signs you agree:

1. Your future is too ripe with possibility, experience and change to let a relationship hinder that.

Don’t get me wrong; if I met someone who I wanted to travel the world with, I wouldn’t go alone.

Yet, I see so much uncertainty and adventure in my future that I don’t see where a not-quite-right relationship would fit in.

We all have dreams and goals. As 20-somethings, it’s okay for those goals to float month-to-month.

Maybe in a year, I will be eating fresh mangos in Costa Rica, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my mango dreams for just anyone.

You know that going after your goals gives you strength, confidence and a firm sense of self.

Sure, it might be terrifying the first few days, weeks and even months, but you grow.

It is a sublime fact of human nature to which we all adapt. It is guaranteed you will leave a different person than you entered.

The best part is, there is always that extremely refreshing feeling once it is all said and done that you really did do this on your own and you made it.

2. You’ve learned to quiet your inner hopeless romantic.

I’ve replaced my inner rom-com chatter with reality. Sure, the guy eyeing me at the bar is cute — oh wow, maybe he is going to talk to me.

But, I see no use in getting hot and bothered over something that may or may not happen. It really is about going with the flow, about not seeking something I don't even want right now.

Deep down, we all love love. We want to be loved and return that love, but sometimes, we want to be alone, to discover who we really are and to prove to ourselves just how strong we can be.

I have never met someone in a bar, where I basically apply my hopes and dreams in the form of red lipstick.

No, you always meet people in completely weird, random and unexpected experiences.

I remember this now more than ever in times when my hungry eyes started searching for “my type.”

I remember it when I blindly fall for someone I barely know, who I know, deep down, is not "the one." So, I let them go and move on because I enjoy this right now.

3. When it comes to manly house stuff or girly tasks, you’ve quieted the voice that says, “Just call your ex.”

It hit me that I'm okay with being single when I used my power drill to pillage the yellow wall of my bedroom to hang some art.

Sure, I could call a guy friend or even worse, an ex-boyfriend, bat some lashes and ask for help, but you know what? I decided to do it on my own.

I might not have the skill-set of a 20-something male, but what I do have is the self-confidence that I can and will accomplish the unknown.

Just like navigating your future as a single 20-something, you also apply this to ordinary, day-to-day tasks.

It could be as simple as teaching yourself how to cook or as bold as planting a garden.

Confidence comes from attempting the unfamiliar understanding the possibility you might completely fail. These "tasks" become second nature over time.

Bonus: you’ll also acquire a pretty neat set of skills.

4. You know loneliness and happiness are both part of a universal balance.

The other night, I found myself kind of down-and-out. It was a Friday and I could hear the lively chatter of drunken bar talk from my backyard.

I thought to myself, “Man, I am kind of lonely.”

But, I halted my self-pity with a little self-realization.

Four years ago, when I first moved to the city where I now live, I was numbingly alone.

I was shy, I had no friends, I knew no one, I went to class and just hoped one day, I would eventually meet people.

It manifested into painful loneliness. I remember regretting my decision to transfer schools, to leave my friends, to leave a hub of social interaction.

It was all for what? To sit on my couch and stare out the window like I was living some sad music video? In all of this loneliness, little did I know that just a few months later, I’d meet someone who would completely change my life.

Obviously, the relationship did not work out, but for three years, I had a best friend and companion.

All of the loneliness I fought through balanced itself out. I also began to make lifelong friends.

My first few months here began to seem like a bad dream, and I even found myself missing those times a bit.

Now I know I can move to a big city where I don't know a single soul and I'll still be okay.

You might feel alone at times, and yes, it does hurt, but you remember it is all a balance.

5. You read articles about the perks of having a SO and think, “That’s what my friends are for.”

Inside jokes, being your completely goofy self and random nights of doing nothing together are what friends are for.

You know it’s fun to do these things with a SO, but you're also grateful for having best friends who bring just as much happiness into your life as any relationship could.

6. You don’t take dating apps seriously.

Sometime in the three-year period, when I was in a relationship, people stopped approaching the opposite sex and started swiping at them on their phones.

I guess not being single during Tinder’s heyday led me to never really take it seriously. Would I ever bring home a guy and be like, “Yeah, Mom and Dad, I met him on Tinder.”

They’d be like, “Oh honey, what’s Tinder?” and I’d say, “Oh, it’s an app people use to hook up.”

LOL. I’m not trying to say there aren’t any decent people on Tinder.

Yet, most of those people are like me; they literally have no idea why they continue to mindlessly swipe (mainly left).

Truthfully, I don’t want to meet a guy who uses Tinder. I want someone who has a little self-respect, who is a tried and true romantic, like me.

I want someone who believes in love at first sight, who believes that fate does have your back.

But, then again, I’m a hypocrite because I still use Tinder, but really, as a means for entertainment. Have I ever taken it seriously? No.

7. You realize how refreshing it is not to constantly check your phone.

When you’re in a relationship, or really, just dating, your phone can become your enemy.

You’re always on it, always texting away, flirting and sweating over how many minutes you should wait to hit “send."

It is so amazing not to deal with any of this. I let hours go by when I don’t even think about checking my phone.

Being single has helped me to not be so dependent and addicted to my iPhone.

I now live more in the moment because I’m not constantly wondering when "he" will text me, or if he ever even will.

As insignificant as it may seem, this is one of the greatest perks to being single.

Sure, we have work calls, mom calls and friend calls to answer to, but these people never think we’re cheating on them if we don’t respond ASAP.

Also, my main iPhone motto is, if it’s really important, they’ll leave a voicemail.

8. You’ve learned to trust fate again.

If I had to sum up this article in one point, it would be this one. It’s human nature to feel lonely from time to time.

It's normal to look at your newsfeed and feel as if you’re the last (wo)man standing when it comes to love.

It's normal to wonder if you’ll ever meet someone who really is YOUR match.

I love to daydream about love; I often find it to be one of the main sectors of my thoughts.

Yet, my once sad, cynical outlook has now transformed into hope for the future. I have faith in fate and I have faith in myself.

Life isn’t a journey that only involves finding "the one." I've spent some of my best years alone, during which I've rekindled with my true self and found my inner-strength. I learned how to love myself again.

I always said after my last relationship ended, "I’m working on myself because I am not the best possible version of myself and therefore, I won’t meet the best possible person for me."

Sure, being single is ALWAYS hard from time-to-time, but we're getting good at it. We even enjoy it!

I've grown thankful for the opportunities the wide-open road has provided.

I have the confidence to let go of love that doesn’t feel right. I’d rather be on my own than waste time and energy.

Ultimately, we really do only have ourselves, and it's important to love the person you'll REALLY be stuck with forever.

One of the main realizations of being single and liking it is when your search subsides.

When you simply let life happen and don’t try to force, create or manifest your own destiny.

Then, like an unexpected tap on the shoulder, love arrives.