What I've Learned From Being Single For The 30 Years Of My Life

by Rebecca Illson

I will be turning 30 in a few short weeks, and I’ve been single my entire life. It's embarrassing to admit, but it's true.

It's not for lack of trying. I frequently go on dates; I've had several "almost" relationships, and I've been “ghosted” more times than I care to admit. I've experienced heartbreak in the worst possible way, all while remaining single.

Yet, I have never been in an exclusive, long-term relationship. Some of this has been by choice, but not all of it.

Being 30 and still unattached frequently has me thinking there is something wrong with me. After every failed first date, I voice the question, "What is wrong with me?" to my family and friends, all of whom kindly reassure me it is not me. I just haven't found the right person yet.

But, sometimes, their words of encouragement are enough to crush that voice in my head that still asks what is so unappealing about me.

For the longest time, I thought I was single because I was grossly unattractive. Spending much of my early 20s vastly overweight did not help that mentality, either. It has taken years of working on my relationship with myself to realize that's not the case.

That old saying, "No one will love you if you can't learn to love yourself first" is so true. As cliche as it sounds, the most important relationship you have is the one with yourself. You have to learn how to be happy on your own, prior to being with someone.

At 30, I am finally there. I am content with the career I have worked so hard to build; I am content with my social circle, and I am content with myself.

Do I want to be in a relationship at this point in my life? Absolutely. I am watching my friends settle down, get married and start families. I want that for myself.

But, at the same time, I refuse to settle for just anyone, and that contributes to my singledom. Some of my friends may call me picky, but I fully believe I would rather be happy and alone than single and miserable.

People struggle with being single because it means a lot of alone time. When you're single, you don't have someone to come home to; you don't always have someone to hang out with, and you frequently go to bed alone. It's just you.

When you are single, you need to learn how to be okay with spending large amounts of time by yourself. There are times it can be heartbreakingly lonely to spend so much time by yourself, but it also affords you the time to learn about who you are as a person.

When you are single, you have the ability to focus on your job and interests as much as you want. You learn your likes, dislikes and what you will or will not tolerate from another person. You can travel on a moment's notice without having to wait for someone to clear their schedule.

Keeping in touch with friends is a priority, and it allows you to create some really invaluable memories and life experiences. Most importantly, singledom allows you to focus on what you bring to the table, and what you have to offer someone.

Being the resident single gal among my group of friends has taught me many things. I've learned it's okay to eat a meal alone. I've learned I can choose to stay out all night with minimal repercussions. I've learned hogging the bed is an acceptable way to sleep.

But, before anything else, being single has taught me how to be comfortable in my own skin and accept who I am as a person...faults and all.