Don't walk down the aisle until you've checked these off your list.
When I was single, I would be lying if I said I enjoyed every minute of it. I got married at 30 years old, so I had a few years to myself before Mr. Right came along. So, I experienced the highs and the lows of single life. Those years were precious to me as I was fully able to experience life as a single woman.
Looking back, I know there are certain things you can really only do when you're on your own. I am a true believer that what women need is to accomplish these rites of passage when you can still watch back to back seasons of "Sex and the City" without having to negotiate with the other half:
1. Living alone
I never thought of myself as someone who was lonely. But you’ll never know how much you rely on the company of others until you're forced to live by yourself. When I first moved to Sydney and was starting out in my career, I had a TV, a fridge. and a bed in my apartment. That was it.
I didn’t mind the lack of stuff but being alone at first was deafening. I used to fill up the time with phone calls and visiting family and friends as much as possible. Busy was good. It took me a good six months to figure out (and be OK with) not being around someone all the time.
Mastering the art of aloneness will truly make you become your own best friend. Now, if I have a weekend where there are no plans and my husband might be away, my heart is happy. I know that spending time with myself is freaking awesome. I should be so lucky.
2. Traveling solo
At 23 years old, I went backpacking in Europe by myself for 8 weeks. That wasn’t the original plan. I had wanted to go with a friend, but it just wasn’t happening and I finally decided "Screw it, I’ll go myself".
There is no experience like traveling by yourself, with yourself, and having no one but yourself to rely on. The amazing thing is, it’s so much easier to make friends when you are traveling alone and you can breeze in and out of groups and social situations so easily — it’s the most liberating time.
Yes, there are times where you think, "Gosh, it would be nice to have someone here to share this with" (like going to the Eiffel tower or having your bag stolen in Barcelona). But mostly, I saw the stress of travel take its toll on friends and couples, and I was happy to lie in a hammock and plan my next destination.
Not having to consider what anyone else wants to do is a nice change and a luxury everyone should experience in their life.
3. Making an investment
I was hugely focused on my career and travel during my alone years and while I desired my soul mate to come and do life with me, I never once thought I should wait for what I wanted from life.
I had my first investment property in my early 20’s and when I decided to move to London (when I was later in a relationship), I was able to have financial confidence and decide what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it.
There is a major mindset shift that happens when you make an investment independently — whether that’s a car, a house, or a vacation. Taking control of your finances and deciding where you put your hard earned money to is a massive achievement.
4. Enjoying making dinner — for one
Okay, I really don’t love cooking. But I did learn a few dishes that I enjoyed making for just myself because let’s face it, take out is great for a while, but even I get tired of Thai Tuesday once in a while.
I finally started enjoying cooking for one and started making it part of my ‘self-care’ routine. Just because there is only one doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the nice dishes or buy fancy ingredients. Serve yourself. Make cooking for yourself a divine experience.
5. Creating your own holiday traditions
I used to find holidays (particularly Christmas) a little difficult as a single gal. While I loved being around family, I did find I felt more alone on certain holidays than others (and of course watching "Love Actually" on repeat didn’t help).
But after a while, I decided to stop wallowing and started planning. I made my own Thanksgiving event with close friends every year. I started Christmas movie marathons (which I keep to this day) and Christmas Eve is always PJ day in my household.
I started traditions that were mine and mine alone. You don’t need your own family to create holiday memories, you are enough to make it special.
Once I mastered these experiences, I found I was a different woman altogether and what I wanted in my relationships also changed. By the time I met my Mr. Right, I was so pre-occupied with my own life, I couldn’t imagine where he would fit. But he did.
I always said, "My life is pretty awesome, so a guy would have to be pretty awesome to be in it." And he is. That’s the beauty of singledom — when you become so incredibly full of your own ambitions, passions, and living your awesome life, you’ll find the thing (or person) you were meant for shows up right on time.
Rachel Reva is a women's success coach. You can join her mailing list here.