Now that I'm an another year older, and, of course, wiser too, I thought I'd give some of the things I've learned this last year. Especially, when it comes to finding your own happiness.
Be content with where you are.
No matter your stage of life all of us want something more. I want a house, husband, and kids. Instead I've got roommates, an 8x10 room, and 90% of my stuff in that room. I've been squirreling away stuff for the future--china, pots and pans, bedding, knickknacks. All good stuff to have one day, not necessarily good to have today. So I downsized from a queen to a twin and got rid of some of those "someday" stuff and it's been liberating.
Find fulfillment in your job.
Being single, a lot of my identity comes from my job. And trust me, if you hate your job that spills over into the rest of your life. One of the best things I did for myself last year was to find a job that I love and that brings me joy and happiness. So, if you're struggling in your life take a good look at your job and, if needed, make some changes.
Be realistic in expectations.
I still want the fairytale ending to my life. That fairytale ending may still have him riding in on a white horse, he's probably going to pulling a cart full of hurts and fears. And if I'm honest, I probably do too.
Don't give deadlines for when things will happen.
Each year I've put start dating someone/and or get married on my yearly to-do list and each year I feel like a failure when I didn't get that one "goal" even though I crossed everything off of my list. Getting married isn't on the list this year. Surpringly removing it from the list has meant one of my better dating years so far.
Have one or two outfits where you feel beautiful in.
It's so much easier to face family parties and dates feeling beautiful.
Find what works for you when it comes to being social.
Just because something worked for others didn't mean that it worked for me. I don't like large parties, but I have friends who thrive on them. Others won't do online stuff, but it's worked for me.
Cultivate and maintain great friendships.
I have some of the most incredible friends in the whole entire world. No, I'm serious. I won the friendship lottery. They make me laugh and they heal my soul and I need them in my life.
Plan for the future.
While I'd love to think that I'll end up with a husband to take care of me, I'm also aware that I may end up having to take care of myself. I've moved from having a job to having a career. Things like 501Ks and health insurance are important to me. Not only do I have my yearly goals, I've now got a 5 and a 10 year plan (and am working on the 20). Plus, there are still a lot of things I need to learn to be a better person 5, 10, 20 years from now single or married.
Take time for yourself.
Get pedicures, splurge on expensive make-up, exercise, turn down social obligations, stay in for the weekend.
Make service a priority.
I get more out of my service at the Church History museum then I probably give. The thought of it all being over in October makes me sadder than I want to let on.
Give people the benefit of the doubt.
I'm trying to remember that every time someone who is married says, "You're so lucky to be single," "Enjoy it while you can," "I live vicariously through you," "She doesn't want to be in her 30's having kids," they don't mean to be hurtful in their comments. Which, as my family can attest, I'm ubersensitive to comments about being single, but I'm learning how not to be.
Create a bucket list. Cross things off that bucket list.
I'm in love with bucket lists. I love trying things I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. It's added depth to my life.
Try new things.
Be brave and adventurous. And that spirit is kind of attractive.
Put yourself out there.
Trust me. It's not easy. I've put myself out there in the last two months that I've probably done my whole entire life. It hasn't been easy. It's been a lot of work, but it's also been worth it.
Don't be afraid to make, and admit, mistakes.
I'd much rather give something my all and make a mistake then hold back a piece of me worry about "what if." Admitting that I'm wrong is whole different ball game. When I'm hurt it's almost impossible for me to admit that. It's liberating when I do.
Realize that you're tons more than your relationship status.
Some of the most incredible people are know are single. They serve, they have fulfilling jobs, they cultivate habits, they are spiritual, they are kind and generous and loyal. The label that gets put on them most often is "single" which is one, albeit important, aspect of who they are, in itself gives an incomplete picture of who they really are.
If you can change it, don't complain.
I've spent a lot of time over the last years bemoaning the fact that I'm single and guys aren't asking me out. There were a lot of things I could have done to change that situation, but I refused/didn't want to to do them. But if I'm not able to give it my all, I really can't complain when things don't turn out how I want.
Give it your all!
My biggest enemy is myself. I hold myself back all the time for fear of being hurt, rejected, disappointed.