When I made the move to New York, it was something I wanted to do alone. I didn't want to consider anyone else in my decisions and there was some sort of gratification in the fact that I could — in fact — make a huge move sans boyfriend or security. I knew that when I looked back on those pivotal first few months of living in a strange new city, I would be proud that I made it through those exciting and scary days all by myself.
And you know what? Six years later, I am damn proud of that independent feat. I'm also grateful that I had the chance and funds to go to Puerto Rico alone after a bad breakup. And for all the times I've now only survived but thoroughly enjoyed doing all sorts of things alone: going to movies, dinners, events — you name it. I've always been confident trying new things without anyone else — maybe it's being an only child? — and it's something that's helped me form healthy bonds in romantic relationships and friendships.
Regardless if you're already coupled up or you're dating, experts recommend doing a few big things on your own. Why? Simply because it helps you be stronger and less dependent on others. Here's their list of the things every woman should consider doing alone:
1. Visit A Place You've Always Wanted to See
"Before there is a long-term partner, before there are kids, before there is the job that does not allow them any time off, they should travel. Doing it on their own, going somewhere that others may have no interest in going, ensures that they have an unforgettable experience they may never have the chance to have again. Be safe, be smart, do your research, and fit in as many memories as you can on your trip of a lifetime.
There may be many other trips with your partner or your children that are amazing, and that elicit loving and fond memories, but none will ever take the place of you being able to get up and go whenever you want, wherever you want, and letting yourself be enveloped in a culture on your own." Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC
2. Live By Yourself
"Living alone affords you the luxury of doing exactly what you want, when you want. You can wake up early without disturbing anyone, use up all the hot water, save the dishes for the morning, and play your music so loud it hurts. Your stuff will always be exactly where you left it, there's no one around to blame you for a ghost fart and you'll never wake up to the sound of your roommate's headboard rhythmically banging the wall.
More essentially, though, living alone requires you to learn responsibility. When you live alone, you do it all: laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, bill paying. When your car won't start, it's up to you and AAA. Living alone teaches you self-reliance and accountability, and grants you confidence that you can't learn any other way. Best of all, it helps you learn to appreciate all the great things about living with someone else when the time comes." -Melinda Fisher, life coach
3. Pay Off A Credit Card
"Every woman should pay a credit card in full by herself at least once in her life. Taking control of your finances is important and it helps you gain the confidence to continue to be financially responsible throughout your life. Also, how amazing does it feel to pay for a credit card in full!" -Esther Boykin, relationship expert
4. Learn What Gets You Hot
"A woman should explore internal vaginal stimulation at least once in her lifetime. Some women avoid masturbation all together. Others only explore external clitoral stimulation, thus missing out on special kinds of sensations, pleasure states and orgasms that are only possible by them stimulating their vagina, G-spot and cervix." -Eyal Matsliah, female orgasm expert
5. Wake Up Early To See the Sun Rise
"There is something amazing and unexplainable that happens as you watch the beginning of a new day. As you see the sun slowly rise up into the sky — it's breathtaking. It is an experience that many do not have, so by knowing that it makes it feel even more unique and sacred. It's a clean slate. It is inspiring to feel the hope and excitement to make this new day into anything you want it to be." -Kristy De Leon, relationship and love coach
6. Let Go Of Your Expectations And Let Yourself Be
"Expectations are funny things: we tend to live up (or down) to them. They are almost magic in the way they pull us in their direction regardless of what we want or know to be true of ourselves. The challenge of coming into your own is recognizing those expectations, evaluating them, and then choosing. There are always going to be people who expect you to bow out of a competition, expect you to play nice, expect you to give up. But you don't have to do any of those things. Change your own damn tire. Duke it out for the promotion. Cross the finish line. Find the expectations that are holding you back and blow them a kiss as you pass them by." -Audrey Reid Williams, author
7. Buy — And Use — A Sex Toy
"Vibrators are great when you're single and can keep things lively when you're in a relationship. But you want to pick one out alone, so you can figure out what you like without the pressure of trying to please your partner. If you're self conscious and don't want to go to a store, shop online." - Gabrielle Loehr, behavioral health coach
8. Go Skydiving— Or Something Else That Scares You
“A woman should go skydiving at least once in her life to experience the true feeling of adventure. There is nothing more exhilarating than jumping out of a plane from thousands of feet in the air. This will give you an opportunity to see the world from another perspective, and open your eyes to the beauty around you. If you really want to go the extra mile, try skydiving in a location you’ve never been before. Drive to the Grand Canyon and see it from a bird’s-eye view or head to the Poconos for a sight you’ll never forget.” –Sarah Patt, dating expert and matchmaker
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