There is nothing quite as relaxing as looking at your calendar as a single person and knowing that none of your blocks of ~me time~ are going to be compromised. You're in full control of your schedule and who you choose to hang out with, and don't get guilted into any old family friend of a friend's weddings upstate or feeding bae's cat while they're on a business trip or texting anyone late into the night when really all you want to do is shove yourself facedown into a pillow and conk out. But being single isn't just about the awesomeness of having free time — it's what you can do on your own with that free time that makes it worthwhile.
I personally didn't realize just how protective I was of my spare time until I tried to get back on the dating scene last year. While I met some perfectly nice humans, my literal first thought the moment I made the barest of plans with anyone was, "Oh dear god, they're going to compromise my after work free time. AND my weekend time. OH, HELL NO." Now, I know that it doesn't feel that way if you're with someone you truly care about and want to explore a connection with — but at this point in the game, I'm too in love with being alone to take a chance on anyone else. If you're living the single life, then you also know the unexpected pleasure of doing these activities alone:
Planning Your Budget
When you're in a relationship, you're always factoring something or another out. Going out as a concept alone is expensive — spoiler alert, guys, but drinks cost a lot of cash money — but it's all the little things, too. Suddenly you're going out not just for your friends' birthdays, but theirs, too. You're paying for tickets out of town to go see their family. You're buying Christmas presents, birthday presents, sweet little surprises. You're dealing with fees or higher rent if you decide to move in together. Suddenly the money that you want to put aside for a weekend getaway or a new piece of furniture is gone-zo — or worse, you compromise your ability to save money in your 20s, which is one of the most crucial savings periods of your entire life. There is something so freeing about not having to worry about anyone but yourself, and feeling in complete control of your financial future.
Cooking Yourself An Extremely Fancy, Over The Top Meal
We're all so busy that I think we tend to get stuck in this idea of cooking as something we only do when we want to treat the people around us — our partners, our friends, our families. But really, there is nothing more rewarding than blocking off a few hours of your time and focusing on something that you are making only for yourself, to your exact specifications. People will always have opinions on the "right" or "wrong" ways to cook something, but when you're the only one you're aiming to please, you don't have to worry about anyone's standards but your own. And taking that kind of time to indulge in yourself will make you feel boss-level fulfilled.
Biting The Bullet On A Solo Travel Deal
Whenever Groupon or Living Social or the like offer their crazy cheap travel deals to faraway countries or beach getaways, they're always based on a rate of two people. It can feel way too intimidating for a solo traveler to navigate, especially because you have to really hunt to find accommodations for solo travelers on the site, and it's in itty bitty print. But you know what? It's there for a reason, so obviously you're not the only one traveling on your own. And even with the extra few hundred dollars you'll be spending to travel by yourself, these kinds of deals are pretty damn cheap. Don't wait for somebody else to go on a crazy adventure with — it is unexpectedly and awesomely freeing to pick a country and go there all by yourself.
Hanging Out In A Bar
If you tell someone you're hanging out in a bar by yourself, it traditionally conjures images of some sad sack talking the bartender's ear off and drowning their sorrows in cheap beer. But really, going to a bar or a restaurant alone can be one of the most relaxing and centering feelings. You don't spend any of your time with your eye on the door waiting for someone, and the rest of the time trying to keep up a steady conversation. You are either free to watch the game or read your book or even talk to people that otherwise you never would have had the chance to meet. And if you're out in a karaoke bar — believe you me, there is no feeling more insanely liberating feeling than getting up in front of a crowd of total strangers and belting your cliché heart out.
Going On Long, Rambling Walks With No Destination In Mind
Hell, you don't even have to take your phone. When you're in a relationship you feel somewhat obligated to stay connected to the world, so you'll be able to touch base with each other, or make sure the other one is safe. While that's perfectly normal and thoughtful toward a partner when you're in a relationship, it does tend to distract you and take you out of the moment when you're constantly checking your phone or thinking about a time you'll have to be home by in the back of your mind. And when you really have that freedom to wander aimlessly, you'll find yourself in parts of your city and your neighborhood that you never would have discovered otherwise — and get a chance to connect with yourself in a deeper, more intimate way than you would if you were distracted.
Planning For Your Future
I think we tend to get hung up on looking too far into the future when we're single, because if you plan on eventually being in a relationship, then there's a giant grey area where that relationship will bend and mold its way around and in your life. But if you really take the chance to factor that idea out of the equation completely, then you have a much broader, clearer sense of what else in your life fulfills you. Sit down and ask yourself what your ideal day would look like 10 years from now. Write it down in exhausting detail. Then backtrack and figure out what you have to set in motion right now to make that future happen — there is no relief and joy quite like having a plan, and knowing that you have the time to dedicate to your ambitions without worrying about someone else's just yet.