All the women who are independent (throw your hands up at me).
Being a 90s kid I very much wanted to channel my inner Destiny’s Child and be an ‘Independent Woman’. (And yes I am now singing along to it, it’s a classic). And I think I have succeeded in that. Although I now worry that I am too independent that I actually struggle to allow people into my life…
When you’re permanently single, you absolutely have to learn to be self sufficient and to become independent. Leaving home for University was the first time I had to be truly independent, doing everything for myself. Fortunately I’ve always been pretty sensible and mature, so although it did feel like a huge change surviving was easy. I knew how to cook and was responsible enough to do my own washing up. My social skills were good enough for me to make great friends with my housemates and I had enough common sense to figure out everything else. I found becoming independent relatively easy.
For the first few years I was always living with friends. This made a lot of the mundane tasks easier and shared- cleaning, food shopping etc. But nowadays it’s just me. And now I really am independent. I make my own food, for one, everyday. I try to meal plan so I don’t buy excessively at supermarkets. I am in charge of motivating myself to do work from home, go to the gym, eat a piece of fruit instead of chocolate, actually do the laundry instead of find a different dress, go to bed at a decent hour, not watch another episode of a TV series. I’m better at some of those than others, but I’ve become accustomed to the single life and being independent.
Those small individual daily tasks are for me, the biggest challenge.
I find it easy to procrastinate and not be motivated, and for that I wish there was someone here pushing me to do things. But I’ve mastered doing the bigger things independently. I have been going to gigs for years by myself, I will regularly go shopping, or for a walk, by myself and always go to the gym by myself. I haven’t quite tackled eating out alone yet (except for fast food) just because I don’t know what to do in the awkward waiting for food bit! My biggest challenge has been solo travel.
As more of my friends have become married or in long term relationships it has reduced my options for people to do things with. It has forced my further independence. If I want to go somewhere, do something, see something I will ask around my couple friends but the answer is more often than not ‘no’ (they seem to have less time and money as it is spent with their partner, as frustrating as that is I do understand and have written about it here:https://www.singleisalliknow.co.uk/when-youre-the-only-single-one/
Which leaves me contemplating a solo adventure.
It took me a little while to build up to it, but a year and a half ago I finally made the decision and took the plunge. I eased myself in by doing an animal conservation project in Asia- this meant flying by myself (14 hours!), spending two weeks with other people on the project (strangers, but people all the same) and then 2 days exploring by myself in the nearby capital city. I had a great time and it was just what I needed to ease me into solo travel. What I loved was that I was in control. I had chosen exactly what I wanted to do without having to make compromises for others. And I wasn’t letting the fact that none of my friends wanted to do this from stopping me, and that was great! (You can read more about my adventures in solo travel here: https://www.singleisalliknow.co.uk/my-adventures-in-solo-travel/ )
This summer I did 2 weeks travelling around the US by myself. I had an amazing time and am still proud of myself for pushing and having these solo adventures, and I’d encourage you to do the same (I’ll be writing more about how to go about solo travel). This has shown me that I am truly independent, that I rely on no-one and can do what I want with my life. What a revelation!
That doesn’t mean it’s all plain sailing, it’s still not all easy, but it’s all achievable.
For me now the challenge is how to be less independent.
Why you ask? Well I’m so used to doing it all by myself, to really do so much of life by myself, that I don’t actually know how to do it with anyone else any more. This is a problem if getting into a relationship arises. I don’t know how I’d do it.
Even on a simpler side of ‘doing life’ with friends, I struggle. I do specific activities within specified time frames with my friends, like days out shopping or to see a specific band or show. I don’t do constant conversation or regularly hanging out at each others homes just to chat. I have become almost entirely self sufficient, living life on my own the majority of the time.
And it’s something I need to resolve.
What if I do meet a great guy but have no idea how to integrate him into my life? I’ve been doing things my way for so many years that I don’t know how to do it any other way. I wonder if other single people find this a concern too?
This really is something I want to work on- allowing myself to be close to others and making room for them in my life. The problem is I don’t know how. To be honest, I have no idea where to even start…
Find me on twitter: @Singlesalliknow