That’s right. Single. Not single and ready to mingle. Not single and searching. Single. Full stop. End of sentence. As marriages fail, work life becomes more demanding and socialising ever transient, being single is no longer a process but a way of life for many. For the best part of my 20s and 30s I was on a fruitless search for The One! Family and friends often questioned my status like it was a defect. They often tried to set me up, as if they were healing the sick. It got me down for a while. Then at the end of 2017 I thought, “what if I am meant to be single?”. Call it an epiphany – you may think a defeatist one at that – but it gave me so much clarity and freed myself from the assumption that we are all meant to be with someone- an assumption that was at the root of my disappointment and injustice.
Since then I have been retraining my perception of going solo and stopped seeking soul mates as if it was an automatic entitlement. Then I spotted an article about 1930s Vogue Editor Marjorie Hillis’s book “Live Alone and Like It: the Art of Solitary Refinement”. It has been repeatedly published because of its growing relevance in modern society. I related so much to her ideas and was glad to see that I already was on the right track to reclaiming singledom. Now that a new year dawns I’ve decided to continue that trend further in a bid to not sacrifice another day of my youth to lamenting at my lonesomeness nor letting others do so. So if you want to do the same, here is my (and Marjorie’s) guide.
Are you constantly subjected to your coupled friends gushing about the latest thing their partner is treating them to? Do they shamelessly showboat the most ridiculously expensive gift their bae got them for their 1 week anniversary? Well hold on, isn’t it equally possible for you to do that for yourself? Some think twice about doing stuff on their own, but if you think about it, going solo is deliciously indulgent. When anyone asks if I’m seeing someone, I reply: Yes, myself! If I want to check out that film, I go to the cinema. That art exhibition I’ve been dying to see? I just go online, buy a ticket and I’m there! Sure it means you have to take the initiative each time but successful singledom is not about being passive but taking control and being your own knight in shining armour. However if you are to treat yourself, take note:
Be Money Smart
All this self-love spending sounds great but only if you don’t run your funds into the ground. Even with a dependable job, a single income in high-cost city like London will only get you so far so swot up on making your money grow. Think about opening an ISA, explore savings opportunities at your bank or look into some investments.
Friends- They’ll be there for you!
Friends, framily, whatever, a good reliable circle of friends will keep you on the right side of isolation. They don’t have to be singletons themselves; a good friend sticks around regardless of circumstances. Yes there’s that old chestnut that as you grow older your network dwindles but making friends is an ever evolving process. I never stop wanting to meet people because it opens doors- yes some of those doors have opened me up to crazies but you just need to develop a freak-proof screening process. Either way going solo doesn’t mean complete removal from society- otherwise you’d go mad!
There’s no place like home!
OK so yours may be a little emptier than others, but then there’s no other person to argue with over the feng shui nor position of the flat screen TV. As a one-(wo)man band, your home is your single sanctuary, the epicentre of your comfort zone and place of rest. So make it the most inviting it can be…to yourself. Personalise it with photos of past travels, family, friends or sage proverbs. If you love reading, keep a good bookshelf of your favourite stories. The list goes on but it’s one space that answers to no one but you.
Get some Pastimes to pass the time
Hobbies: Have them! Some people spend their whole lives with no passion outside of the pay cheque or family day-to-day drivel. Fortunately with more time on our hands, we can invest in our interests outside the 9-5. Photography, sport, art classes, dancing classes, and of course the best:
Travel- the world really is your oyster!
Ahh to not have your holidays restricted to school vacations, a partner’s conflicting work schedule nor child-friendly destinations- that is the freedom of singleton travelling! You can choose luxury or dial down to a budget experience, either way travel is a beautiful way to appreciate a wider world beyond the four walls of your single bedroom. As I love Italy I plan a yearly solo trip to Florence where I write (gotta keep up on those hobbies), discover new regions and meet some locals. I then use the rest of my time to explore other places and when it comes to choosing where, I really am not anchored by anything (except money) and it is the most liberating feeling ever
And you lived happily ever after!
A Buddhist monk once told me it’s not loneliness that is the problem, rather it’s the way you relate to it. In the end being a successful singleton isn’t about shutting out the possibilities of finding love nor being selfish. Rather it’s a more positive way to relate to what for many is a present day-situation that remains still a social taboo. We have enough to worry about, why add Cupid’s laziness to the load? Of course if you’re truly anxious about not being with someone then perhaps my tips will have made no impact. But if you’re wearing other people’s worries about singlehood, this guide will give you the push to shrug them off. It really is a personal choice but the way I see it is: Singledom- get busy living or get busy dying!