In one month, I will turn the big 2-5, and guess what: I have no boyfriend or husband prospects anywhere on the horizon. Now, if you ask my mom or grandma, this probably means that my future is doomed to a life without love and a house full of cats. But, I couldn’t disagree more.
It seems like society and pop-culture is obsessed with pigeonholing the single 20-something woman as some poor, pitiful girl who can’t find a boyfriend. You see it all the time, in movies and “witty” articles: some pathetic single girl whose greatest joy and hobby is watching Netflix marathons and eating pizza as she drinks wine alone and cries on a Saturday night.
I, for one, am sick to death of this portrayal, and couldn’t be further from this stereotype. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I have been single for the past five years—by choice! This might sound crazy to some of you, but I think your 20s is the perfect time to be single.
Before you write me off as a man-hating loner, let me clarify. I do want to get married and have a family one day, and I don’t look down on anyone who has a significant other. I do believe, however, that being single is important and exhilarating and that maybe, just maybe, all us single girls aren’t just sitting around desperately hoping for Prince Charming. If you can fathom it, maybe we actually enjoy being single right now because it’s totally awesome! As my 25th birthday looms closer, I want to share my top 25 reasons why being single in your 20s is amazing.
1. You are totally and completely free. Your time and your decisions are all your own. You can do what you want, when you want, where you want.
2. You don’t have to answer to anyone, about anything. This is probably the only time in your entire life that this will be true. It is a luxury to answer to yourself and no one else—no parents, no spouse, no children.
3. You can travel. You can take that job across the country, pack your car and road trip to all the places you’ve always wanted to see, sell your belongings and backpack through Europe or just move to another country. You can do it, because right now you are living for you and no one else.
4. You can discover and create the woman you want to become. You can spend time figuring out who you really are and what you want out of life, and then you can go for it!
5. You can focus on your career (and not feel guilty for it). You can work late, change jobs, or move cities if you want.
6. You get the whole bed to yourself.
7. Your free time is all your own. You don’t have to go to brunch with the in-laws, or spend Sundays cleaning up after their buddies come over to watch football. You can spend your time reading, finding new hobbies, learning a new language, or hanging out with your friends.
8. Your accomplishments (and failures) are all your own.
9. You can date. Date a little, or date a lot, whatever you desire. You can try different kinds of people and find romance with anyone you fancy.
10. You can be that typical single girl, who loves pizza and Netflix on a Saturday night, and that’s OK too!
11. You don’t have to shave or put on makeup all the time if you don’t want to. How nice is that?
12. You can flirt and be promiscuous if you want. You can have crushes and kiss strangers—it’s all about having fun.
13. You can spend time getting to know your family again, as an adult. You don’t have to split holidays with your partner’s family or spend your weekends with their commitments. You can spend quality time and holidays with your loved ones and build stronger, more adult relationships with them.
14. You learn to be independent in every sense of the word. You only have yourself to rely on and it pushes you to grow and figure out things on your own.
15. There’s no drama or BS or heartbreak. (At least of the romance variety.)
16. You learn to better appreciate the people that you do have, who love and support you unconditionally.
17. Nothing holds you back from any opportunity. You are your first priority.
18. You learn about loving yourself and you don’t rely on anyone else for your happiness.
19. You get to decorate your own place and have your own space.
20. You build skills that will make you a better person and a better partner for when you find the right person. You learn to cook, budget, and be independent and comfortable on your own.
21. You can experiment and make mistakes. You can chop your hair off, try a new style, get lost and find yourself again.
22. You have time to be creative and explore your passions.
23. You learn to love your body the way it is and don’t have to worry about it all the time.
24. You never know what the next day may bring, whom you will meet or where you will go because the world is your oyster. Life is one big adventure.
25. You don’t have to take life so seriously. There is plenty of time to worry about the stresses of settling down, but right now you can just enjoy being young, single, and free.
Alyssa Zickenberg is a San Francisco-based journalist with a passion for travel and adventure. When she’s not daydreaming about her next trip, she spends her time writing lifestyle and health pieces for a number of women’s publications. She has a weak spot for record stores, a good vegetarian dish, and man buns. You can follow Alyssa and view more of her writing and photography on Twitter, @Azickenberg.