10 Things Every Single Woman Should Do

10 Things Every Single Woman Should Do

Shh, don’t spill the beans, but single women are actually, secretly, living the life.

Well, not all of us. Some of us are married women deep down who just haven’t found their husbands (or properly wrangled their boyfriends). That segment of the single population is trying to live the married life in a single status, and that’s usually a recipe for unhappiness. But for all of the intentionally single women, life can be amazing.

So if you’re a single lady and you aren’t enjoying yourself, it’s time to start really living the single life. How? I’m glad you asked.

1. Adopt a pet.

10 Things Every Single Woman Should Do - Adopt a PetNo, it doesn’t have to be a cat (but really, why wouldn’t you want a cat?). Rescuing a pet from a shelter is an incredibly rewarding experience. Yes, they’re messy, costly, and time-consuming, but the cost-benefit ratio is generally pretty high. You may not want a hoard of screaming kids or a nagging spouse, but it can be nice to come home to a warm, furry critter who wants nothing more from life than a bowl of food and a tummy rub.

2. Keep your home (relatively) clean.

10 Things Every Single Woman Should Do - Keep Your Home (Relatively) CleanThis isn’t to please your mother or impress your neighbors, it’s to keep your home an enjoyable place to be. When you live by yourself, you reign in your own castle. Piles of dirty dishes and unfolded laundry kind of diminish that. Make your home a sanctuary by keeping it as pristine as possible.

3. Play music you enjoy.

10 Things Every Single Woman Should Do - Play Music You EnjoyYou want to know one of the best things about living alone? You can listen to whatever you want, whenever you want (as long as it’s not loud enough to annoy the neighbors). Remember what I said about your home being your castle? Strike up the chamber orchestra as you do your daily chores. You’ll be amazed at home much more comforting your home becomes.

4. Eat your favorite foods.

10 Things Every Single Woman Should Do - Eat Your Favorite FoodsI knew a woman once who lived by herself, but still felt compelled to eat the traditional breakfast and dinner foods she was raised with, even though she didn’t really like them. Why? It wasn’t an issue of money or nutrition, she simple felt like she was supposed to.

Don’t let that be you. You are your own boss when it comes to meals, so eat whatever you want (as long as it won’t send you to an early grave).

5. Drink your favorite drinks.

10 Things Every Single Woman Should Do - Drink Your Favorite DrinksThis includes wine all by your lonesome or Mondo Blast Chillers if that’s your thing. Nothing is ‘for kids’ or only for certain social occasions. So what if your roommate thinks it’s strange? You don’t have to work around anyone else’s tastes, so just work with your own. While you’re at it, drink right from the carton. Because you can.

6. Respect your time.

10 Things Every Single Woman Should Do - Respect Your TimeIf you don’t respect your own time, no one else will. So if your boss tries to tell you that you can work late, “Because it’s not like you have anyone waiting for you,” tell them that you had plans anyway. (Unless you want to work late and get that extra pay – that’s up to you.) Contrary to popular belief, being single doesn’t mean you’re available for everyone else’s convenience.

7. Decorate your home

10 Things Every Single Woman Should Do - Decorate Your HomeThis goes back again to your home being your castle. If there’s one thing single, childfree women do that gets on my nerves, it’s staring longingly at Pinterest, gazing at nurseries, playrooms, or even kitchens and thinking, “If only I could do that.”

Hello? You can. If you live alone, you don’t even need to get anyone’s permission. If you like the toy display, dig out your old stuffed animals and make the toy display. If you like the 50s kitchen theme, do it. It’s not actually 1950, so you don’t need to cook for a husband to have a nice kitchen.

8. Have a hobby.

10 Things Every Single Woman Should Do - Have a HobbyI’m all in favor of getting home and turning on Netflix, but without the familial responsibilities that married women and moms have, it’s easy to spend the entire night wrapped up in a Dr. Who marathon. Use some of that extra time to work on a new skill or craft. Take up an instrument. Start a garden. Give yourself more variety on your after-work hours, and you’ll probably enjoy life a lot more.

9. Volunteer.

10 Things Every Single Woman Should Do - VolunteerNot to sound preachy, but we single women should be putting some of that free time toward improving the lives of others. You’ve already done well by not popping out more babies, but the babies irresponsible parents already dropped off still need help. Consider sharing your time with a disadvantaged girl through Big Brothers Big Sisters, or doing something less long-term like volunteering at a soup kitchen. Truth be told, we have the time that moms and married women don’t, as well as a social obligation to contribute.

10. Date only if you feel like it.

10 Things Every Single Woman Should Do - Date Only If You Want ToAnd finally, one of the most important things for a single women to do is to only date if she wants to. If you do want to go out, great! It’s not too difficult to have some enjoyable relationships once you say, “I’m not looking to get married,” so have fun. But if that’s not what you’re looking for, don’t let anyone pressure you into it. You’re single because you want to be, and if anyone thinks you’re lying or tries to hook you up, just thank them for the effort and carry on.

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Nope, Still Not There

No, I still don’t want kids, and I’m not going to have them.

What? You don't want kids?
What? You don’t want kids?

If you’re a childfree woman, you’ve almost certainly been told that you need to have children. That you’ll regret it if you don’t. That you secretly want children deep, deep down inside.

If you’re beginning to feel like it might not be so bad to give in to the pressure and have a kid, consider the following.

In an interview on NPR, author Ann Patchett shares what it feels like when friends, family, and strangers tell her she wants a baby, but just doesn’t know it yet.

It would be like if somebody said, “Your car keys are in the drawer.”

And you go and you open the drawer, and not only are your car keys not in the drawer, there’s nothing in the drawer. The drawer is empty.

keysAnd you come back and you say, “The keys aren’t in the drawer.”

And they say, “No, go back and look again. They are in the drawer.”

And you go back and you open the drawer and it is empty. And that’s how I always felt. Like people were always saying to me, “Go back and look again. Examine the inner contents of your heart, you will find it.”

And I never did.

Even if a childfree woman can convince someone that this is true, they’ll probably say that, even though you don’t want children, you’ll regret not having them. For me personally, there’s never been anything in my life that I didn’t want, and later regretted not going out and getting anyway. There have been things I wanted, but talked myself out of. There have been things I wanted but was unable to have. But never has there been some Thing that, having no desire for it, I later wish I’d gotten.

Finally there’s the idea that having a baby is just something a woman should do. I very fervently disagree. No one should have a baby unless they deeply want one. Having a child you don’t really want (but plan to love and care for as though you did) is like switching the career you like for one that you don’t enjoy, because so many people are telling you that you’ll like it once you have it, and you’ll regret it if you don’t switch now. Imagine the following exchange:

This was a mistake.
This was a mistake.

“But I don’t want to be a marine biologists. I don’t really have a passion for sea life at all. I’m really pretty indifferent to it.”

“Listen, your window of opportunity is closing. If you don’t quit your job, go back to school, and start this new career now, you’ll regret it later. And besides, you’ll love marine life once it’s in your care.”

You would think the second person is crazy, and that the first person is even crazier if she takes this advice. Devoting the next 18+ years of your physical and emotional life to something you don’t actually desire, but worry you may regret not having later on, is (I’m sorry) very foolish.

To use Ann Patchett’s analogy, the keys aren’t going to suddenly materialize in the drawer just because someone else expects them to. Even if you are persuaded to believe that they’re actually there, and open the drawer (for the hundredth time), this time fully expecting them to be there, they still won’t be there.

Creating a new human being and raising it isn’t like buying a blouse that you’re not sure about. You can’t just send it to the thrift store a year later when you realize you never wanted it (but the discount made you feel like it’d be a mistake not to get it).

In fact, it’s not even like buying a house. “It’s an investment!” people tell you. “You’ll save so much money in the long run, you should buy one now.” If you buy a house when you don’t want one (or really can’t afford one), the very worst scenario is that it goes into foreclosure and you file for bankruptcy.

bankruptAnd if that sounds like a pretty bad worst case scenario, pause for a moment and consider what you’ll feel like  when you realize you’ve spent two-hundred and forty-five thousand dollars on something that, though it’s nice, you never really wanted.

The financial and emotional costs are worthwhile if it’s for something you genuinely, deeply desire. But if it’s for something that someone else tells you you might regret later? That there is just a bad decision, any way you look at it.

When it comes to creating a new human, “How bad could it be?” is not a smart approach. If you don’t want children, for the sake of yourself and your unborn, hypothetical offspring, don’t be bullied into it.

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The Single, Introverted Woman

Why drinking alone is perfectly fine.

The Single, Introverted Woman

We all know the sad image of the lone woman arriving home to an empty house after work. She pets her cat(s), microwaves a meal, and spends the rest of the evening watching TV all by her poor, lonely self. She has dozens of take out menus, no friends’ numbers on speed dial, and the only person she talks to regularly is her mother (who, incidentally, wants to know when she’s going to get married and have kids). Poor, sad woman.

With no reason to exist, the Single Woman spends most of her free time sleeping in the trappings of her loneliness.
With no reason to exist, the Single Woman spends most of her free time sleeping atop piles of her own loneliness.

The only thing sadder is when the deluded soul thinks she’s actually happy. How she needs someone to show up in her life who’ll show her that there’s more to living than just being alive.

And on, and on.

Lacking any real companionship, the Single Woman's only friend is streaming TV.
Lacking any real companionship, the Single Woman’s only friend is streaming TV.

The only real problem with this image is that for some women, that’s exactly what an ideal life looks like. The introverted woman doesn’t secretly crave society. Secretly, she’s delighted to come home to a blissfully empty house, her favorite food, and her favorite show. She’s had to tolerate loud, complaining people all day long, and doesn’t want to muster the energy to go out drinking.

The Single Woman cannot take part in social dining, so she subsists on takeout food, which she hurriedly snatches from the delivery driver.
The Single Woman cannot take part in social dining, so she subsists on takeout food, which she hurriedly snatches from the delivery driver.

The friends who nag her to come out with them have her best interests at heart, but they just don’t understand that relaxing and social interaction are completely antithetical to her. While they’re bored and saddened by silence, she’s renewed by it. While they’re energized by a night at the club, it drains her to her core.

How the Single Woman longs for her coworkers to force her into boisterous social gatherings. How deeply she desires a mate.
How the Single Woman longs for her coworkers to force her into boisterous social gatherings. How deeply she desires a mate.

So where did this image of the sad, lonely woman come from? Why is it that a solitary woman sipping wine in front of Netflix is a pathetic sight? Did extroverts invent it? Is it a by-product of the patriarchy?

Well, probably a little of both. When we grow up with the idea that being popular and in a good marriage are the best ways to be happy, anyone not in those situations is bound to be seen by most as unhappy. And most people don’t like to see others unhappy.

See how the Single Woman puts on a brave facade, trying to convince herself that she is happy with her self-determined life, that she does not require another to complete her existence.
See how the Single Woman puts on a brave facade, trying to convince herself that she is happy with her self-determined life, that she does not require another to complete her existence.

But here’s the thing. We’re not unhappy. We love our own company. We love creating in solitude, and we love the few, close friendships we have. And – truth be told – we love our cats. For some, living (and drinking) alone isn’t a wretched existence we pretend to enjoy to avoid pity. It’s an ideal existence that we genuinely delight in. And in all likelihood we wouldn’t enjoy being married with kids. That would be the wretched existence we’d have to pretend to enjoy to avoid public scorn.

So don’t pity the single, introverted woman. Just say hello in a passing text message, then leave her to enjoy her day.

Really, though. Don't try to drag us to the club. We're fine.
Really, though. Don’t try to drag us to the club. We’re fine.

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