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The Joys of Being Single

It’s time to let go of pre-conditioned notions that being ‘hitched’ = being happy, and that  being single = being on the eternal search for ‘the one’.

It all starts with the raging hormones of puberty: you begin to feel those strange butterflies in your tummy when a certain someone walks in the room. ‘Why do I suddenly feel so self-conscious around them?’, you wonder. After a while, you learn labels for these feelings: ‘attraction’, ‘crush’, ‘desire’ and so on. As we grow up, the pressure to couple-up grows too. All around, you see your friends getting into relationships of different sorts, pursuing hook-ups like rabid monkeys, and falling in and out of ‘love’ as quickly as they change clothes. Whether you’re a serial dater, never been in what you’d deem a ‘serious relationship’, or have experienced more heartbreak than you’d wished for– the journey of dating and relationships is long, winding, complicated… and unique for each of us. 

In India, the idea of dating quickly morphes into the pressure of marriage, as early as your late teens and twenties. The conditioning that you’re only worth as much as your future “marriage prospects” is drilled in – a notion deeply embedded into our society. “Don’t wait too long– all the good boys will be gone”, says Aunty X. “Don’t spend all your time on your career, when will you find a good husband?”, all too many women have heard. For men too, the pressure to be with the “right girl”– one who fits the bill of a wife that ticks the family boxes, and gets your friends’ nod of approval– and subsequently to provide for them, is very real. In our world, many believe that life without shaadi = barbaadi, and you literally only get a seat at the table if you’ve got a ring on your finger.

On a personal level, being single can sometimes feel like playing a game of musical chairs from hell, where your peers have quickly and comfortably grabbed their seats, and you’re left scrambling. But contrary to what you may have been led to believe: you’re not a stock, with a declining ‘value’. Nor a bot with a ticking biological clock. You’re human. And your worth is NOT measured by your relationship status. 

While being in a relationship can be beautiful and life-changing, being single can be as profoundly fulfilling. Here are some reasons why we think it’s time to savour, relish and enjoy time with ourselves. 

Self-reflection leads to self-love

We’ve been conditioned  to always need something, someone, or somewhere external to make us feel “whole”, but it’s not always a straightforward answer on what that something, someone or somewhere might be. For many, the typical definition of marriage doesn’t fit the bill. Whatever it is you’re looking for, and whatever your purpose in life is– the only way to find it is through self-reflection. It’s not up to someone else to tell you what’s right for you. Being single is an opportunity to dig deep and understand yourself.  It allows you to face the darkest corners and thoughts of your mind, and hold yourself in compassion as you work through them.  

More individual autonomy

Being single means there’s one person in the driver’s seat: You. Without the responsibility and obligation of another person impacting your every decision, you can live your life the way you want. Enjoy and embrace this freedom in 2022– travel solo, explore more, learn something new, move to a new country or job on a whim, be selfish with your time, spend it with your family, friends, or whoever you want to, prioritise your hobbies. The world is literally your oyster, and being single is a great way to experience it. 

Also read: Best Self-Help Books That Actually Help You Get Over A Heartbreak

You do you in 2022

"Self sex is safe sex.” – Miley Cyrus 

Given that we’re spending all this time by ourselves, we’d be crazy not to relish and enjoy the joys of masturbation (more on this soon). Masturbating and taking the time to understand your body can be blissful (just ask your adolescent self). Whether you’re going old school with your hands and fingers, or taking things a little high tech with some good vibrations, flying solo can unlock a whole world of pleasure that doesn’t necessarily require another pair of hands. Being single also means you get to explore new sexual experiences with other partners, if that’s what you desire. Traversing the spectrum of sexuality is a journey that’s mind-opening and critical to self-growth. Learn to love, the way you like. 

Letting go of old beliefs

Whether you dear reader are married, single, divorced, separated, polyamourous, aromantic, or in some undefinable cult, we really don’t mind. But no matter your relationship status/ label, it’s time to let go of tired old notions and embrace new ways of being. PSA:

Married folk: Don’t look at your single friends with pity– ask them about their careers, passions, or a million other aspects of their life. 

Single folk: Don’t compare yourself to others. Keep going after what makes you happy, whether that’s a relationship, a kickass promotion or the pursuit of multiple orgasms.

It’s time we reframe our perspectives, forget about old standards, gender roles or norms that dictate how we “should be”, and set our own standards (and keep ’em high). 

There’s only this moment- let’s enjoy it. 

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