Getting Used To The Single Life? Here’s How To Embrace Solitude
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Elizabeth Miller. Find them on Instagram at @Lizzy_7979. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at email@example.com.
Maybe you’ve had a relationship just end, or maybe you’ve never dated at all, but coming to terms with being single can be difficult, especially when you’re in your 20s. While I see so many people my age wanting relationships, I have found myself steadily content with being single. Dating as a teenager and my journey of self-reflection taught me a lot about myself and how to enjoy being single in your 20s. As silly as this sounds, for a while, I was not sure how to explain this to my friends until I came across a meme reposted from Tumblr to Pinterest that showed the difference between loneliness and solitude. While getting to a place of enjoyed solitude took time and a lot of energy, I can confidently say that the payoff has been worth it. If you are wondering how to enjoy being single in your 20s, here’s what I’ve learned on my self-reflection journey.
Understanding Your Needs To Understand Yourself
One of the first things that helped me get to a state of solitude was reflecting on my needs. Everyone has different needs, such as physical needs, emotional needs, social needs and more. We take care of these areas in different ways. For example, we eat, sleep and exercise to fulfill our physical needs, let ourselves cry and laugh for our emotional needs and visit friends and family to meet our social needs. Meeting these needs for yourself is very beneficial. I feel my best when I eat regularly, drink lots of cold water, and do something creative every day. Think about what your needs are, and think about ways you can fulfill those needs.
Once your needs are fulfilled, you can reach a deeper level of understanding and connection with yourself. I learned so much more about my tastes, how I preferred to express myself, what goals I wanted to chase and what was holding me back. Once you understand your needs, you can start to question why you have those needs and how you can change your lifestyle to cater to them. Through self-discovery, you transform. This can be a long process, but it is completely worth it!
Solitude Is A Choice
So what does this have to do with solitude? First, we have to understand the difference between loneliness and solitude. The meme I saw by Jaakko Pallasvuo is a drawing of two dogs. One looks happy and walks holding its own leash, with solitude written underneath it. The other dog is tied with the leash to a pole and barks angrily. Loneliness is written underneath this dog. Through this, I realized that the difference between them was that solitude is being content and happy with yourself independently, and loneliness is a negative dependence on others rooted in self-rejection.
As you grow to understand yourself, you also have to put in the energy to accept yourself and love yourself. In the process of self-discovery, you take a lot of time getting to know yourself, almost like you are becoming your own friend. I realized in my own process that once I started prioritizing my relationship with myself, I could better figure out how I wanted to present myself in my friendships. My relationships with other people became more of an active choice in showing up for the other person, rather than my relationships being something I unstably depended on for validation of my character. That’s pretty deep! But, that is what solitude is. Solitude is a choice, and when I became comfortable with myself I could start sitting with myself alone and not needing anyone else there to mediate my relationship with myself. Like the dog in the meme, I was able to pick up my own leash.
So what do you do next? Treat yourself and enjoy life! You can do things with yourself happily alone. Or, you can explore the new ways you can connect with others by doing things with friends. Have a nice meal, visit a museum, take a nice walk. In this state, you can romanticize life without needing a romantic relationship. If or when you’re ready, you can take on a romantic relationship. For now, I’m content staying single.
Do you know how to enjoy being single in your 20s? Tell us in the comments below!