Redefining “single” for a new generation of leading ladies.
PHOTO: CATHERINE ABALOS.
Every group of girlfriends has the quintessential single friend. That’s me. I thought I’d have a boyfriend by the end of high school but by the middle of college I was still single-little-me. At that point, I went full throttle into single mode. I threw myself into school and extracurricular activities, studied abroad, and fostered new friendships.
This lifestyle served particularly well after I graduated and found that I was seemingly the last woman standing in L.A. amongst my college friends. Essentially, I had to start over in a city I’d lived in for four years; a place I was comfortable in was suddenly strange and unfamiliar.
While any strange place has the potential to ice a gal into loneliness, if you can embrace the newness and look inward you can turn any strange place into a home. With years of experience under my belt, I faced the obstacle of reclaiming L.A. head-on.
What I’ve come to learn is that your relationship with yourself is at the core of every other relationship. How you view and relate to yourself affects your connection with every other person in your life… your high school best friends, your college roommates, your parents, your colleagues, your significant other(s). Some of us take the time to explore this person when we’re single, but that doesn’t mean you should stop exploring once you are in a relationship. We are changing constantly, so we should be growing constantly.
It can be disheartening and scary to be “of a certain age” and still single. No one imagines their first serious relationship to happen in their late twenties. My own experience is that being social and dating, not necessarily being in relationships, contributes to a foundation for a healthy long-term relationship. Conversely, being a serial monogamist who makes the same mistakes over and over again is another way to find yourself unprepared to build that indispensable foundation. The goal is to ensure you are growing into the best version of yourself with the ability to handle those healthy relationships, whether or not you’re in a serious relationship.
Think about your single self as an opportunity to invest in a 401K. The sooner and more frequently you add funds (personal interests, meaningful friendships, fun carefree memories), the bigger the return when you are ready to settle down. In your twenties and thirties, you can invest in your single self even when you’re in a relationship. The key is to prioritize your personal growth always. If you are single but not taking advantage of your freedom or if you are in a relationship and using it as a crutch not to experience new things, then you are not putting your single self first. You never want to lose yourself in someone and not know who you are without him or her.
At the end of each day, when she rests her head on her pillow, the superbly single girl is content with whom and where she is—regardless of if she’s sleeping alone or next to someone else.
For the intents and purposes of The Single Diaries, “single” is synonymous with “independent.” Whether you’ve been living in your town for years or just moved to a new city, whether you are single or in a serious relationship, whether you have a solid group of girlfriends or are just starting to meet new ones, we invite you to channel your inner single girl and let her shine.
Catherine Abalos is a resident of Los Angeles and a founder of The Single Diaries.