I got a bittersweet phone call from one of my sister-friends (a bff who’s like a sister) a few days ago. She just landed a social advocacy opportunity in Thailand and will be gone for two years. My other sister-friend practices law in D.C., and I do editorial work in NYC and Jersey.
We all started out together—three wide-eyed, outgoing girls in a small Georgian suburb. While it was our drive and spontaneous personalities that led us thousands of miles away from our hometown, it was our freedom from serious committed relationships and children that made it possible.
I’m not saying that tying the knot and/or having cute little rug-rats completely eliminates your experiences, but it certainly does impact them. Growing up in a small, southern, conservative suburb, it was common for my more “traditional” peers to jokingly comment about my “Ms. Independent” ways. Every time I’d meet a guy who was half-way decent, my homegirls would encourage me to “hold on to him” because “he’s a keeper.” They’d say things like, “Girl, you’re gonna end up alone if you keep on.”
I dated, but I intentionally didn’t let dating consume my life while so young; I wanted something bigger. I wanted–and still do–everything life could possibly offer!
If you’re the kind of girl who truly longs for the wifey/mommy life right out of college or by the time you’re 30, that’s completely okay. But if you’re not, that’s completely okay too!
Sometimes I feel like society and even our loved ones who mean no harm can pressure us to take on our “roles,” as if time for being a wife and/or mother is winding down. In fact, I actually feel that my friends and acquaintances are the ones missing out. They’re in serious commitments and/or have kids, so they can’t take full advantage of the same leisure lifestyle that I can enjoy.
Check out some of the advantages of the single and free chick:
• Traveling when you want
• Extra money
• Wholeheartedly focusing on career and/or school
• Saying yes to opportunities that require immediate change
• Taking a pay-cut for jobs that you’re more interested in and passionate about
• Not having to explain your decisions to anyone
• Dating who you want with no obligation or expectancy
• Truly discovering who you are as an individual without the direct influence of someone else
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We’re in a day and age where things, including our “roles,” are changing. We don’t have to be booed up and knocked up until we’re ready. My mom often tells me, “I wish I would have had the freedom to explore and live on my own like you do.”
Too many times, I’ve seen my homegirls get stuck in relationships where they’re so attached and unable to live their lives as individuals. The world is big, and I think it’s wise to indulge in some of its offerings as a single and free person. Not to mention, when you’re a young adult, for many of us it’s the very first time we actually call our own shots on our own terms.
And doing just that helps you handle pressure and responsibility, allows you to know what you like and don’t like, shows you how you react to conflict and you’re aware of what you’re capable of doing by yourself, etc.
I asked some of my “single and free” as well as some of my “booed up and/or mommy’d up” friends the pros on taking advantage of independent life:
• “I love my baby, but I wish I would have waited a few years so that I could have gone away to school.”
• “I know that my boyfriend is the one, but sometimes I wish I wasn’t so attached to him. I’d probably be living on the other side of the country running my own boutique [laughs].”
• “I love my life and I’m glad my sisters shared their experiences of marriage and motherhood with me. They encouraged me to ‘see the world’ on my own while I could.”
• “I respect women who marry or move in with their dude while young. And I have the upmost respect for mothers. For me though, I know that day will come when it’s time. I’m not rushing it at all. I like the luxury of being selfish and meeting new people I would have never expected to meet.”
Being “single and free” is not a disadvantage; it’s actually an awesome experience. Don’t feel pressured to rush your freedom out of fear that you’ll miss out on the family experience. Men will be here forever and thanks to egg-freezing technology, you can have babies later too. The only thing that has a time limit is your ability to have “single and free” experiences! Enjoy them! .
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