My Advice For Single People

My Advice For Single People | gimmesomeoven.com/life

Annnnd, we’re back!  After six months of radio silence on the topic of singleness, I’m feeling like writing about it again.  Partly because I’ve been getting all inspired and fired up and rah-rah-fist-pump-ish lately about some things I want to share with you.  But also partly because I really want to hear more of what you think on the topic of singleness.  Because I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — your feedback continues to be my favorite part of this series.  Really.

I’m still not sure how literally tens of thousands of people continue to stumble upon this series on singleness, but man, I’m honored that you have.  I’ve been so impressed by the emails and comments that continue to pour in daily.  I wish I had more time to respond, but I read every one, and I’m so grateful for your encouragement and honest thoughts and the kick-ass stories you share.  And I must say, it’s always refreshing to know that there are people like you out there pioneering this brave new world modern of singleness in such creative and confident and empowering ways.  So yeah, just wanted to say thanks for that.  And by all means, keep at it!

Alright, back to the topic at hand.  Being single.  Since I happen to still be single, I thought it would be fun to write today about one of the most amusing requests that I have been receiving at least once or twice a month lately from readers — for “advice” on being single.  It always feels like an enormous open-ended question, but I’ll admit, it always makes me very happy because I not-so-secretly happen to love giving advice.  (When asked, of course.)  I have so many things I could say!

But lately, there has been one particular soapbox piece of advice I’ve found myself coming back to again and again:

My Advice For Single People | gimmesomeoven.com/life

That’s it – MAKE PLANS.

Big plans.  Small plans.  Fun plans.  Scary plans.  Practical plans.  Crazy plans.

Just get busy making good ones.

And lots of them.

I don’t know about you, but I am ready to retire that overly-mentioned (and mis-attributed) quote about how “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”.  Sure, I get the point.  But when it comes to the single life, I wholeheartedly disagree, and think the opposite is true.  You’ve got to get busy making plans!!  Because if you wait to do so, you’re going to miss out on some seriously cool “life” happening.  Which would be a major loss — both for you, and for world who needs you to live your one wild and precious life to the fullest.

I say this of course, as with many things on the topic of singleness, from experience.

The Non-Making Of Plans

You see, I’ve always been someone who loves making plans.  I geek out on brainstorming everything from my daily schedule, to goals galore, to epic vacations, to new business ideas, to how I am going to eat As Much Chips And Salsa As Possible while living in Austin next month.  (Bring it on!)  I love having conversations and reading books and listening to podcasts about making plans.  I love shopping for new planners to make plans.  I love taking regular retreats and spontaneously flying off to conferences that are all about making plans.  Granted, I’m always not the best at following through on all of these grand ideas, but oh man, I’m a pro at coming up with ’em.

HOWEVER.

Singleness has this infuriating way of sometimes making me forget important parts of who I am.  And for too many years in my twenties, I’ll be the first to confess that the planner in me took a backseat, and I somehow let myself slip into this posture of waiting for exciting things to happen in my life rather than actually getting busy making them happen myself.  Don’t get me wrong — it wasn’t anything hugely dramatic, and on the surface, my life was still exciting and full and moving “forward”.  It was more a subconscious shift inside of me to kind of put some dreams on hold and play it safe.

I’m not entirely sure why.  Part of that may have been due to spending years in a Christian culture around singleness that romanticized and focused too much on the topic of waiting, often subtly turning proactivity into the enemy of contentedness.  (Another blog post for another time.)  Part of that may have been my belief for many years that marriage was juuuust around the corner waiting for me, which for some reason I assumed might throw a kink into any big or long-term plans I had in the works.  Part of it may have been, quite frankly, that I just didn’t see many single people around me making big and exciting plans and chasing after them.  Part of it may have just been my fear of failure, or going at it alone.   But let’s be real, part of it was sometimes me getting all huffy/sad/mad/annoyed/impatient about the fact that my “plan” to take over the world do cool stuff with a stellar guy by my side just wasn’t happening.

Anyone relate?

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t really anything dramatic or a conscious choice.  I’ve always lived a full life that I enjoyed and believed I could do what I put my mind to.  No, it was more a subtle shift over the early years of my twenties, slowly but surely putting a few dreams on hold and playing it safe.  I think it can be an easy place for single people to fall into if we’re not careful.  And I actually do mean easy.

It’s easy to get all whiny and come up with 1000 reasons why being single is unfair.  It’s easy to justify staying in a job you hate, just because you don’t have a second income to fall back upon if you take that big leap.  It’s easy to procrastinate that dream backpacking trip around New Zealand because you don’t have “anyone to go with”.  It’s easy to give up on buying a house in that neighborhood you love, just because you might have to save and work harder for it on just one income.  It’s easy to point the finger at why certain things might seem (keyword: seem) easier for friends who are paired up.  It’s easy to play it safe, put things off, make excuses, feel bitter, get depressed, give up.  Believe me, I’ve been there.

But oh, friends.  If you happen to be someone who finds yourself stuck in that loop lately, I wish that I could take you out for a drink and give you a big hug, because I know it can be rough.  But you know what I also know?  “Easy” is for the birds.  If you want to live an exciting story of a life that’s filled with awesome characters, cool adventures, obstacles overcome, meaningful work, and cool endings all over the place, you’ve got to do reject “easy” and do the hard (and way more exciting) work of getting the ball rolling.

You’ve got to make plans.

The MAKING Of Plans

Make plans for how you want to live out today.  Make plans for tomorrow.  Make plans for this month.  Make plans for this year.  Better yet, start dreaming up plans for the next few decades.

Make plans about the sort of work you want to do, and the professional legacy you want to leave in this world.  Make plans for where you want to live, what sort of house and city feels like “home”, and what it’ll take to get there.  Make plans for where you want to go — everywhere from which restaurant you want to eat at this weekend, to what bucket list countries you want to visit in the next 5, 15, 50 years — and recruit people to come with or go solo.  Make plans for how you want to grow, what things you want to study, what skills you want to conquer.  Make plans for how you want to give, and serve others, and make this world a better place.  Make plans for your body, how you hope to care for it, how to be healthy both physically and mentally.  Make plans about the kind of community and relationships you want to surround yourself with, and then seek out those people and love them, and invest in them, and be vulnerable with them, and live life closely with them.

Make plans that feel totally do-able.  Make plans that feel wild and crazy and risky.  Make plans that you can do on your own.  Make plans that require the help of others.  Make plans that you’ll be proud to look back on later.  Make plans that make your heart beat fast.

I could go on, but you get the picture.  Just make plans.

Why It’s Crucial

Making plans gives you something to look forward to.  I know it sounds obvious, but lemme tell you, I have talked to too many single people who say that their futures feel like a huge, looming question mark.  Guys!  Too many question marks about your future can make life feel scary and paralyzing and no fun.  You’ve gotta have cool plans in the works to look forward to!  And those plans have got to be able to happen while — or even better, because — you’re still single.  They can’t just be the “back-up plans”.  Figure out what will make your life feel full and meaningful and exciting and good, and then take steps to make that a reality.  Even better, pull some of your closest friends and family into that conversation so that they can get excited about your future with you, and also help cheer for you on the days when it feels hard.

This is totally cheesy, but I feel like I learned a lot about this back in my early days as a piano teacher.  After sitting in lesson after lesson, it didn’t take long to figure out that students were 500% more likely to practice and work hard during the week if they were playing music that they loved.  If they hated the music or felt forced to practice it, they got stuck and started to dread the piano.  On the flip side, when we played the songs on the radio that they loved, they would be totally motivated and actually look forward to practicing and mastering that Coldplay lick and coming to lesson to show it to me.  And then that momentum would carry them on to the next song, and the next…

You get the parallel.  I think the same goes for the single life.  Figure out the cool stuff that makes you excited to wake up in the morning, and I promise you’ll be that much more inspired to make it happen, single and all.

Making plans forces you to think through your future, and with that, confront fears about your future.   Alright.  Let’s be real, I know that it’s easy to get all “rah-rah” and excited about the future in theory.  But the reality is that most people probably don’t spend time making plans for the future because that requires thinking about the future.  And there are some very real anxieties that can rear their heads when we actually try and visualize living life solo for the long term.  I’ll offer myself as an example.  It can feel like a punch in the gut to imagine turning 40 and being single, without a husband to have shared life together in our thirties, and facing the incredibly real possibility of not having kids of my own.  It can feel disappointing to think about turning 60, and not having someone by my side to raise a glass to retirement and start moving into the next phase of life together.  It can be depressing to think about turning 80 and not having someone by my side who unconditionally loves me, even when our looks and memories and health have long since faded.

It’s easier just not to think about that, and the thousand of other little ways that it would be hard to face the next 5, 15 or 50 years alone.  I totally know that I could do it and make the best of it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it still feels hard and frustrating and even a little scary at times.

But you know what?  There’s something about even just writing that last paragraph that somehow makes it all seem a little less scary.  Because that’s the thing about fear — it thrives in secrecy, in the darkness, in avoidance.  But if you bring those fears out into the light of day, it instantly zaps them of some of their power.  And even better, the more you share those fears with good friends, family members, therapists, the more you begin to have power over them.

And in this case, instead of worrying about the “what if’s” in turning 40, I can start thinking about how that is the year I’d like to take a trip down the South American coast like in The Motorcycle Diaries.  Or how when I turn 70, I want to parachute out of a plane like my grandfather.  Or how this Valentine’s Day, I’m going to eat Mexican food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with friends, and end the day with my favorite mango-jalapeno margaritas in Austin.  Fear?  Be gone.

Making plans is a win-win.  It really is, because here’s the options:

You stay single?  Great, you’ve got cool stuff in the works.  You meet someone?  Great, you’ll reassess together and figure out how to make things work.

Seriously, I have heard too many people assume over the years that getting married is going to completely uproot big plans that they’ve made.  You know what?  It might.  But more likely, it probably will not.  You want to build that house?  Do it, chances are good that he might move in with you.  You want to go to med school or start a time-intensive new career?  You can do it, you and your spouse will just have to work together to make the time crunch work for that season of life.  You want to travel internationally each year?  Make that bucket list, because if your spouse can’t always make it, you can go solo or bring friends!  You want to start eating vegan, or get a dog, or get out of debt, or move cities, or go on tour with your band?  Do it!  Don’t wait!

Because lest any single people ever forget, when you meet someone great, you’ll both want to figure out a game plan that makes one another happy.  So drop the “what ifs” and just go for it!

Making plans is HOT.  Ahem.  I’m all for tall, dark and handsome.  But guys who are living out thoughtful lives, pursuing meaningful work, cultivating great community with friends and family, taking risks, pushing themselves to grow, and setting cool goals for the future?

H-o-t.

(And girls, don’t you ever let someone tell you that ambition’s not attractive in you too!)

Finally, if you make cool plans, it’ll inspire other people to make cool plans.  And the world will have single people to thank for making this world a much cooler place.

So get busy!

Don’t “wait around” for your life to start.  Make plans.  And make them happen.

My Advice For Single People | gimmesomeoven.com/life

For more on the topic of being single, check out these posts:

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Comments

  1. Lorri — January 27, 2015 @ 5:45 am (#)

    This is great advice! Following my divorce (I was newly single at 32, four kids – super fun times!) I spent three or four years kind of waiting to get married again. Part of me was Scared. Too. Death of imagining a life where I was the sole breadwinner and caretaker of my family. After a lot of internal struggles I finally embraced being independent and did just as you suggested – I made plans. I put my financial house (destroyed by the divorce) in order, enrolled in grad school to work toward a master’s degree (a personal dream), bought my own home (another big dream) and embraced life as a single mom. When I stopped living in fear I became a new person. I would still like to get married eventually, but I no longer keep it on my radar the way I used to.  If it’s gonna happen, it will happen, in the meantime, I have a really full and rich life that I adore! 

  2. Maryea {happy healthy mama} — January 27, 2015 @ 5:48 am (#)

    I am not single, but I enjoyed reading this and think the advice is spot on.  I have seen too many single people (especially when I was in my 20s) kind of waiting to really live until they met “the one.” I think it’s so important to live while you are single and not just be waiting or looking forward to the next thing.  Experience life!
    Last night my daughter opened a book that I had before I was married and had my maiden name in it.  She asked about it and I told her it was from when I was a teacher before I married Daddy.  She looked confused and said, “How do you live without a husband? Isn’t it hard? Did you have to do everything?”  I was shocked that her little brain went in that direction (she’s 6) and it made me realize how much teaching I have to do to help her value independence as a woman. I guess it’s just outside of her world right now as this is the only life she’s seen.  I was not married super young and I value that time I had as a single woman living my life and dreams apart from another person.  Someday I’ll help her to see that it’s okay to live and not be married. :)  

  3. Jason — January 27, 2015 @ 5:56 am (#)

    Well said! The process of making plans and executing them is exactly what I’ve been doing. When I found myself suddenly divorced it would have been easy to give up on the activities that I enjoyed. Once I had healed I realized that there was truly nothing getting in the way of my pursuing certain activities. I really love to travel, so I discovered a community of people that call themselves ‘travel hackers’ and discovered how they travel. That enabled me to travel less expensively and take more trips. By making big plans and then executing them I’ve seen more of the world than I ever thought possible. It’s true that I’ve gone by myself (granted, easier for a guy)  but it’s not in my nature to stop myself from creating memorable experiences just because I’d be going solo.

    Plan it and then do it. In the end you’ll have a great story and maybe even some pictures to go with it. 

  4. Samantha — January 27, 2015 @ 6:29 am (#)

    I don’t know what I was expecting when I clicked onto this post but wow.  Thanks for writing such a lovely, well thought out and never “preachy” post about being single.  I’ve just turned 23 and a whole load of people I know around he same age have started getting engaged.  I, on the other hand, am single and living alone in another country!  I love to see other people on board with my philosophy of going out and doing whatever it is you want to do.

  5. Cookbook Queen — January 27, 2015 @ 6:54 am (#)

    Yes. I love this 1000%. Old married lady here, but it all still applies :)

  6. Michelle @ Feed Me I'm Hungry — January 27, 2015 @ 8:34 am (#)

    I am actually married with two kids…. But I wanted to mention your advice is great for the paired up folks too! One of the things I’ve found is that life can become boring and stagnant with a family as easily as being single. Plans are the key to making life, single or paired up, into an amazing life. If you wait for life to bring you amazing things, well occasionally it will, but more often it will bring mundane routine. This is true of paired up life as well as the single life I think. You definitely have to plan those dreams, goals, and awesome experiences yourself, or there’s a very real chance they won’t happen. 

  7. Jessica — January 27, 2015 @ 8:41 am (#)

    I’m in a relationship now, but I spent much of my 20s a single lady. My mom always told me to wait until I was 30 to get married and make sure that I did everything I wanted to do first, because husbands can keep you from doing them. It’s funny that some people have the complete opposite perspective that you have to have the guy to do the things you want to do.

    I didn’t do as many big things as I wanted to when I was single, mostly just because I was broke and felt I couldn’t justify racking up large debts to travel the world and whatnot. But I am so glad that I went out and lived on my own and figured out my career. I learned how to take care of myself, and it makes me so much more appreciative to have someone now who can help. But I can cook a damn good meal, I can do basic repairs around the house and on my car, I can deal with my finances, I can handle being a pet parent. I can pick up and move to a new city. All on my own. And I’m not sure I would be so confident if I’d always had a guy to fall back on when those things needed done. 

    I read an article recently about the idea that marriage can either be a cornerstone or a capstone. You can either get married when you’re just starting out and you can figure out the scary life stuff together, or you can get your ish together and get married when you’re feeling stable. There are pros and cons to either side, but I am personally so grateful that I ended up taking the capstone route. I feel like I’ve learned so much more about myself and become a much stronger, more fully realized version of myself than I ever could have been if I had married the guy I was dating in college. Being single after college forced me to learn a lot of lessons about my priorities and it forced me to go out and meet different kinds of people I’d have missed out on otherwise. It wasn’t always easy, but it was ultimately what I needed to be the best version of myself. 

  8. Christine — January 27, 2015 @ 8:44 am (#)

    YES. I’m happily in a relationship now, but one of the things that I’m most grateful for is that before I met my boyfriend: I made plans. I did the things I wanted to do. I traveled and I went on adventures and I satiated so much of my lust for life and exploration–and now I can really happily be where I am right now, because I don’t feel like I missed out on things because I waited for them to happen (or for someone to do them with!). Well said xo

  9. Kellie — January 27, 2015 @ 8:55 am (#)

    An awesome and motivational post! Everyone needs to strive for foundationary love and part of that is figuring out what inspires you.

  10. Sarah (@ People, Places & Plates) — January 27, 2015 @ 8:58 am (#)

    One of your best posts yet! Thanks for this!

  11. Rachel — January 27, 2015 @ 9:04 am (#)

    Aside from the fact that Mr. Right isn’t going to just show up at your door, you actually have to put yourself in situations to meet people in order to meet someone, I wholeheartedly agree with this post. Even though I’m in a relationship now, I spend the majority of my 20s single and having a life of my own and making plans is what got me to where I am. Life is not about waiting around for the perfect guy to be the trigger for your life to start, you are already living your life. Finding someone is about fitting two lives together, not waiting to start one. 

    Wonderful post, the exact kind of sentiment and advice I would have appreciated and related to during the single years of my 20s. 

  12. Chelsey — January 27, 2015 @ 9:37 am (#)

    I totally agree! Plans are the PERFECT thing to look forward to. I just booked a trip to Charleston for the summer with my best college friend who lives far away and it brightened my spirits after a few tough months! I love your candidness and openness! Keep it comin’!

  13. Kyle — January 27, 2015 @ 9:43 am (#)

    Spot on.

    And speaking as one of the single men reading this post, I will confirm that women who are out there making plans and being confident are definitely “hot”.  That’s majorly attractive to me at least!

  14. Adam — January 27, 2015 @ 9:49 am (#)

    Why would cross out your plan to take over the world?  That’s like the only plan worth having!

    :)

  15. Emily — January 27, 2015 @ 10:06 am (#)

    PREACH!

  16. Holly — January 27, 2015 @ 10:15 am (#)

    Today is my 36th birthday.  I’m that much closer to 40.  Your post is almost exactly what has been on my heart for the past month.  Since moving back to my hometown from far-away Eastern Europe, I’ve felt like the adventure is over.  It’s not!  God is continuing to open travel opportunities (Iceland, anyone?), leadership opportunities, and career-growth opportunities.  He continues to supply community and bless me with my amazing family.  One must wait on Him, but he expects us to live a full-gracious life that honors who we are created to be.  Write on, sister!

  17. Andy — January 27, 2015 @ 10:16 am (#)

    Thanks Ali! Right on. 

    And “plans” don’t have to be grand or perfect. We can sleep at the airport while adding a leg to our adventure. We can spend the night in the ER after not learning surf. The moments we create, imperfections and all, are what define us. 

    My favorite quote, which I try to live out “A good plan, violently executed NOW, is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” (George Patton) 

  18. Jeremy — January 27, 2015 @ 10:24 am (#)

    So, I’m a single 31 year-old male who enjoys reading your blog and I have an idea for this section. You may have seen this already, it’s been all over the place the past few weeks, there was a recent article in the New York Times titled “To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This”. It was a scientific study on falling in love and included 36 questions for you and your date to ask each other and apparently staring at each other for 4 solid minutes (sounds lovely!). I’m not necessarily insisting you to do this with me (I’ve been turned down before, so I won’t badger you :) ) but I thought it could be an interesting topic to present to your followers. I was really intrigued by this study and wanted to read the questions badly, but I resisted the urge in case I ever try this for myself. Anyway, not that you need ideas for the site, just sparked an interest. Keep up the great work!

  19. Sarah — January 27, 2015 @ 10:44 am (#)

    Thanks for this post! I have enjoyed reading your single series especially as I saw a relationship (my most meaningful one with a guy) end recently. Granted, it only lasted a year. I had never felt so crushed in my life. I kept thinking “What do I do now?” “Who do I do these things with?” I’ve always been an independent person, too, never one to be in relationships constantly, so when things ended, part of me actually felt like I was back to my “normal” self. As dumb as it sounds, I was happy that I could have my apartment as clean as I like it, that I could take trips on weekends to visit friends without feeling bad that I was not including him. Maybe that makes me selfish, who knows. I’m still working through the break up, but making plans has always gotten me through hard times — giving me things to look forward to and realize that I can see places and do things on my own because why shouldn’t I?

    When I decided to buy my KitchenAid mixer (best decision EVER), my mother even said “Are you sure you want to do that? It could be something you would put on your wedding registry” Keep in mind I wasn’t even in a relationship at that time. But it was a no-brainer for me — if I can buy it now, why shouldn’t I? Building my life on my own and doing things on my own may be harder in some ways (no splitting up of chores, bills, etc.) but is so extremely rewarding! I feel proud that I do these things on my own and that I enjoy myself, and many of my friends who are in relationships/married actually envy that. 

    It’s also been hard for me as this relationship ended to realize that I am almost 28 and there are no prospects. That was hard to swallow. Then I realized that that doesn’t mean anything. It’s so not worth being in a relationship that doesn’t work and it is absolutely much worse to be in one where you are unhappy than to be single. So I’ve realized that things will happen as they are meant to happen. I will put myself in situations where I can meet people (like you, I am most certainly NOT cut out for online dating) and if it happens, it happens, if not, life goes on. Single or not, I will be fine either way. 

    I also considered the prospect of not having/being able to have children of my own. And, although that can also be hard to absorb, there’s no use in worrying about it now since it’s out of my control at this point. When it comes to the point where I’d have to make that decision, I will. 

    One of the other things I have to remind myself is that I am not old! (Neither are you!). Sometimes living in a mid-size city where a lot of people are married can skew our view of where we “should” be in life. Living in the South certainly does that to me. However, I realize that if I lived somewhere else, this would be totally normal and not something that is “taboo” or requires me to answer the question of “why aren’t you married?”.

    Your comment about fear really resonated with me. Soon after the break up, I spoke to a lot of my friends about it but then I realized that I was only talking about “safe” topics regarding the break up. I had kept my real fears and my real concerns about what happened/what will happen in the future in my head, afraid to say them to anyone. Once I finally did (this happened with a couple of close friends), I realized that they are okay. That they are not some looming question or concern, but just another thing that comes up in life and it’s something I can overcome.

    Sorry for the super long, stream of consciousness post, but your views on single life really resonate with me! Cheers to single women who make plans and live life to the fullest.

  20. Janelle — January 27, 2015 @ 10:59 am (#)

    Thanks, Ali! I feel like I could’ve written this myself! I love the advice you’ve given – and I recently started making plans for myself – I took a weekend fitness instructor class! I took myself out of my comfort zone, traveled four hours out of state, stayed in a hotel by myself for two nights, and had a BLAST! I am now certified to teach REFIT® classes! I haven’t taught any kind of fitness classes before, so I’m nervous but so excited at the possibility of making connections and impacting lives! So I totally agree with your advice. I am turning 30 this year, and I wanted to start making plans! :)

  21. Adriane Heins — January 27, 2015 @ 11:27 am (#)

    Amen and amen. And remember this: Our Lord’s plans for you are perfect and best, even if it doesn’t seem like it, even when it doesn’t feel like it!

  22. Cara Strickland — January 27, 2015 @ 12:56 pm (#)

    I just stumbled onto this post and love it. I’m with you in so many ways. (From the Christian emphasis on waiting and marriage, to learning to take risks). It’s good not to feel alone in this, and to find others who are writing on these topics. I write a series on my blog called Single Minded Mondays, and it’s been overwhelming hearing from so many people with so many different perspectives. This is an interesting battle, it’s good to fight it in community. 

  23. Ariana — January 27, 2015 @ 12:59 pm (#)

    AMEN! I had a serious case of the Mondays after planning my Galentine’s Day party yesterday. This is exactly what I needed to break out of my funk and now I can look forward to spending a night with my friends instead of dwelling on the singlehood aspect of the night!

    http://www.ohmyleopard.com

  24. Megan — January 27, 2015 @ 1:44 pm (#)

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this! I just turned 26, and in the past year I have moved across the country to start graduate school. I’m very happy where I am currently as a single person, but this is a great reminder to continue planning for (and being excited about!) my future, whether I’m single or not. 

  25. Lisa — January 27, 2015 @ 3:27 pm (#)

    FANTASTIC advice Ali!!! I actually just turned 40 (yikes, it’s weird to write that and actually mildly upsetting lol) and didn’t get married until I was 37, so my memories of being single are very fresh. It was an extremely rough time (for other reasons as well) and sometimes I did get caught in that loop of self-pity. But sometimes I MADE PLANS and even if they weren’t impressive ones, I sure had fun hanging out with my friends and traveling — even if it was just in the US/Canada. :-) Looking back I wish I had the courage to get out of my own head and make more plans and have more fun, but fear and constant pity parties were a lot easier. Even though I’m married now I’m still taking your advice to heart. I work a lot of hours and marriage is hard, but I found I’ve stopped letting myself have fun — I’ve stopped making plans. Thank you for inspiring me to start enjoying life again!!! Keep preaching sista!!

  26. Rachel — January 28, 2015 @ 2:02 am (#)

    I totally needed this! I am that kind of single person who has a list in the back of my mind of “the experiences I want to share with my future special someone,” from events in my city, road trips and vacations, and big life decisions. Luckily my traveling desires haven’t been completely compromised by being single as I’ve certainly done a lot of travelling on my own and with friends. But you know what, it’s about time I start scratching off things on that list, on my own! 
     

  27. Kendra @ Prepping Parties — January 28, 2015 @ 6:43 am (#)

    I absolutely love this series!  It is such a breath of fresh air and reaffirming!  And you hit the nail on the head with this one!  Making plans is absolutely key – why sit around and wait for things to happen around you?  Call a friend for dinner, plan a vacation, start a new business adventure, move into your own place … honestly, making my own plans for just me is one of the best perks of being single!  Thanks so much for writing this series, I’m already looking forward to your next post!!  xoxo Kendra 

  28. LadyQ — January 28, 2015 @ 1:22 pm (#)

    You are so right on! I will be turning 55 this year and am still single. Who’d a thunk it. Yeah, there are times when i think about the ‘what if’ possibilities of life shared in a married relationship. But I move on, keep on making and executing those plans and having a life. I know that I’ve become a more daring and extroverted person because I am single. Was very shy as a child.

    And as an instinctual introspective person, goal making is a vital component for making sure I don’t stay stuck too long or become blindsided with regrets! My backside has been dusted off so many times, I’ve lost count. Sometimes it takes a little longer to get up. But still, get up I do.

    My priorities lie in the quality of relationship I have with myself and with the people in my life who I love dearly today. There is where I find my happiness!

    Hugs to all along this path we call life! :-)

  29. Susan — January 28, 2015 @ 5:25 pm (#)

    I really hear you about the Christian culture thing.  And I absolutely agree that when you are single you need to make plans and carry through with them.  Things happen at unexpected times, but by being out there, doing things, you put yourself in the path of opportunity.  I met and became friends with the man who is now my husband while I was on a world cruise, traveling with a girlfriend, against the wishes of my then boyfriend (who was a jerk and a brat), even though I’d made the plans before the advent of said boyfriend.  Long story short, my now husband explained to me what the boyfriend was doing (emotional blackmail), and I ended up breaking up with the boyfriend three days after getting home from the cruise.  Saying thank you to my friend for his good information started an intensive email correspondence and ended up a few months later with us being married.  If I had not been living the life I wanted to live, I never would have met my husband.  I am definitely happier now being married, but I had to live a lot of my life before that happened, because I didn’t get married until age 63.  So definitely make and carry out plans, enjoy life, and get the most out of it that you can.  You never know how it will turn out.  :-)   

  30. moe — January 29, 2015 @ 4:39 pm (#)

    damn girl

  31. meg — January 29, 2015 @ 7:07 pm (#)

    Ali,

    It made my day to have a new one of these posts. You are so eloquent and it is wonderfully reaffirming to hear you give voice to things that nag at me & at the same time push me to think about those things in new ways. I know these posts aren’t easy to write, so I just want you to know that they are very appreciated!

  32. Kim Henrichs — January 30, 2015 @ 8:50 pm (#)

    My life is totally different when I have good plans made!

  33. Laura (Tutti Dolci) — February 4, 2015 @ 6:34 pm (#)

    This is such a great post, Ali! As a single, it’s so easy to get caught up in that limbo place of no plans whatsoever because you just feel unsure about stepping out on your own and making those things happen. I’ve wanted my own pet forever, so I finally took the plunge three weeks ago and welcomed home a beautiful kitten. I had no idea that that one simple step forward would trickle over to other areas of my life too (and that I would find so much joy in such a short time!).

  34. Kelly — February 7, 2015 @ 2:22 pm (#)

    I LOVE this blog and frequently check back in!  I completely agree with you, Ali.  Making plans is a great way to stay busy – because when we’re busy, we’re often out meeting new people and making ourselves and our lives more interesting.  After all, we become more interesting when we have more experiences to share and stories to tell!  Many guys want to be part of an exciting life like that as opposed to the opposite.

     I have struggled with being single in my late twenties and sometimes I’ve let the fear of the unknown and the fear of the future get me down.  I saw a quote recently that said,  “Choose faith over fear,” and I have been trying to embrace that!  

    It’s difficult being single because for many girls because we have wanted to meet our “prince charming” and live a “happily ever after” like it’s broadcast in so many movies and our culture.  It’s time to start our “happily ever after” with or without him.   But I do think that by being active you branch out and experience new events and people which can help lead to meeting that someone special.

    Love your blog.  I love reading your honest and insightful posts!

    Kelly

  35. Ashley — February 8, 2015 @ 6:37 pm (#)

    Hey Ali, great website! I just stumbled across your blog today (I’ve been reading through your “30 and Single” blogs and am looking forward to checking out your recipes later!)  I just turned 30 and am, as you may have guessed, single! I’ve pretty much always been single and I have definitely taken the “make big plans” and “do your own thing” approach so that I’ve lived a very fulfilling life and wouldn’t change any of the things I’ve done (traveled the US via an AmeriCorps program, gotten a Masters degree, lived in a world-class city in another country, and recently moved to a small town in Indiana for a job I really love) but it doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes doubt moving to a smallish town where the chances of finding a date are pretty slim or wish that I had found that someone special already. I’m trying to learn to be content and just be thankful for how great my single life is, but I do find it hard when all of my close friends have been getting engaged/married this past year and some of the married friends I do have are now beginning to have kids. I truly have a fantastic life, but it’s hard when you realize that your core group of friends are in different life phases – especially when kids come into play, I feel like that has to change everything.  I also have no interest in online datng. I’ve tried it in the past and find it to be overwhelming and stressful and nowhere close to fun (I enjoyed your list of reasons why you don’t online date anymore). While part of me feels this need to meet people and try dating, I think what I really need is to learn to be content with who I am, my single life, and the fact that I may still be single when all of my friends are married with kids. What’s your advice to someone who is consistently the 3rd, 5th, 7th, or 9th wheel?

  36. Joel — February 10, 2015 @ 6:29 pm (#)

    I’m glad a common JW friend posted this on facebook this afternoon or I might’ve missed it; you discontinued the Life articles–only RSS feed!

    I agree, but I also would add that the plans you make don’t have to be momentous. Not everyone’s interested in a bucket list of international travel.

  37. Mary — February 15, 2015 @ 5:10 pm (#)

    To start – I love your website. 

    I agree with this article and so much of what everyone is writing in the comments. I little personal note would be my mother married when she was 30. She dated prior and was in a series of serious relationships. When she found herself single at 30 she freaked and married essentially the first man in sight. He was all wrong for her and they are/were true opposites. Well, opposites might attract but try getting married and raising four kids together! It is easily the worst decision she ever made, she knows this. She is still married today and cannot break free because of intense financial struggles and an adult son with autism. 

    My mother always said to me, “wait, wait, wait and learn who the man is before you marry him.” Now at 26, I’m in no rush to marry and have been dating my man for six years. While close friends walk down the aisle with a man they’ve dated for a year, I feel no jealously. 

  38. Mi — April 13, 2015 @ 7:51 am (#)

    Great posts! I am turning 30 this year and just broke up with my boyfriend a few months ago. I’ve been thinking a lot about being 30 and single. I read all of your articles about being single and I’m so glad I found them. It really helped me to move forward for the last month or so.
    I also love your advice about making plans. I realised how many things I’ve been putting on hold without even noticing. I am finishing medical school this year and I was going to apply for internship in the same city (just in case I meet someone this year…) Now I decided to apply for all the interesting places in other states I’ve always wanted to work at.
    Thank you so much for bringing excitement back to my life! :)

  39. Angela — July 29, 2015 @ 1:20 pm (#)

    Loved this! I think we are a lot alike! :)

  40. Sadie — August 4, 2016 @ 1:44 am (#)

    Thank you for this. I’m currently in the hard to accept, depressing part of being single. I came to this blog to help give me a new outlook on it and I especially love this post. I’ve already planned to make a plan book tomorrow :)

  41. Jamie — January 22, 2017 @ 7:37 pm (#)

    This is wonderful. I love your blog and have been enjoying reading it. You’re right. I just turned 31 on the 16t and am still single. I come from a very religious Catholic background where you marry early and have kids the whole shebang. I’ve been thinking alot about buying my first home but I always figured I’d have a husband to make that decision with. And I wanted to cry when I read the line about being too afraid to leave my job because I don’t have the extra income. I am playing it safe. I have medical debt and many fears. But when the new year rolled around for 2017, I started making small plans. I’m tired of waiting around for Mr. Right (didn’t really realize how much I was putting on hold doing this) and decided that when and or if He comes along I won’t have the embarrassment of telling him, oh I was waiting on you. Nope. I was out there living my life, renewing my faith, and finding out what made me happy. And that’s what 2017 will be about. I applied to an evening class to learn Spanish and subscribed to a magazine that I hope will bring educational value and adventure into my life. And I’m saving up for a cruise next year. I’m going to enjoy every minute of my single life much as I always fantasized enjoying married life. God Bless.