Friday, February 27, 2015

How to Be on Your Own

Spending three months away from everything I've grown up to while studying abroad taught me a lot of different lessons.  I learned that you should always put cream on your scone before the jam.  I learned that it was totally possible to live off of rice, noodles, and tea every day.  I learned that it only takes about five seconds of insane courage to accomplish anything.  And I learned never to trust taxis at the airport.

These are all very important lessons (especially the scone one), but I learned something really incredible while I was abroad:

I can live on my own.

This has always been a worry of mine over the years, and I blame a part of this on society.  With movies like "Failure to Launch", I can't be the only one who feels pushed by society to make sure I don't depend on my parents too much.  Even though I live over an hour away, I still rely on them heavily at times.  Just last week I had to call my mom for probably the hundredth time to learn how to do laundry again.  'Living independently' was something I never really experienced until I left Nebraska and the US for three months. 

I'm not saying I have everything figured out.  I will always need both my mom and dad on speed dial in case anything happens.  I'm the girl who calls her parents everyday, and that's not a bad thing. 

What seems to be a bad thing to others is that I don't need to rely on anyone else.  

Wait. What?

I thought us 'twenty-somethings' were supposed to become independent and learn how to live without our parents.  I thought we were supposed to be figuring out who we are and who we want to become.  So why is it that I need to become 'independent' and 'who I am' with someone else in the picture?

I recently had a conversation on this exact subject with a couple of my friends I made while studying abroad.  We're all currently single for various different reasons, but the central idea is that we believe we need to know who we are before sharing our lives with someone else.  We've grown up on the idea that your main goal throughout these 'late teen' years should be to figure out what you want to do with your life and where you want to go.

Why, then, is it forced upon young women to find the 'man of their dreams' as fast as possible?  Why is it that while we find out who we are we need to also be finding someone to share everything with?

It's taken me a long time to get to a place where I'm really proud of who I am and what I've accomplished.  I've got a plan (or something that resembles a plan) of where I want to go with my life, and a list of the steps it's going to take to get there.  I am finally at a place where I can be on my own.

How?  I have to be honest and say it hasn't always been easy.  There are times when I wholeheartedly believe that I'll be alone forever, but I try not to let it affect me negatively.  Here's some advice that you and I both need:

Don't be afraid that being alone for one or ten years means that you'll be alone forever.  I've been alone for over 20 years, and I am just starting to know who I am and what kind of person I'd want to be with.  For myself, I don't think I would have been able to handle having that someone special in my life throughout all the crap I went through.  

I have a lot of friends who are younger than me that are getting married.  You go, Glen Coco.  If you've found the one, then I know you are more than capable of making that decision yourself.  I'm not talking to you though, I'm talking to those like me who haven't found the one.  I understand the pressure and anxiety you might be feeling when staring into your future and pondering the possibility that you might me stuck with cats for the rest of your life.

Being alone shouldn't be scary, and there shouldn't be a stigma that you need someone to help you through life.  You can do anything, lady.  So grab your purse and take yourself on a date!  Drive through Taco Bell and watch Netflix for hours on end.  Buy yourself a jumbo popcorn to enjoy solo while hitting up that new film you wanted to see.  You definitely don't need a man to do that kind of pampering for you.

I don't know who you are; single or taken.  But I can tell you that either way, you are an amazing human who can do ANYTHING if you set your mind to it.  Don't wait to start living until you have to (get to) share your experiences with another person.  Embrace your awesomeness and don't sweat the small things.  Grab your jumbo popcorn and bask in your singleness!

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