Recently, I came across an anonymous quote that resonated with me. It said: “As long as you don’t have kids, your 30s are like your 20s but with money.” It made me laugh because that is the summary of my current situation. I am 39, single, happy, and, honestly, enjoying my best life.
It wasn’t always like that. Two years ago, I looked at my life and thought, “is this it?” It was the cycle of work-gym-friends/parents-home-repeat. I had been doing that for 11 years. I also wasn’t meeting anyone potential to partner up with in Singapore, let alone anyone worthy of a long-distance relationship when I did meet someone while holidaying.
And even though I adored my job, friends and general life, I had thought this cannot be the rest of my life. Can it? I felt I wanted something more. More adventure, more feelings, just more. So far, I have learnt that this life we have must be the best one because, really, you do only live once.
So, I decided I needed to do something about it. I was single with no major responsibilities, and the two things that make me happy are solo traveling and music. It took me two years to gain the courage to convince myself and my parents that I needed to do what made me happy. I set off to go solo traveling and immerse myself in the music scenes of different cities, where possible, even if lasted for only one year.
And what a year it was (and still is). Yes, the traveling is great. You get to explore new places and revisit favourite ones with fresh eyes. There is no pressure from others to follow their itinerary when you’re doing it solo. And when you do join friends somewhere, you value the time with them. You meet new people, make new friends, and sometimes, they become the best friends you never knew you were missing. As for the romances – they are exciting, spontaneous, and just as heart-breaking when it doesn’t work out.
The downside is it is tiring. Tiring moving from one place to another, tiring living out of a suitcase with the same clothes over and over, tiring having to continuously plan your itinerary, flights, what to do for every single place all the time, tiring staying alert where the world is never as safe as Singapore, tiring being a solo female traveller and having to take care all the time.
And while you do meet people and some dating apps come in handy for that, remember you do spend most of your time alone. Alone with your thoughts, your body, your being. Meals are usually alone, sight-seeing is alone and even if you join a group tour, you are with strangers at first. Achieving amazing feats like climbing a mountain (or three) for the first time, you do it alone or among people you don’t know.
Lucky for me, I love being alone. I know being alone terrifies many people. They equate it with being lonely. The two are not the same nor synonymous with each other. Try it sometime with baby steps - go the movies alone or a meal. Because, simply put, if you don’t like your own company, why would anyone else?
But the amazing thing of it all is you really do learn to love yourself. This means putting yourself first, creating boundaries with people who take advantage of your time and kindness, knowing your worth and asserting it, and not ever caring what others think about your actions, choices and decisions, family included.
This, of course, comes with great difficulty. There are more days than none where you beat yourself up over the smallest thing. Or want to give another chance to some guy or new friend just because you crave for some company, someone to talk to.
Overall, the good outweighs the bad, even when it doesn’t always seem like it. You will meet people who will not hesitate to make you feel bad for the choices you have made in your life. Let them. Always remember, it is your life, you do truly only live once, and if you want your life to be a certain way, only you can make it happen.
And as for being single? I’m too happy learning to have a relationship with myself to really feel I need to be with someone. I do believe that once I truly know my worth and put myself first, then maybe the right man will come along. And if it doesn’t happen? That’s totally OK too.