How to live your best single life
When I ask people to list the qualities they’re looking for in a partner, they often say they’d like to find someone who’s living a full life, someone who has good friendships, interesting hobbies and dreams for the future. How do we find that person? First, we become that person ourselves.
If we’re single, especially if we’ve been single for a while, it’s only natural to want to focus our energies on looking for love. But if we neglect to nurture other aspects of our lives, we’ll be dating from a place of lack rather than abundance, a place of emptiness rather than fulfilment. And this could potentially sabotage our chances of making healthy dating or relationship choices or of attracting a healthy person.
I like to think of our lives as pie charts, with lots of different segments or slices. There’s a slice for love and romance, yes, but there are other important segments: health and wellbeing, spirituality and faith, career, hobbies, travel, finances, social life, family and so forth (we can each choose the names of our segments to reflect our priorities).
Imagine your own pie chart or draw one now if you’d like to, labelling the sections as you see fit. If you spend lots of time looking for a relationship, make that a big piece. If you barely spend any time taking care of your health, doing hobbies or cultivating a spiritual life, make those segments small.
For years, my pie chart was completely unbalanced because work and career took up most of my time and energy. I had my sights set on climbing the career ladder and, back then, nothing was going to stand in my way. I had romantic relationships but they didn’t last and work always came first.
This singular focus on work left little time for other important activities that are essential for a healthy, balanced, well-rounded life. For example, I neglected my wellbeing, I neglected to nourish myself with healthy food and I neglected my hobbies and my creativity.
Then I hit my late-thirties and wondered how on earth I was still single.
I remember when someone first suggested that I become the person I want to date. I looked at myself and the way I was living and thought, I wouldn’t date you! You never stop working or running around. You’re always busy and there’s very little space in your life.
It was a wake-up call, although the real lightbulb moment came after I worked myself into the ground and burnt out in what was then a stressful journalism career. I had no choice – I had to transform. I had to create a different life.
That journey included reconnecting with some of the things I used to love doing before work became all-consuming. For me, this meant activities in the Great Outdoors, things like camping and cycling and sea swimming that made my eyes shine and my heart sing.
I joined a hiking group, went to music festivals and started spending time with people who also loved the outdoor life. Those experiences helped me to relax and have fun, brought new friendships into my life and connected me with like-minded people, some of whom were single. It was a revelation.
And, on one of those countryside weekends when I was living my best life, when my eyes were shining, my cheeks glowing and my heart was full, I met a man, who I later dated and then married.
If I’d have stayed at home that weekend, ticking things off my ‘To Do’ list, getting ready for work on Monday and trying to figure out why I hadn’t met my man yet (and believe me, I almost did stay at home that weekend), our paths wouldn’t have crossed.
I also imagine my now husband wouldn’t have found me attractive if all I had going on in my life was work and the desperate search for love.
So, what can you do to bring more balance and fulfilment into your life? How can you make your eyes shine and your heart sing? And how can you become someone you would like to date? Perhaps you could explore these questions in prayer or ask a friend to work through them with you.
I know all too well that planning activities and events can be hard as a single person. I did it for years. But I encourage you to be bold, to reconnect to the things you used to love doing and perhaps to step right out of your comfort zone. I encourage you to identify dreams for all areas of your life, not just romance, and take steps to walk towards those dreams.
Often, when we do this, our other dreams fall into place.