If you’re single, you’ve probably heard the comments from married folks.
“Wow! I’m jealous of all the things you get to do.”
“Enjoy this time, because you’ll miss it when you get married (and have kids).”
I heard these comments when I was single. And I didn’t particularly appreciate them. I longed to be married and desired to be a mom, so the trade-off of discretionary time and income didn’t seem worth it. But now, as a married woman with two toddlers and another baby coming this summer (yes, you read that right!), I can better appreciate the freedoms I enjoyed as a single. Life changes when you marry (and especially when you have children). It changes in good ways, but it affects your time, money and availability in significant ways. With that fact in mind, here are eight things I’m glad I did while I was single:
1. Went skydiving. Since you have to literally “sign your life away” to go skydiving (and watch a terrifying video), it’s a great activity to do before you have a spouse and children. (I didn’t even tell my parents I was doing it ahead of time, lest they worry.) I took a morning off work and went tandem skydiving with a friend who was part of an Air Force skydiving team.
2. Running. While single, I ran three half-marathons, and dozens of 5 and 10Ks. Running provided great social opportunities (I could run with friends after work and on weekends), helped me drop weight and get in shape, and gave me a sense of accomplishment each time I completed a race.
3. Improv comedy. In my early 20s, I visited my sister at her Bible college and saw an improv comedy troupe called the “ImProverbs” perform (clever, right?). As someone who enjoyed acting and had done some theater during high school, I thought improv (similar to “Whose Line is it Anyway?”) would be a blast. I gathered some friends from church, and we started an improv troupe. I was part of the group — which still performs to this day — from 2004-2010.
4. Spent time with my family. As a single, I had more free time and a bigger travel budget to visit and spend time with my family in the Pacific Northwest. I’m thankful I took advantage of that time (I went home every single Christmas until I was married), since now visits are less frequent and my attention is divided with caring for my own family. Another joy during that season was being an aunt. I was able to connect with and enjoy the two nephews and niece who came along while I was single. I gained so much joy from spending time with those precious little ones.
5. Traveled. I took many opportunities to travel for work and pleasure during my single years. I visited many U.S. states as well as going to Ecuador and Russia. One of my favorite trips was going to New York City with my sisters to celebrate my 30th birthday.
6. Mentored. In my early 20s, I got together once a week with a teen girl I previously babysat for. She eventually became my roommate (and a bridesmaid in my wedding). I had a lot of time to pour into her during that season of my life.
7. Focused on my writing. While I was single, I wrote many articles for Boundless and also wrote my first book, a small group resource for girls. I sometimes miss the hours and hours I used to be able to spend concentrating on writing — hours that are now filled with picking up toys, preparing meals and and changing diapers.
8. Attended conferences. Along with going to many writing conferences, I also attended the New Attitude conference (for young adults) two years in a row. The keynote speakers, worship times, breakouts and fellowship with other 20-somethings was refreshing and challenging to my faith.
While I wouldn’t trade my current life for anything, I do recall with fondness all I was able to do during my single years. What are some things you’re glad you’ve done as a single?