In a recent article, I talked about the joy of being single, if only for a season. Singlehood can be a very productive time to deal, heal, and get real about the behaviors, the people, and the events which repeatedly prevent growth, do us harm, and steal our peace.

I decided to laser focus on refining my professional skills, write my first book, work on a lifelong trilogy writing project, and learning how to manage life on my own. My friends, the innermost circle, are front and center in my free time. I am learning who is true blue and has my back and who should be left to simply see it from behind. Happily, I am building an extended network of friends who are built from familiar stuff, looking out for one another as we cheer each other on in our individual pursuits.  #No-haters.

Exercise and fitness, which suffered for nearly 20 years, are once again on the front burner and my metabolism and body shape are grateful for it. Who has time to take care of oneself when you’re so busy taking care of others and trying to please someone who cannot be bothered to be pleased with you?  Um…hard left.

Household chores, maintenance, and upgrades are getting scheduled and completed at an accelerated rate, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the changes. While my son would tell you that my lawn mowing skills are still in question, I suggest the fact I am doing it myself is quite an accomplishment. So, what if it doesn’t look like a Beverly Hills yard? The dogs approve, and let’s face it, their opinions are the only ones that really matter.

My finances have improved tenfold. I’ve learned to negotiate, invest more wisely, and leverage my underdeveloped skills to create second and third revenue streams to shore up my coffers to cover emergencies, unforeseen expenses, and unexpected job loss; I’ve experienced two in the last three years. The past 18 months have been a grueling reminder that people at all levels of financial status encounter losses that put faith and stability to the test.

I’ve learned to budget, save, and plan for large, yet necessary, expenses without melting down or wondering how the hell I would cover them. I can now plan for my future without wondering whether I would have one. In fact, this week I called my mother on my way home from the car dealership feeling as if I had won the lottery. Apparently, I made one of the greatest knee-jerk decisions four years ago when I opted to purchase the windshield coverage on my vehicle. The total replacement cost, over $2,000, was covered with no deducible and no claim to my primary auto insurance policy. Tears welled in my eyes as I told Mom that I finally saw light at the end of my tumultuous money tunnel. (Seriously, it’s been a series of bank-crippling events for nearly seven years, with the past three being the hardest.)

While it would have been comforting, and possibly easier, to manage these events with a partner, I’ve obtained great personal strength in weathering these things on my own. The learning byproducts of this are courage, confidence, and self-reliance; three qualities I lost long ago. This results in better dating and relationship choices. Why would you want to align yourself with someone who  maligns your peace and prosperity? Don’t do it. If they drain your soul, trust that your money and well-being will follow.

None of this is to say that casual dating and group outings can’t be fun and create opportunities that lead to mindful relationship building. It’s only a reminder that you have an obligation to yourself and your future mate to bring the best version of you to the equation and not to yoke up with someone who will subtract from it. They may not hesitate to leave you when you need them most, so rather than let it devastate you, be prepared to stand on your own two feet regardless of what is to come.

Travel, learn, experiment, and grow while you wait on the one who is equal to your own evolution and is ready to take the next leg of your shared journey together. Just make sure they’re equally invested in themselves as well as you, and ready to fairly share the full load of a committed union.

Solo to Yolo,

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