I've been living on Single Girl Lane for eight years. That's the exit right off the I'm Good on My Own Highway. In these eight years I have grown tremendously and learned a few lessons about myself, love and the opposite sex.
So, without further ado … let's get to this list. Eight Years Single, Eight Lessons Learned:
1) Speak up: I can never figure out whether someone likes me. Seriously, unless someone comes right out and says, "Jonesie, I like you," I never assume that he does. A guy could be blatantly flirting and I will mindlessly stare at him like he is a killer clown from outer space, leaving me petrified with fear. Please, for the love of all things holy, just tell him/her how you feel. If the other person reciprocates, then mission accomplished. If not, at least you released your emotions instead of bottling them up.
2) Live alone: Living on your own is a must for everyone … especially women. Knowing that I can kill all the spiders in my apartment by my damn self makes me feel badass. Also, I've learned how to be OK with being on my own. I have my own set of tools, can carry an insane amount of groceries up a flight of stairs, put together an IKEA item, fix my toilet and finish an entire pizza by myself. Goals, yo.
3) Learn your money: Where is your money going every month? How much are you spending? How much are you saving? What are your plans for your money? These are all lessons I have learned the hard way. Like, the extra-hard, unnecessarily, what-the-hell -were-you-thinking kind of ways.
My mom was perfect with her money. She made great money at her job, saved, paid bills on time, budgeted the spending for her and my dad, basically everything. My mom was a money wizard, and thankfully she taught me how to be as well.
For me, depending on someone else financially is not an option, but if that is for you and you are happy living your life that way I am not judging you. Even if you are, you still need to learn your money.
4) Know what you want: In my 20s I was not looking for a relationship and kept dating jerks. The more they ignored me, the more I preferred them. Then in my late 20s I entered into my first serious relationship, which ended after two years. I had even bought a wedding dress, and for what? I didn't want to live with him, but I did. I didn't want to get married, but I bought a dress … in secret.
During my 20s I also attended a few different schools trying to find the right fit, all the while not realizing that I just needed to stop and figure out what I really wanted. Now, at 36, I know exactly what I want and am not settling for less.
5) Don't have a type: I made the mistake of having a set list of features I wanted in a guy, i.e., must be tall, perfect smile, muscular, dark hair. And I wondered why I was attracting only jerks! Having a specific type limits your chances of attracting your person. Focus on qualities, not looks, and you will attract everything you've ever wanted in a mate.
6) Keep your standards high and check your expectations: Having a standard by which you feel you deserve to be treated is great. Expecting someone to fulfill every expectation you have for the relationship is not so great.
If there is a certain standard you have — i.e., he has to have his own place — OK, that's fine. Does that standard include expectations of his place having six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a walk-in closet and a tiger on a leash in the backyard? See the difference?
The man you meet may not be at mansion-living level but may possess all the qualities you want. Give him a chance, and you two can build that mansion together. Relationship goals, yo.
7) Change for yourself, not your partner: There are some things about myself I know would annoy the hell out of someone else. Like the fact that I clean like Oprah is coming over for a visit. Vacuuming makes me happy and so does perusing every single aisle of the grocery store whether I'm buying something in it or not. I watch a ton of "Family Guy," "Bob's Burgers" and vintage films. I crave alone time. Silence makes me happy. I'm pretty much a weird loner who thrives on cartoons, bleach and writing. Now, are some of these aspects of myself qualities I am willing to change? Not really.
OK, well, maybe I can ease up on my rigid cleaning ways, and if he's really dying, I don't have to go down Aisle 5 at Vons. Essentially who I am as a person right now is who he is going to get, and we will change and grow together. Changing to fit or satisfy someone's expectations will leave you bitter.
8) Be OK with being alone: Alone time and being alone are different things. I crave the silence of isolation sometimes. Whether it's to read, write or cook, alone time is a need for me. Being alone can feel lonely at times. Especially when you are spending your weekends with Netflix and chillin' on the couch, in your granny panties, eating popcorn and drinking wine. Just me?
We have to learn to be OK with being alone in order to fully appreciate what it means to have someone who wants to have us in their space. How beautiful is it when you are so amazing, there is a person who wants to share his precious alone time with you.
Cassia Jones is a writer and actress who lives in Torrance and blogs at toliveanddateinla.co.
L.A Affairs chronicles the dating scene in and around Los Angeles. If you have comments, or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com.
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