Contrary to popular belief, being single is not an illness requiring a cure!
It's a period of your life, which my married friends reassure me will be gone far too quickly! So, unlike most singletons, rather than rushing to ditch my single status, I've set to work making the most of it. Because when I finally reach the 'other side of single', I don't want to have any regrets!
Here are the ten things I believe every singleton should do, before settling into a relationship-
1) Spend Time With Friends
It can be hard to make time for other people, when you're juggling two social calendars, instead of just the one. Not everyone disappears down a social black hole when they get into a relationship, but you may as well enjoy the flexibility that comes with your single status, and make time for the people you care about. Good friends bring out the best side of you, and spending time with friends who are in relationships can help you better understand what to look for in a successful partnership.
2) Buy Something Completely Impractical
When you're single, your finances are totally your own. Which means you can spend your money as you like. Handbags, high heels, alcohol, racing cars ... In the years to come there will be other more sensible considerations to make, but right now, while you have no responsibility, and no one to answer to, treat yourself!
3) Start A New Hobby
We all have things we'd love to try. Sports, languages, crafts - they all take time to learn. And when you're in a relationship, your time can feel more precious. The thing about hobbies is that often they need most dedication when you're starting out. Make the most of your singlehood by exploring something new. If anything, it will help make you a more interesting and well-rounded person. People always suggest hobbies as a way to meet a partner, but that should never be your reason for joining a club. Find a new hobby because you want to, and because it makes you happy.
4) Get a Bigger Bed
Sleeping alone is bliss! So stretch out, and veg out, while you have the chance! Buy a king-size, all for you! Decorate it with unnecessary pillows, or don't bother making it each morning, if you don't want to. Stay up til 3am, watching movies, and eating in bed. Do whatever you like - it's all yours! Just make sure you make the most of it, because who knows who you will soon be sharing it with!
5) Focus on Your Career
This may sound a dull ambition, but now is the time to make the most of opportunities at work. Stand out by being the one who can stay late, or is flexible with weekend working or overnight travel. You flexibility will be rewarded, so that by the time you settle down, you've already climbed the rungs you wanted to on your career ladder. That way, when you do meet your match, you'll be able to devote more time to your relationship, and less time to your desk.
6) Get Body Confident
I'm not telling you to get the perfect body - I'm telling you to love the body you have. And the best time to get body confident, is when you're single. You need to be your own biggest fan.
Yes, being single may mean you have more time to spend on your fitness and personal appearance, which is great, but just make sure that whatever you do, you come away feeling positive and happy with yourself. Self-confidence is extremely attractive.
There's a huge difference between being single and actively dating, and dating really is a lot of fun. By meeting new people, you can learn a great deal about yourself, and about what you need from a relationship. Don't just go for quiet drinks in pubs, make the most of the experience. Try new activities, and visit new places. Embrace the good dates and the bad - in a few years time, you'll be living vicariously through the stories of your single friends, so you may as well get a few tales of your own to share!
8) Sleep Around
Enjoy yourself! Soon enough, you could be sleeping with the same person for the rest of your life. We live in 2014, not 1914. So have a bit of fun! If anything, it will mean that a few years down the line, you won't end up doing something silly. Play the field now, while you're not hurting anyone. Of course be safe, and guard your feelings, but learn about your body. Let yourself appreciate who and what works for you, and what doesn't.
9) Live Alone
If you're hoping for the traditional marriage and 2.4 kids scenario, then you may never get the chance to live alone again. So do it now. Yes, it can be expensive, but there's something really empowering about surviving on your own in the world! When you live alone, you are completely in control of what your flat or house looks like. You can spend all day in the bath, or crank the heating up, with no one to moan at you. And then of course there are the perks of always being in charge of what's on TV, having a valid excuse for living off takeaway, and being able to rock around naked or in your underwear at any time of the day or night!
10) Travel Alone
I've never felt so independent, as when I was backpacking alone. You wake up every morning, and you decide where you're going, and what you want to do. People assume travelling alone will be lonely, but it's anything but. If you're travelling alone, you're a lot more approachable than a couple, so it's almost the complete reverse. Devote some proper time to yourself before you join a lifelong partnership with someone else.
All photos in this article are supplied by Shutterstock under a standard license.