For women these days, being single for years at a time is normal. I was single for 6 years between the ages of 18 and 24, and now that I’m single again at 25, it could be at least a year before I find another boyfriend. While being single can be lonely and challenging, you have to remember that you are better off alone than dating the wrong person i.e., someone who has issues, who makes you feel bad about yourself, who is self-centered or emotionally unavailable, or who drains your energy.

Because you might be single for a very long time, it also doesn’t make sense to delay becoming who you really want to be, or to wait for whoever the next guy is to come along. Done properly, being single is fantastic. So, here are my 8 ways to make the most of it:

1.   Take time to get your life together. Without a boyfriend, I had a ton of time to study and work (lol). I did internships, got work experience and built up my resume. Okay, maybe I was taking life a bit too seriously 😬. The point is that being single is the time where you put yourself first.

2.     Travel alone and do whatever you want. I took the train solo from Moscow to Beijing. I died my hair purple. I moved from London to the US. When you’re single, you’re only responsible for yourself (and your relationships with family and friends), which is amazing. This is the time for you to grow and take risks.

3.     Enjoy being selfish with your time. I spent my time exactly as I wanted to.  At university, I studied in the library until midnight, then partied until 4am, and never had to text anyone when I got home. When you’re single, your time is your own. Be selfish and use it as you wish.

4.     Become financially independent. Finding a guy to “support me” was some 20th century bullshit my dad told me about. Instead, I got a side hustle as a private tutor, and earned enough money to fund the lifestyle I had always dreamt of: being able to buy candy whenever I wanted 🍭. Having money means you don’t have to answer to anyone. So, take this time to ensure your financial independence (especially so that you never consider dating an average dude just because he has a slightly above average bank account).

5.    Work on cool projects you’re interested in. For a while, I thought that I needed a boyfriend before I could start becoming the person I wanted to be. Eventually, I was single for so long that I figured I had better get on with it anyway 😂. I started building a birth control startup, writing a lot and creating the MissEducated podcast. That was freeing. Being single is the perfect time to start showing up for yourself and building cool things that help you learn more about who you are.

6.    Figure out the truth about men. Most guys are meh. Some are absolute garbage. Some are genuinely amazing. When I was single, I wasted a lot of time trying to get garbage men to fall in love me. Luckily, none of them ever did 😌.

7.    Go to parties and enjoy them the right way. I used to go to parties to try and hook up with people. I wasted a lot of nights being anxious about whether a guy was interested in me. Eventually, I gave up doing this. Now I go to parties for me and my friends, and I have way more fun 💃.

8.   Realize that you are complete as you are. As a girl, I was raised to feel that I wasn’t good enough on my own. The main message from society was that I needed a man to complete me. This turned out to be a complete lie. It took a while, but eventually I got so into being independent and living my best life that I accidentally become a more confident and happier person. If you’re single for long enough, this will happen to you too.

Yes, it might take a while for them to find you, but someone worth dating will come along for you eventually. In the meantime, being single gives you the opportunity and the time to invest in yourself, and not look back. Good luck! 🌻