May 17, 2002 was marked in my personal planner as “Freedom!” It was the day that I would graduate from high school and officially be my own woman. Living on my own in college was a great experience and a small taste of what it meant to “pay the cost to be the boss.”It was at that time in my life that I knew I could not live with a boyfriend unless we were engaged. The magic of living on my own wasn’t just attached to bragging rights; it was critical to learning who I was and what I would not be able to tolerate if I ever had to live with a significant other before marriage. If you are over 21 and have never lived in your own space where you call the shots, then you haven’t lived yet! Here are 8 reasons why you need to get up, get out, and get something on your own before saying “I do.”
- You find your “domestic rhythm.” Are you Florida Evans, Gina Waters, or Peggy Bundy? I work from home and will always work from home, married or not. So the way my life is set up, the house has to be spotless or I can’t focus. I’m going to be the mom/wife who cleans as soon as the children are in bed so I don’t have to bother with it the morning.
- You discover your “deal breakers” in relationships. When you can take care of yourself you are crystal clear about what you will and will not put up with it, and it’s easier to decide if you want to pursue certain men. When a potential mate approaches you, the deal breakers are already established in your head. You won’t let his money force you to live a miserable life because you were bringing home the bacon before he was even thought of.
- You learn how to survive in a drought. Being Ms. Independent is all fun and games until you mismanage the discretionary income for the month. This mishap forces you to get creative and learn a new skill. For example, I quickly learned how to cook my own meals rather spending money on Papa John’s every week. And because the salon can get pricey, my cousin, who also lives on her own, has learned to make some pretty cute wigs courtesy of YouTube tutorials—Look at God!
- You’re forced to be financially responsible. Nothing is more humbling than being broke. Once you’ve blown all the funds on fast food and bundles, you learn how to value every penny you earn. So now you find yourself reading books about money management and actually taking steps to increase your credit score. You may even feel compelled to stop lying to the student loan people.
- You can slay your goals without the drama. When you’re busy turning your dreams into reality, you don’t have time to be Molly the Maid to a boyfriend or waste energy arguing about recurring issues. Your home environment should be a peaceful place that allows you to think clearly in peace so you can get your ish together.
- You learn the value of “me time.” Women who take the time to enjoy their own company now rarely lose themselves when they get married or become mothers. You were you before either of those things happened.
- You realize your parents were right about everything. And I mean everything—from money not growing on trees, to the pitfalls of procrastination, and the importance of having a prayer life.
- You learn that life is a little sweeter with someone stable by your side. Listen, after being your own super hero for a substantial amount of time, you find out that it’s going to take more than free dinner dates and a movie to have a fulfilling love life! Your perspective on what qualities you need in a spouse become less superficial.