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A week before my birthday, I was lying in bed thinking about turning 23.

Suddenly, it dawned on me that I would be turning 23 and still be single. I called my sister and started having a panic attack which then proceeded with hysterics that I’ve never had a boyfriend before, I was getting old and undesirable and that I was going to be a dog lady. I literally said, “I’m going to die alone,” and at that moment, I truly felt that way.

I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be one of those girls crying in the middle of the night because she would never get a boyfriend. I never thought I would call myself a spinster and feel sorry for myself the way I did. I pitied every girl who complained that she hasn’t meet her “one” yet. And there I was, having a panic attack because I had been single all my life and believed I always would be. After my 15 minute meltdown, I calmed down and realized how absolutely ridiculous I was being. I knew for starters that even though 23 felt old, it wasn’t. I knew that my being single was my choice because I didn’t want to settle. And I knew most of all that if God had planted a desire in my heart to one day have a special other, he would meet that desire in the time & way he felt best.

Even though my thoughts were blown out of proportion, it doesn’t mean that there weren’t legitimate fears behind it, fears all women around the world share. A lot of us are scared that we aren’t going to meet “the one,” and question whether we rejected him without knowing or somehow lost the opportunity to meet him. We’re all a little scared that we are going to live life single and fabulous, and then realize that when we are ready to settle down that all the good ones are taken. And I also think we are scared that of being harassed with the question, “So, are you married yet?”

What gives me encouragement, though, is realizing that we live in a completely different age than what women lived in 50 years ago. Now, it’s not abnormal or strange to be in your early 20s or 30s and be single. Women everywhere are putting ahead their careers and travels ahead of marriage, kids and a picket fence house. They are now embracing their singledom. I am inspired especially by those women who are travelling well into their 30s, of course, but there is evidence everywhere that we live in a time where the traditional status quo for women is getting shaken up. Women cannot be pigeonholed anymore.

I also believe that women are now realizing, with the feminist and self-love movement on the rise, that they weren’t made to settle and that it’s okay to put themselves first. I live and believe that. You got to do your own thing and be the main character of your own story. Living a life of your dreams always means that something else has to be sacrificed, and whether you sacrifice travelling or a family at that point in your life, make it a decision you are proud of and go full force ahead with it.

A woman once said you can have it all, but not all at once. This season in my life is meant for learning and growing and blossoming. Later there will be a season of companionship and the oneness of two people. You can’t rush the seasons. There is a time for everything, and every stage in your life is vital for the next. Be patient and trust that what is meant for you will come to you the right time in your life. And in the meantime, love yourself first and create a life you love to live.

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