In the six weeks or so since my wedding, I’ve had a chance to reflect on how my life has changed as a married woman. There are a few subtle differences (extra ring on my left hand, saying the phrase “my husband,” cooking with fancy pots and pans), but the truth is, life hasn’t changed much. Drew and I lived together almost two years before tying the knot, so other than opening a joint checking account to save our wedding money and deposit cash into once a month for future travels, we haven’t done much differently as husband and wife than we did as boyfriend and girlfriend. But when I think way back to my days before Drew, when I was still very much a single gal, it occurs to me that while there were certainly things I loved about my single life, if I had a chance to live those days over, there are several things I’d do differently the second time around. After the jump, the top five things I’d do if I had a “do-over” on my single life.1. End bad/boring/unfulfilling relationships as soon as I felt bad/bored/unfulfilled.
Years later, it still boggles my mind when I think of the amount of time I spent in relationships well past their sell-by dates. Fear of loneliness, fear of hurting another’s feelings, naively thinking things would magically get better all kept me with guys who were oh-so-wrong for me. All that time I spent going nowhere with those guys, I could have spent going somewhere with those hotties I always made eyes with on the train. I could have traded in boring Saturday nights in front of the TV for nights out with friends that actually made me laugh and feel good about myself.
2. Date outside my race more.
Odd that as someone who actually prefers darker-skinned men, I dated mostly Caucasian guys when I was single. What’s that all about? I wouldn’t trade my husband for anyone in the world, but it would have been nice to learn more about other cultures and experience different relationship dynamics with guys outside my own race when I had the chance.
3. Cry less.
God, the tears I cried over dumb boys and pointless relationships — what a waste! I barely remember some of their names now, but at the time, the trauma of unrequited like — like, not even love! — was so overwhelming, so all-encompassing, I wasted weeks upon weeks in my twenties crying over boys who would prove to be barely a blip on my radar in retrospect. Every time a guy let me down, I worried I was one step closer to living my life ALONE forever, rather than seeing it as one step closer to the guy who finally WOULDN’T let me down. All that time I could have been riding my bike instead of drying my eyes — it certainly would have been a lot more fun.
4. Travel more.
My coupled friends always took the best vacations and rather than joining them or getting together a travel group of other single people, I told myself, “Some day, when I’m in a good relationship, I’ll take trips like that, too!” And now I DO take great trips (Drew and I have traveled to China and Costa Rica together, on Friday we’re headed to Portugal and Spain for our honeymoon, and we already have exciting travel plans for next year), but why on earth did I think I had to be in a relationship to take a great vacation? Just thinking about all the solo trips — not to mention vacation flings — I missed out on makes me a little sick. I’d definitely take a do-over on this.
5. Always trust my gut.
I used to think my gut was a bully — that it simply didn’t want me to be happy. Why else would it turn on nearly every guy I brought home? Eventually, I stopped listening to it altogether. Oh, what a mistake! Dear gut, I’m sorry! I was wrong, you were right. They were jerks/liars/cheats/morons/Republicans. I’m sorry I ever doubted you and if I had the chance to do it again, I’d listen to your every utterance and take heed.