How to be awesome at being single.

If there is one thing I don't talk about on my blog, it's being single. Mainly because it's something that, much like my laundry list of debit card transactions, I prefer to pretend that if I ignore them, they'll go away.

However, whether I like it or not, I am 26. And I am single.

And, the anxiety I feel simply typing that sentence should tell you that I don't always fall into the category of the title of this post. I am not always awesome at being single. Sometimes it seriously concerns me. Sometimes I tell my friends that I am bored of being single and would just like to meet one guy who is worth a second date. Sometimes I get a little panicked when I think about the months - days - hours - that separate me and 27.

But sometimes, it's kind of fun. And sometimes, I think that this is a really special time of life that I will one day look back on and be grateful to have had.  So, while I certainly cannot always call myself awesome at being single, here's what I've figured out...

Be selfish. This is the only time you can do it. I see my sisters bouncing around 37 babies all at once while I'm beebopping from a run to yoga and dinner with friends and I often think: wow. No one is relying on me to make them dinner or change their diaper or do their laundry. So use this time to cultivate deep relationships with friends, pursue career goals, be spontaneous, become super fit, get involved at church, learn a new language, garner your green thumb... Anything that might be pushed to the back burner when you have a husband or baby relying on you.

But don't be that selfish. Give, give, give your extra time. The more I give, the more I want to give. It's a beautiful cycle. And I have found that the more I give, the more I get back. I'm not saying there are things about you that need to change before you get married (because I am positive you're awesome), but I am saying that you'll be surprised how much you can grow by giving back. I am constantly surprised at the way my heart is changing as I continue to serve others, even though I thought I was in a pretty good spot a year ago.

Figure yourself out. Sort through your mess. We (both single and married twenty-somethings) have gunk. By the time you're in your 20s, things start to stick a little more. Deal with it and grow from it. Let your pain be redeemed for the greater good. See a therapist if you need to. There is no shame in it. If you want, you can be like me and pretend you're just meeting a friend who is super good listener and accepts money on behalf of her incredible wisdom (it's just PR, really).

Figure out what you want. What do you want to do like your parents? What do you want to do differently? Which of your friends do you want to be just like? And which ones do you want to avoid? Make lists, be detailed and own it.

Know your deal breakers. I went on a date recently and was talking to my sister, Ashley, afterwards. I was telling her a whole list of concerns and then at the end said, "but I don't know if those are deal breakers." At which point she said, "Ya, I don't think those are deal breakers, Whit..." Sometimes it's easy to get to picky. And, on the contrary, sometimes, when we're frustrated, it's easy to settle too much. I think every Christian girl was once told to make a list of every thing she wants in her husband in middle school and pray over it. That's a great idea and I know some people who were so fortunate to have those lists fulfilled. But, my word, if I wanted the things I wanted at 13 now, I would be concerned. Throw away your 1000-word lists. But know your deal breakers. For me, there are certain things I must have, would love to have, would like to have and would like to avoid.

Enjoy it. We will never get this time back. I'd enjoy it a lot more if I knew I was going to meet with husband on an exact day (and I'd make sure to do my hair really well that day). But we don't. And all we can do is find joy in each day and trust that there is a bigger plan. So just focus on being the best you and loving the life you have. And remember, something beautiful is on the horizon.