A few days ago, one of my long-time mentors told me that he was asked to speak to a group of young people and wanted my opinion about what he should say.
Always ready to be of service, I was ready for us to talk about education, money, career, best cities to live…and then he said, “What three things should young people do while they’re single?”
Something about that question gave me pause…not because I didn’t have an answer, but because of my mentor’s apparent confidence that I would have one. So, I set aside the partially troubling thought that I was on of his list of go-to people on the topic of being single…and got to work:
No 1. Be Proactive, Relentless, Strategic, and Intentional about placing yourself in communities of like-minded people.
People who can stretch you, people who are more creative than you, people who are good with money, people who possess interpersonal skills that you don’t. This allows for maximum self-discovery, self-improvement, and identity building independent of a partner. It also gives you great stories, a wide social network, and an endless list of places to hang out when you start dating again.
No 2. – Be Healthy.
Physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and psychologically healthy. Identify and name the aspects of yourself about which you are most insecure (physical traits, past mistakes, social/class background, etc). Be honest with yourself. Improve the things you can. Complement the things you cannot. Be aware of how these issues create blind spots for you when you’re dating or selecting who to approach romantically.
No 3 – Serve.
Do it often. Do it with those who inspire and encourage you. Do it for those who have no way to repay you. Get used to enjoying giving your time and your self to revel in the life victories of others. One of the amazing side effects of serving / volunteering is that you move through the world (and therefore into relationships) will a full soul, which acts as an antidote to the kind of selfishness that’s common when everyone is young and chasing.
What do you think? Did I leave something out? Should I take something out? Should the list be longer or shorter than three things? Should there even be a list?
– Day G.
Host, Class of Hope & Change