As a 40-year-old who is single and content with it, I thought I'd share some of the many reasons I embrace it instead of feeling panicked or sad about it. Let's be clear - I'm a fan of relationships - but I'm not a fan of being in the wrong relationship or being a part of a couple just so I don't have to be single. I might add to this.
  1. I choose how and with whom to spend my time.
    I have a life I really like. I have great friends. My job is really cool and keeps me busy. And I luuuurve my alone time. Being single allows me to have created this awesome life. And to decide who to include in it. Sometimes that's a date or a boyfriend but it's a life I love regardless of my relationship status.
  2. First dates, while generally kinda awkward, give me a chance to try lots of places on my list of places I want to go (this is not a list I've put on the list app...yet.)
    For me first dates are usually with someone I've never met in real life, just chatted with online. So they tend to be a little awkward and a little rote - we're both making sure the other person isn't a creeper and has reasonable conversation skills. That said, I have a really long list of bars and restaurants I want to try that I'm always adding to, as well as museums and hikes and other stuff. First dates are a great opportunity to check these places out.
  3. The grass is always greener syndrome.
    Sure, I get envious of people I know in relationships (at least the people in good ones.) But I've learned that a lot of my coupled-up friends, even those who are happy and love their partner, are envious of my single status! They wish they could just book a flight to somewhere on a whim, or not do dishes for a week, or go flirt with that guy/girl they have a crush on. Everyone gets envious of things others have that they don't. It doesn't make what you have worse.
  4. Dating sites/apps - they are fun! And if they're not, I don't have to log on!
    If I'm in a relationship I wouldn't have a chance to see the (usually hilarious) profiles on dating apps. Why so many bathroom selfies, guys? Also, sometimes there are fun or nice people on those sites. Sometimes it's just fun to scroll through and see who else is out there (I refer to it as "shopping for men.") And, when the sites make me feel frustrated or sad, I take a break. Easy to do.
  5. Relationships are hard.
    They are not always magic and fairy tales. They take compromise and work and risk. It is scary to take the leap and open yourself up. So I don't often do it. But I do when I really feel that thing that you feel, that "I'd rather know that I risked it than spend time regretting not having taken the chance" feeling.
  6. I don't want to waste anyone's time.
    As previously stated, I really like my life. So why waste time with someone who I don't really enjoy sharing it with just so I can bring a +1 to a wedding? If I'd rather spend the time I'm spending with a date with my friends or with myself, why am I wasting both of our time?
  7. I don't have to be single, I choose to be.
    I live in a big city, I know lots of people, I'm relatively attractive, I'm smart and I have a good job. If I just want to be in a relationship for the sake of being in one, I can find a guy, probably a perfectly nice one, and couple up. But I want chemistry and fun and romance and connection. I've been in relationships that have those things and I don't want one without them. I'm willing to make compromises and do the work for the right guy. But not for any guy. So I'm where I choose to be.