Flying Solo: Loving it or Hating it?
By Sydney Chhabra, Ph.D.
Being married and having children have traditionally been considered the only healthy and satisfying way for a woman to exist. A man’s happiness is not defined or bound by such mandate. The pressure to couple up and get married peaks in a woman’s 30s, gets questioned in her 40s, and finally gets buried in the decade birthdays thereafter.
What if your life path didn’t fall into traditional expectations? What if you never married, had children, got divorced or became widowed? If you internalized this cultural belief of finding happiness only after marriage and children, you are likely to find yourself unhappy flying solo. If so, it’s time to start thinking about yourself and your life in a different way.
Remember, in order to change how you think, feel, and behave, you need to be willing to give up things the way they are, to have them the way they can be. If you are searching for contentment and happiness outside yourself, you are very likely going in circles. There is a familiar saying, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result!”
So how do I learn to enjoy flying solo you ask? Here are 5 meaningful ways to bring about change:
Stop judging yourself. Be mindful of self-critical thinking and negative thoughts about your life situation. “I’m a failure, I couldn’t make my marriage work”, “Why did I never get married?” , “Why did I end up alone in retirement?” Negativity wastes the possibility of productivity, passion, and change.
Work for something meaningful. Is the work you are doing meaningful to you? Do you look forward to getting up each day and making a difference in the world? If you’re not working at a paid position, are you volunteering your time and contributing in some way?
Find your passion! Bring yourself fully to your work, friendships, or hobbies today and every day. What excites you? What do you focus your thoughts and ideas on most?
Keep company with people who inspire you and support your potential! This creates energy and propels us towards our goals. If you don’t have friends like this, seek out a life coach, mentor, or other professionals.
Challenge yourself - You don’t have to climb a mountain to do this! Learn a new language, travel, take a tai chi class, or learn to cook. The world is full of so many opportunities to learn and grow. Break out of your shell, step away from your comfort zone and explore what your neighborhood has to offer.
Decide what you would like to cultivate in your life and then take tiny steps each day to bring forth what you most want for yourself. As you move in the direction you desire, you will gain a greater sense of self-confidence and a boost in your state of being. Keep in mind that there are many paths to finding fulfillment in life. Even if yours didn’t take the traditional path, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your flight. Bon Voyage!