The stereotypes surrounding sad spinsters and empty hearted bachelors are dying fast. Marriage rates in the US have hit a record low, and are expected to continue falling. In fact, a Pew Research Center report estimated that one-fourth of millennials may opt out of marriage entirely. These days, a single woman in her thirties is more likely to be satisfied and accomplished than desperate and panicky. A man in the same position is less inclined to spend late nights drinking and womanizing than plugging away at his start-up idea. More and more, young professionals are choosing to postpone starting a family, or skip it altogether. Their motivations are not only career-driven, either. Many young people are choosing to travel, throw themselves deeply into a creative endeavor, or embark on a childless life in order to more fully embrace other roads to happiness. Some do plan on starting a family, but no longer see marriage as a prerequisite for doing so.
Are you an independent adult from this era? Here are 10 signs you’ve fallen in love with being Single.
1. You Often Chose To Stay Late At Work
You love your career. It gives you motivation, purpose, and a deep feeling of fulfillment. You go home well after 5pm, feeling satisfied and accomplished.
2. You’ll Go Ahead and Order The Meal Deal For Two- and Any other For Two Type of Deal
What? It’s a better value, and you’ll bring the leftovers home. Winner, winner – two chicken dinners! There’s absolutely no shame in your game.
3. You like to travel at a moment’s notice
People who treasure their freedom are rarely in a hurry to settle down. The monotony of married life just can’t compete with a one-way ticket to Barbados.
4. You’ve made a drinking game out of a popular dating app
Your married friends may say you’re not taking your search for a soul-mate seriously enough. It depresses you that people actually do take this nonsense seriously.
5. You want to start a family – but you are comfortable doing so on your own.
6. You’ve created an adult life of Your Own
House? Mortgaged. Car? Paid. Quality furniture? Check. Towels, silverware, and anything else you might put on a wedding registry? Yes to all. You don’t need a marriage certificate to prove you’re a grown-up.
7. You’ve embraced an alternative Lifestyle
Maybe you’re a nomad, living the van life. Maybe you sleep on a boat. Maybe you’re a nudist, a traveling zoologist, or a committed bodybuilder. Your lifestyle could theoretically include children, with some major tweaks – but would you want it to?
8. Home is where the Bra Isn’t
Speaking of nudists – even if you are not living the lifestyle, do you practice this philosophy in your own home? Nothing quite says freedom like cooking, cleaning, and wandering your apartment butt naked. You just can’t do this with a family. You really can’t.
9. You sleep like a starfish
10. You aren’t married because you simply don’t have to be.
There are a million ways to pursue happiness that don’t include a walk down the aisle. More people are embracing this thought, and the world is changing. Marriage used to be the only way to enter adulthood. Now it is just one of many, many possibilities.
“Single is no longer a lack of options – but a choice. A choice to refuse to let your life be defined by your relationship status but to live every day Happily and let your Ever After work itself out,” wrote Mandy Hale. Chase your happily ever after, and do not be surprised if it doesn’t include a life partner. Modern fairy tales don’t have to end with a prince and a white dress.
Originally appeared in UniSoul Theory