Millennials are waiting longer to move out, get married, and buy houses. While many younger people are just fine with this slower pace, some can feel left behind when they compare themselves to older family members or friends who settled down when they were young. 

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There is a great deal of societal pressure to marry as we go through our twenties. For single women, the situation is even more amplified. However, staying single offers a lot of positive opportunities that those who marry young never get. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re feeling left behind.

1. Not marrying is better than marrying the wrong person.

There’s a German proverb that asks, “What is the use in running when we are not on the right way?” That is to say, if you rush to get married and marry the wrong person, you’re not progressing in your life; you’re setting yourself back.

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If you ever feel bad about being single, remember all of the people who are stuck in relationships, and they wish that they weren’t. You’re many steps ahead of them. You don’t have to go through a painful breakup that will potentially leave you with baggage. You just have to meet the right person, and you’re ready to go.

2. You have more time to learn about and improve yourself.

People who marry young don’t have a lot of time to get to know themselves. Before they’ve fully entered adulthood, they find themselves living with another person and changing to accommodate that person.

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When you are single for a substantial amount of time as an adult, you learn a lot about yourself. You’re not filling free time with your SO’s friends or watching their favorite show. You get to decide how you spend your time.

This alone-time can be truly illuminating. If you’re in that situation, don’t dread it—treasure it.

3. Even married people feel pressure to keep “progressing.”

Humans have an uncanny ability to worry about anything and everything. In high school, we get good grades so we can get into a good college. There, we strive to do well so we can get a great job. We have to find a great person to marry so we can have great kids. Once the children are born, it’s time to look for the best pre-school, so that they have the edge over other kids. It never ends.

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There is not a point at which you can just relax and enjoy your life unless you insist on doing so. Getting married doesn’t make societal pressures go away—it just replaces the old pressures with new ones. 

4. You have the opportunity to explore.

We don’t want to make marriage and parenthood sound like a prison. However, single people are in a unique position to explore and travel as they wish.

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Sure, it can seem lonely going somewhere by yourself. But you can literally go anywhere in the world, and you don’t need to compromise with a partner or children. There is great comfort in the security of a relationship, but the freedom of being single gives you amazing opportunities. Just be sure you take advantage of them.