I absolutely love being single. I am at a stage of my life where it feels like all I need is myself, my friends, and Stages to feel fulfilled. This is pretty normal for a university student; no one is putting pressure on us to find someone and get into a relationship. If you do, that’s great. If not, it’s extremely normal and also; great. When I’m at Queen’s, at class, a pre, or doing some of the extremely weird activities my friends and I tend to get up to throughout the week, I am part of the majority, and I don’t think twice about it. 

But I happen to be the youngest by a lot in a big family, and over the years, I have often found myself at a family dinner or vacation third, fifth, seventh, or even ninth wheeling. This is very enjoyable most of the time because I am surrounded by people I love and the more the merrier. Sometimes it’s isolating. Everyone has their person, the one they are looking out for and then there is just me. I sometimes catch myself questioning what is wrong with me, why am I the odd one out, the single kid in the family. But then I remember that my eldest brother is 29, and we could not be at more different stages of life. So when I think about it, I actually want to be alone in that way right now. 

So, as a certified expert in the subject, I will give you all some tips in the art that is ‘ninth wheeling.’

Do not compare yourself to people at a different stage of life than you. 

While this may seem obvious and very simple, trust me, it is a tough one. I used to cry because my brother was applying for university, and I was stressed that I wouldn’t get in or wouldn’t be able to handle the application process; I was in the first grade. It’s easy to look around the dinner table and notice what is different about you than everyone else there, so stop and remind yourself why. University is a time to try different things out and figure out what you want. The amazing thing is that you will probably still have no idea or have been completely wrong about what you initially thought by the time you graduate. Life is full of different chapters and seasons, which are different for everyone, but one thing is sure; no one expects you to settle down when you are twenty-two, and you should not expect that of yourself. I always feel a weight off my shoulders when I remember I am nineteen.  

Remember that everyone’s priorities and personalities are different.

I am still not sure what I want in life. I like the idea of having time to figure things out, enjoying life and taking the time to really figure out what I want. I don’t really believe in timelines; you have to get married at a certain time, have kids, buy your first house and so on. This narrative works well for some people, and that’s great, but it can also be super restrictive. Some of my friends wish they had a baby right now, some are relationship people, some want to remain single until they are ninety. I like talking to my friends about this kind of thing because we are all so diverse in what we want, and supportive of one another. It’s easier to ninth wheel when you use your own internal clock to determine what you want rather than looking to the couples around you. 

Enjoy the people who bring you joy regardless of their relationship status. 

Yes, sometimes it can be hard when you look at the people around you as blank-faced couples, but when you see them as the people you love spending time with, this is an honour and very fun. My parents, my siblings, and their partners are some of my best friends. I have made so many beautiful memories with them and have turned to them for advice in good times and bad. My sibling’s significant others have, in many ways, brought our family closer and are now most definitely a core part of it. I cannot picture my life without my honorary sisters. When you keep your mindset on the fact that you are single and everyone else is not, you take away from appreciating all the wonderful things that come with having new people brought into your life. 

 

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