Girl, you’re 20-something, so the dating scene might be on your mind. You’ve scrolled through social media and seen couples from high school start to get engaged, and watched enough sitcom wedding episodes to know that settling down could be right around the corner. One day, you’ll snuggle up with your soulmate and make a thousand memories together. You’ll have your first date and take on the really rad parts of life with a partner. But, there are just some types of happiness you need to experience for yourself, especially before you say, “I do.”

Maybe you’re single, or you’re content in a relationship right now. Whatever your current situation may be, you should always think a bit about yourself. Self-love isn’t just some trend that gives us every excuse to take bubble baths with lavender-scented candles. It’s a lifestyle that focuses solely on your well-being and happiness. Before you settle down, you’ll want to take yourself on dates — to coffee shops for some soul-searching, and to places around the world to satisfy your wanderlust. Creating your own life and being able to make yourself smile is key.

When it comes to your happiness, you should never settle for anything less than you deserve. You’ll have so many beautiful life moments with your bae, but don’t forget to focus on yourself, too. There’s truly something to be said for experiencing these seven things solo, before you decide to settle down.

1. Traveling Solo

Take yourself on a trip before tying the knot. Traveling solo might seem scary for some, or even a little bit lonely. But, the Sagittarius in your crew will tell you that it’s really rewarding to see the world through your own lens. You could book plane tickets to somewhere that’s halfway across the globe, or have a long weekend in a local city. The experience is completely up to you.

For awhile now, I’ve said that I’m going to take a week and leave all my worries behind for Santa Fe. I’d love to see all of the art galleries, go hiking in the trails just outside the city, and make memories for solely myself. Sometimes, you just need to channel your passion into your passport like that.

2. Living On Your Own

Living on your own will bring you so much happiness, because you’ll truly feel like an “adult.” Settling down means that you’re ready to commit to the long run. So, figuring out how to cook for yourself and taking time to decorate your cute corner of the city is much-needed.

You’ve watched enough episodes of House Hunters on HGTV to know exactly how you’ll set up your new apartment. You’ll put a picture frame around the peephole on the door just like they do in Friends, and hang your mugs on a hook just below your cabinets for easy coffee access. Honestly, what would you and your roommate do without IKEA? You’ve probably single-handedly funded their sales at one point or another, especially before settling down.

3. Having A Side Hustle

Seriously, you should always be reaching for the stars, and never settling for anything less than what you want in your personal life, or your career. You might have spent so many long hours in the library at school, stressing over finals and getting that degree. Now, it’s time to pursue all of things you’re passionate about, and turn your daydreams into a reality.

Side hustles are necessary to your happiness, because they give you a creative outlet, and likely a thousand opportunities. Even if everything doesn’t go according to plan, you’ll be happy that you chased after a challenge and put your all into something before settling down.

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