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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TAMU chapter.

Recently, I turned 26. It’s not one of those ages where something special happens; the next age in which a grant event can take place is 35 cause what’s not to love about being eligible to run for president. It’s really an unremarkable age – except for the fact that it’s really causing to me to have a different perspective on things. I made it past a quarter of my life, but now I really have to look long-term in what I’m doing. One of those things is my love life.

When you’re younger, it’s a lot more easier to experiment and date many people. I personally hung out with some people but it didn’t click except in the case of my ex, but we broke up after 1.5 years. It doesn’t feel that way anymore. Now that I’m older, I’m starting to feel society’s expectations to be married by 30 and have kids after. This is especially reinforced seeing people from college get married, start families, and the whole shebang. To be fair, I chose to go to graduate school for my doctorate and a PhD takes up so much time that I end up being too tired to do anything. In hindsight, I probably should’ve been more active, but there’s no time like the present.

After hearing from other older people like me, I realized that as I get older, I need to be more selective with who I spend my time with to make the most of it. This is especially true in a love sense as I would rather spend time with someone I can see spending a long time with. Viewing time as a commodity in this sense is really making me more willing to turn down people the second that a red flag is raised.

In the past, I would see red flags and think “hmmm, I can deal with that and put up with it because people grow.” However, this optimism would turn sour as that interaction ended. It made me feel complacent even though that would come to harm me. Over time, I just became tired of it and it made me more reluctant to even go out.

With all that in mind, it has framed how I operate when trying to date as I grow older. The second I see a red flag in someone, I gently end things and move on. That way, I end up wasting less time and make more meaningful relationships. I don’t need to jeopardize my happiness just to put up with someone so that I don’t stay single. Speaking of being single, I’m realizing with age that it’s okay to be single because there’s no way to know if you can be alone like this ever again in life.

I know that I don’t want to be single forever, but I am liking being alone, especially since once you have a family and whatnot you can’t be alone anymore. Being alone helps me figure out things I love and build my self-worth. It also is a little freeing because I don’t have to account for another person.

When you’re young, you might be reluctant to reject someone out of being mean. I don’t know why, but those few years have hardened me and made me more willing to be firm and selective. It also made me more willing to be direct and just go for my goals in terms of dating. However, this is all influenced by what I’m seeing in my peers my age with many getting married and all that. The takeaway here overall is that with age, you start to become more picky and that’s totally okay. After all, you get one chance for a good life.

Sophia is a self-proclaimed potato on the TAMU campus. She is a third-year Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. student that loves being in Her Campus. She loves it so much that she continued being a member into grad school. This is her second year writing with HC TAMU, but wrote for HC UFL from Fall 2017 - Spring 2020 when she was an undergrad at the University of Florida. Sophia loves writing about social justice topics, science, and loves showcasing her dog, Banshee (ig: @BansheeTheBeauty). Follow her on insta, twitter, and snapchat @divasophia97.