The Single Lady’s Bucket List

10 things to accomplish before settling down

Newly engaged Jessica Simpson poses with fiancé Eric Johnson. Hopefully her single gal’s bucket list is complete!

Sure, bucket lists can be cheesy, but they’re also effective. And aside from a midlife crisis or health scare, few things provide the same kick-in-the-butt reminder, that: Hey, life’s fleeting, and there’s vital stuff you need to get done, stat.

Case in point: your status as a single woman. The day will come when you’ll have to give at least equal weight to your husband or children’s interests. But right now? It’s all about you: finding yourself, nurturing your goals, doing stuff you’ll regret not doing, if you don’t.

Here are the top 10 items we feel every single lady should bucket list…

#1 Move out on your own
From mom and dad’s house to setting up house with hubby? We advise against it. Although staying in your childhood home can be financially attractive, try spending at least a year in your own place. (And yes, sharing with roomies counts.) You’ll gain life skills, independence and self-confidence by renting or owning your own place. It’s real sink or swim, grown-up life, baby! – and you’ll remember your bachelorette pad with pride, even when you’re a grandma!

#2 Claim your family baggage
“Like it or not, mom and dad are our primary role models and we often repeat what we learned from them – especially from their relationship – in our adult lives when we have a partner” says Courtenay, BC-based clinical counselor Esther Kane.If your parents had a less-than-ideal marriage, this may impact the way you relate to your partner – with undue suspicion, competitiveness or even clinginess. “We all have ‘unfinished business’ from our family-of-origin, so it’s great to work on this before we enter into a relationship,” such as marriage, says Kane.

#3 Learn to love yourself
Liking yourself isn’t the same thing as being self-obsessed or narcissistic. It means accepting yourself for who you are, and showing a healthy regard for yourself – as well as other people.  “It’s important to be  comfortable in our skin – to appreciate our strengths and accept our faults also when they come up,” says Kane. A woman who likes and respects herself is attractive to men who like and respect women – and that’s an essential starting block not just for adult life, but for marriage and eventually, parenthood.

#4 Build your own credit history
“It’s important to establish good credit in your own name. A positive credit report is how lenders decide whether to issue a new account or loan, raise the credit limit on an existing account or even to decide what interest rate to charge on a new or existing loan,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, Executive Director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada. Other times when your credit history comes into play: applying for a car lease, renting an apartment, getting insurance, even applying for certain jobs. Upshot: “Request a copy of your free credit report from one the two major agencies in Canada, Transunion or Experian to see what financial shape you’re in right now,” says Toronto-based Schwartz. If it’s not great, visit Consolidate Credit for improvement tips.?

#5 Have a hot fling
He’s so not husband material, but the passionate connection you two share in bed makes up for the fact that: A) You’ve got nothing in common.
B) He can’t sustain a conversation with your friends. (Or, you, once you’re both clothed again.) C) You’ve pegged the expiration date on this “relationship” as one month from now. So long as you’re both consenting adults and no one’s getting hurt, “Who’s to argue against awesome sex?” ponders therapist Kane.

#6 Splurge on a ridiculously luxe It Bag or designer shoes.
Be a big girl and buy yourself a grown-up trophy when you clinch that year-in-the-making deal or major career promotion. And we’re not talking outlet-mall steal, we’re talking in-your-face-gorgeous, current-season, must-have, It Bag or to-die-for shoes. Yes: hopefully, one day your man will surprise you with a Vuitton purse or those gorgeous riding boots you circled in your fave magazine, but every woman should have at least one prestige piece she can take all the credit for bagging on her own.

#7 Travel alone.
“I wanted to explore other countries and find out more about myself,” says Danielle Joseph, 29, who recently moved back to Winnipeg after a couple years exploring the Cayman Islands, Ireland and remote nature outpost Churchill, MB. Many women find getting away provides the perfect environment for self-reflection. Furthermore, “You can explore what you want and set your own agenda,” says Joseph. There will always be opportunities to travel with gal pals or a special man. But don’t  shortchange yourself by never having travelled alone – it could be one of the most empowering experiences of your life.

#8 Learn how to cook
You really should know how to cook. It’s essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle: homemade meals are lower in fat, calories and sodium than convenience-foods. Cooking also saves you money, money you could be saving for a down payment or awesome vacation (see #7). Finally, there’s something nurturing, powerful and super-sexy about a woman who knows her way around a kitchen. Nigella Lawson. Giiada De Laurentiis. Cat Cora. YOU.

#9 Stand up for yourself
Your parents advocated for you when you were growing up. And your future husband will stand by you in the future. But today? You’re an independent woman who can fight her own battles. Get up, stand up, if someone does you wrong. Find your voice now and you’ll never lose it.

#10 Cultivate your passion
The dark underbelly of family life is this: If you’re not careful, you can lose your sense of self and of the person you were before you became Mrs. and Mommy. But here’s the secret of happy wives and mothers: they know where “we” ends and “me” begins. And everyone in a family benefits from a happy mom. Develop a passion, whether it’s mountain climbing or photography, gardening or yoga. Something you love reading about, practicing, studying, will travel for, can talk about for hours. We’re not talking hobby, we’re talking passion. You won’t just be a more interesting future wife – you’ll also enjoy a more interesting life!