Five Things You Should Try Before Settling Down. ~ Yang Li

Via elephant journal
on May 14, 2012
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Photo: Steven DePolo

The Clock is Ticking.

Much like a bucket list of things to do before you die, there are a number of things you have to try before you settle down with a partner or children. Let’s face it, despite what those girly magazines say, the domestic life does take away a chunk of your freedom and add a heck of a lot of responsibilities. So, what are you waiting for? Take off on that trip you’ve been envisioning or jump out of that plane and feel freedom rush through your brain. Here is the list of must-dos that I’ve compiled for my single life.

Photo: Chovee

#1 Take a road trip with some good friends.

Yes, that means exactly what it says on the tin. Even better, make it a trip that involves several beauty spot stops. Make sure you allocate at least one night to sleeping under the stars—a completely unmissable way to enjoy nature close up and personal. You don’t even need to have a proper destination at the end (although Las Vegas would be fantastic as an arrival destination).

#2 Visit Las Vegas.

Bright lights, beautiful people, sweltering heat, champagne on tap- Las Vegas is just one big giant desert city full of fun and hijinks to be had. Las Vegas is definitely one to do when you’re young, free and single. It’s better to go to the gambling Mecca when you aren’t responsible for anyone but yourself. Formerly playing host to legends such as Tom Jones and Elvis, Las Vegas has entertainment fit for a king. There is just one thing left to say…Viva Las Vegas!

#3 Throw the ultimate house party.

Do you want to be known for hosting that ultimate, once in a lifetime party? Well, you should. you should at least throw one magnificent, responsibility-free, insane party in your lifetime. Prepare for your house to be trashed—don’t worry, this is the one and only time. Invite everyone you know. Stock up on booze, invest in an awesome sound system and let nature take its course. You never know, your epic house party could be responsible for several romantic matches—or maybe break-ups!

Photo: Christian Haugen

#4 Live on an island for a month.

For pure escapism, live as a beach bum for a month on a tropical island. Due to the hotter weather, it is easier to sleep rough (no pigeons, park benches or pee-stained subways here). Find out what is safe to eat in the wild or just live on the kindness of strangers. This could be the perfect chance to write the book you have always been dreaming of. It is also a great opportunity to indulge in another culture, learn to fish/hunt, and learn some life-saving survival techniques. You could even just live as a local and get a minimum responsibility job in a kitchen. It will be something to tell the grandchildren.

#5 Volunteer abroad.

Not only will you get to see a bit of the world, you will also be helping others in the process. Think digging water wells for thirsty African children or teaching Indian children in the slums of Mumbai. This is best done before you get into a committed relationship or marriage, as you can dedicate months at a time to charitable efforts. The next time Children in Need or Comic Relief comes onto the TV you can smile smugly and say “I physically helped out and did something.” Of course, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to donate money.

Family life and couplehood are fabulous, but they do change your life and create more responsibility for the happiness and well being of others. If you aren’t in a committed (romantic or parenting) relationship right now, embrace your singleness and use the time to explore your life.


Yang Li, a London PR girl, and she is curious about all the ‘quirky but cool’ things in the world. She manages website that features glamorous and leisure life in London. Contact her and share your thoughts with her! Follow her on twitter @Smiley_Yang or contact her by email at [email protected]

Editor: Lorin Arnold

Bonus: some sage wisdom:

A life fully-lived:

Mindful travel tips:


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15 Responses to “Five Things You Should Try Before Settling Down. ~ Yang Li”

  1. shaydewey says:

    Posted to Elephant Love and Elephant Family Facebook Pages

  2. Jeremy says:

    Huh. I did 1, 2, 4 (for a week), and 5 (living abroad, not that into volunteering that way) with my wife. Only #3 was before marriage, since it was in college. To be honest, I can only think of one thing that I wouldn't do with my family – invite strangers to stay with us. If your partner is your partner and best friend, why wouldn't it be better with them?

  3. Victoria says:

    What am I really glad I did before I had kids? Meditation retreats. Long ones. Study retreats, cabin retreats, programs with great teachers around the world… I can still do some of this with my children, and I can leave my children for shorter retreats, but there are some things that require a lot of time and space. While my children are young I want to be doing things with them – things they enjoy too. So I know I'll get back to those long, intense meditation programs someday. But it won't be soon (and that's okay)!

  4. […] the mechanics behind it, but if done mindfully, it’s what atheists would call… a miracle! A gap in your usual space and time will open doors you didn’t know existed, present you with enjoyable shortcuts to the only journey […]

  5. […] Sure, having to leave my friends every one to four years sucked and having to make new ones again was a job, but I always had friends no matter where I was in the world. Today, I am still in contact with my childhood friends who have dispersed across continents. Even though it means that I am not in close proximity with them, it is amusing to watch us all growing up in different countries, cultures and societies with our own trends, languages and climates. It makes me feel like the world is not such a vast expanse after all, and that making marks worldwide is not so unattainable. In fact, it is very doable. Oh yeah, I’ve been doing it all my life. […]

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  9. Nancy says:

    Instead of making a list of concrete "things you should do," that might be completely incompatible with a person's particular personality, financial situation or career path, I would be inclined to merely say that people should have a period of singleness in their young adult life where they're free to go where they will, with whom they will and explore spontaneity.

  10. […]…… […]

  11. Amy Evergreen says:

    Always wanted to join the Peace Corps. Love Vegas. If only…

  12. Tony Tunga says:

    Thirsty African children and teaching Indian children in the slums… problem solved ? feel-good effect and nothing else ? what a shameful narcissistic approach !