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7 Lessons For Embracing Single Life With Joy

Susan is a trained Life Coach and an avid adventurer who embraces singlehood while continually tackling new challenges. She guides singles in overcoming self-doubts and social stigmas and lead to fulfilling lives. Susan shares and inspire widely as a confident single woman about her breakthroughs beyond self-imposed limitations.

Executive Contributor Susan Fong

The start of a new year is always the time for ethnic Chinese across the globe to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. During this massive celebration a familiar tradition unfolded: the giving of ang paos. Known as "Ang Pao" or "Hong Bao," these red envelopes carry the tradition of gifting money as a gesture of blessing during special occasions and festivals. In Malaysia where I grew up in, the giving of ang paos during Chinese Lunar New Year must be from the married to the unmarried. This, supposedly a well-meaning tradition, often accompanied by well-intentioned but ultimately pressuring words, urging singles to find a partner soon, so they too can have the privilege of giving ang paos.

Photo of  Susan Fong

I've observed this custom for as long as I have been single. However, as time passed, my sentiment towards this gesture has soured, leading me to question its necessity and implications. This pressure to find a partner is just one example of how society can define happiness for single women. We are often presented with a specific life script: find a good husband, get married young, raise a family. 

For a long time I was trapped by these stigmatizations and myths of this conditional happiness. In my search to carve out a space for myself as a single woman, I often defaulted to avoidance as a means of self-protection. I also used to believe that happiness was a destination achieved through accomplishments like getting married or having children. I was trapped in the pursuit of conditional happiness, constantly feeling that I am not happy now and that I will be happy if or when I have more boxes ticked.

Gradually, I began to challenge these limiting beliefs. I came to realise that this "checklist" approach to happiness was ultimately unfulfilling. I questioned why my well-being should be conditioned by external validation or the fulfilment of societal expectations.


Embracing single life with joy

For many women, singlehood is not a waiting room for marriage, but a fulfilling life choice. Single women over 40 often face unique challenges and pressures, but they can also find a strong sense of purpose. I have learned to find joy and serenity in embracing single life, and here are seven lessons I’d like to share:

1. Never mind others’ judgement

In a society inclined toward swift judgement, it's crucial to acknowledge that our worth isn't defined by others' opinions or societal norms. I've learned to dismiss judgmental remarks, recognizing that my journey is inherently valid and unique, irrespective of external opinions.

2. Resist complacency

Life is about growth and exploration. Instead of settling into complacency, I actively seek out new challenges and adventures, pushing beyond the boundaries of my comfort zone and embracing the opportunities that come my way.

3. No woman is an island

While I cherish my independence, I also value the significance of communal bonds and having healthy and constructive social support networks. Maintaining connections with friends, companions, activity partners and family provides invaluable support and companionship.

4. Self-care

In the hustle of single life, it's easy to overlook self-care – both physical and mental. However, prioritising self-nurturance has been pivotal in sustaining a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.

5. Be financially independent

Financial independence provides a sense of security and liberty, affording me the agency to chart my own course and pursue my passions autonomously.

6. Treasure the small joys

In the pursuit of happiness, savouring life’s small pleasures assumes paramount joy. Whether capturing a perfect selfie or indulging in a favourite pastime, embracing moments of self-expression and delight spices life with richness and fulfilment.

7. Count the blessings

Despite the challenges of single life, there’s much to be celebrated. Devoting time to recognize and express gratitude for these blessings cultivates a profound sense of contentment and fulfilment.

Finding happiness on your own terms

Being single doesn't mean that I don't value partnership or marriage. On the contrary, I adore and applaud how wonderful healthy relationships can be. But they shouldn't be the sole source of happiness. As I navigate life's twists and turns, I remain open to whatever the future may hold. Whether I continue on the path of singleness or encounter my "Mr. Right," I approach each day with optimism and gratitude, being present that authentic happiness stems not from conforming to conditional happiness, but from living authentically and true to oneself. By embracing your authentic self and living life on your own terms, you can find happiness that is lasting and meaningful.


Susan Fong, Life Coach for Singles

Susan is an ICF accredited Life Coach and an avid adventurer who embraces singlehood while constantly challenging herself. As a confident single woman, Susan shares and inspires widely about her breakthroughs beyond self-imposed limitations. Her overarching mission is to assist singles in overcoming self-doubts and social stigmas so they can live fulfilling lives. Susan's coaching prowess is enriched by her diverse background as a humanitarian professional in the development sector. Having worked internationally with individuals from various ethnic backgrounds, ranging from grassroots communities to executive levels, Susan brings a unique understanding of human dynamics and cultural sensitivities to her practice.



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