One night while out celebrating a friend’s birthday, ladies’ night festivities turned into a sister circle of vulnerability and truth-telling. Reflecting on past and current relationships and career aspirations, we talked about the challenges we face in intimacy. There was a common theme in all of our reflections — we wanted to be our best selves and had deep concerns about how to be that in partnership with a significant other.

There were many fears among us. One woman talked about her inability to trust men who pursued her too intensely and prematurely. Another talked about how she would accomplish all that was in her heart to do while balancing motherhood. There were a few who voiced concerns about not meeting men with desirable traits as often as they would like. Religion was a factor for one. Ambition was raised by another. The list goes on and on.

Interestingly, purpose and self-esteem quickly became the focus of our conversation, as we debated the value of singlehood versus romantic partnership.

I said that night what I say whenever I get to speak to a group of single women: seize this opportunity of singlehood because you may never have it again in life! The loneliness and anxiety voiced by some of the women is understandable. But all too often, many of us give greater attention to what we don’t have versus appreciating and rejoicing in what we do have.

If you are single and without children, you have a freedom that should be taken advantage of. Take some time to identify what it is that you want to accomplish at this point in your life that you cannot do at any other time. What cities and countries have you always wanted to travel to? What degrees do you want to get? Is there a business you’ve always wanted to launch? Is there a book inside of you waiting to be written?

As I once heard a pastor ask, what would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

Live out your single years with full intentionality. If it takes a vision board or a five year plan to keep you on track, then map those things out. If your diet and exercise need improvement, then get on track to a more holistic life. If you need accountability partners to support you through your journey, then identify those people in your life who can serve in that capacity.

But remember — it’s not just about what you do. It’s not just about identifying and living out your purpose. It’s also about who you are. Are you self-aware? Have you taken the time for meaningful introspective work? Have you healed from past wounds or at least began the process? And don’t be ashamed to admit that you can’t figure all of this out on your own; that’s where trained therapists come in handy!

Take control of your life so that you don’t feel like a helpless bystander watching the years pass you by. You have the power to give meaning to this season of your life. Own your singlehood as freedom. Savor it. Seize it. Do with your life what only you can and start today.