The word “lonely” has such a negative connotation. It emits sad girl and sad boy vibes and paints a picture of someone curled up in a fetal position in a dark corner, surrounded by a pool of tears — aka my Thursday night special.

But being lonely doesn’t have to be sad. In fact, like a whole lot of other things, being lonely is what you make it. That’s where the man of my teenage dreams, John Mayer, comes in with his single, “Perfectly Lonely.” Released 10 years ago, back when my face was jam-packed with pimples and I had just found the courage to wear hoop earrings to school, this was my anthem. Whenever it played, my little post-pubescent heart swelled, thinking that he “got me” and I could really “relate.”

And while I’m sure I did connect with the song on some level at the time, now, having been through adult relationships and more life in general, I understand the meaning so much more. I totally forgot this throwback track existed until I was recently telling my friend that really, I was fine with being single. I had a “That’s So Raven” moment, which brought me back to my 16-year-old self, swaying to the melodies of Mr. Mayer. “Perfectly Lonely” has been looping on my Spotify ever since. I even made a playlist of the same title (I’m fine!).

“Perfectly Lonely,” the song and the phrase, truly does encompass the feeling of doing you and having no one to report to after a breakup or in general. As the lyrics say, “It’s a simple little kind of free.” We have so many obligations in life: work, family, friends, appointments, being a contributing member of society, blah blah blah. Being single is one of the only statuses that allows us to practice an obligation to ourselves and doing whatever the fuck we want.

It’s a little loving reminder to have on in the background when you’re doing perfectly lonely things. Whether that means creating the perfect rainbow ombre in your curse word coloring book or pretending you’re a “MasterChef” contestant when you microwave dollar-store mac ‘n’ cheese, you have the time to do stuff all by your lonesome in the most you way possible.

If you’re having trouble getting into your own perfectly lonely mindset, may I suggest the following?:

  • Put on a facemask and give the mirror your best “Mrs. Doubtfire” “Hello” until you nail the inflection.
  • Read books aloud to yourself in different accents (historical fiction in a Brooklyn accent is a fan favorite).
  • Do a sensual menu read (this is just me downloading menu PDFs from different restaurants while I tickle my arm).
  • Partake in an herbal refreshment and go for a walk around your neighborhood.
  • Crab walk as a means of transportation from room to room in your house.
  • Pick your boogers (DO NOT use a tissue).
  • Practice your rebuttal to every argument that will probably never happen, but also might.
  • Rewrite jingles for things like chicken nuggets and ranch dressing (to the tune of “Meow Mix:”) “I want chicken, I want nuggets, Hidden Valley Ranch I love it.” (It’s a work in progress, OK?)
  • Lie in bed on your stomach listening to music and bounce your buttcheeks to the beat of the song.

And like the ever-wise JM says, one day you may start dabbling in the dating world, and that may lead you to your person, but the perfectly lonely journey is the best way to get there.