On Being Single

I am getting ready to go to a bridal shower today.  I'm getting ready early because, ever the well-organized one, I have no gift yet.  Oh, I know what I'm getting.  I've put A LOT of thought into getting it.  It's just that by the time I get home in the evening, I am to pooped to pop. 

My grandmother used to say that.  I never understood that really.

Now I do.  Implicitly.

Bridal showers and baby showers have always made me uncomfortable.

They didn't use to ... back when I was a kid or a young girl, and I thought that people would be throwing such things for me one day.

But now?  Now that I am 41 years old, and when you go to one of these things, where ALL the conversation is on babies and husbands and of weddings and showers of the past, well, it effectively excludes me from the conversation.  So, I'm just there to give a gift and leave.

Okay, yes, I realize I am there for more than that, but you see what happens in the brain of a single girl now, right?

See, here's the thing, even though we are in the year 2013, and even though the girls that are younger than me have been raised as Thoroughly Modern Women, the feeding frenzy for the perfect man, perfect dress, perfect day, perfect birth, perfect child(ren) is at such an all-time high fever pitch, Singles have been informed both verbally (if you can believe the gazingas of some among us) as well as non-verbally that we really, really need to settle down and experience what the rest of the deliriously happy in our culture are experiencing.

Only, here's the thing. 

Divorce is up.  Way up.

Cheating is up.  Way up.

More people are being treated for some form of depression than ever before.

Families are wrecked ... that wreckage is way up.

There are men that would rather work three and four jobs than go home to a wife and kids.  That's way up.

There are women that, because they got everything their hearts' desired as children, feel the need to demand that of their husbands now.  So, the nagging is waaaay up.

There are men that, because they got everything that their hearts' desired as children, feel the need to demand that of their wives now.  So, being a complete and insensitive pig is waaaaay up.

Debt is waaaaay up, because no one knows how to save ... or limit themselves ... or understand that we don't need EVERYTHING ... or just plain say no.

Dissatisfaction is on the rise because everyone has been told that they must be deliriously happy all the time.

So, yeah, sign me up for that, right!?

Marrieds tell me all the time, "I just want you to be as happy as me," only they don't look very happy.  They complain all the time about their spouses.  They let their kids rule the entire show (entitlement and creating spoiled children that get everything is exhausting).  They complain that they want to be home all day with their kids, but then they complain that they want adult conversation because they are with their kids all day.  They complain that they want a bigger house ... more money ... more time for vacations ... bigger vacations ... better travel ... they just plain complain.

But they want me to be happy?

And you know what happens?  We singles get told that enough, and suddenly, we're thinking, "Wait a second!  We must be missing something!  We're not happy!"

And then, because that's not bad enough, around coffee or during a book club or because psychologists of this world have nothing better to do than analyze this question, books have been written about the fact that maybe Singles in their late 30s and early 40s are some how damaged ... or are socially inept ... or are closeted gays or lesbians ... or mentally unstable ... or are desperate ... or apathetic .... or are .... NORMAL?  Nope.  Can't be normal.

So, Singles buy that argument as well. 

Marrieds start looking for friendships that include other marrieds with children because logistically it just makes more sense, and suddenly, those single friends you had don't seem as much fun to hang out with any more and that furthers the divide between us all.

I was sitting around my recently cleaned living room the other day, and after struggling with some friendships that I have worked hard on, but that have fallen to the side because, I guess, I just can't keep up with their married with kids crowd, I looked around and said, "Self, I am happy!  Yes, I live by myself, but this ... all this, is mine!  No one helped me get it.  I earned it myself.  I have a rich life full of lots of hobbies and things I like to do.  I enjoy a great amount of things in this world, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with me."

It wasn't a pep talk so much as it was an epiphany.  I no longer buy the arguments.  They no longer hold any water.  My life is just as fulfilled with out children in it as those that have them tied tightly to their apron strings.  You, with the aprons, may not see it, but it is.

My life is rich and sweet, and it doesn't matter that I am not sharing it with someone every single moment of every single day.  I am sharing. Period.

Marrieds, a little word of advice.  We all get that this is the road you've chosen, but it may not be the road that was chosen for EVERY BODY.  So, yay for you, but stop making it every one's choice.  Celebrate my choice. 

Celebrating is always so much more fun than criticizing/critiquing/looking down your nose at someone else.


serialadopter said…
You are spot on about the lack of contentment among everyone. Although our lifestyles are vastly different I have few friends that truly can relate to my life choices as well, so I get that too. Last night after meeting someone new to our family they said, "You must be tired all the time". Tired often, but not all the time. Just because we can't imagine being in another's shoes doesn't mean there's anything weird about it. If it's not for you, fine, but it's not weird.
Megan said…
Amen, Paula!!! I do not understand why we feel the need to insert ourselves on other people. Where does that come from?

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