Happiness and Being Single
My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude. ~ Warsan Shire
I have never been married, so funny how that feels like a confession of some kind of sin in America. The expectation of this society is that at some point in early adulthood you should marry. You know, settle down, have some kids and being a good little cog in society’s wheel works. I don’t say this lightly, there is an immense pressure in America on single people to marry. The pressure is even more so on women and there is an even greater pressure on them to have children. This is the script of American society and we are all expected to play by the script or be cast out to the edges of society, made to feel different. Never underestimate the potency of making someone feel like they don’t belong.
People very often succumb to this pressure and marry the “best” person they can find, the one that most fits their idea of what society wants for them when they hit the point they think they should marry. Safety, security, the right looks, a nice enough person, an attractive enough person. I know I sound utterly cynical but the simple statistic that 50% or more of marriages fail would seem to back up my thoughts on the subject. Don’t get me wrong, I know of some fantastic marriages. One of my best friends has been married nearly 30 years and has a wonderful marriage.
In talking one time to a good friend, she was utterly confused as to why I wasn’t married. In her opinion, I was attractive, smart, fun a good person, successful and I had dated a number of women. In questioning me she finally came to a conclusion, “you won’t settle.” She said this to me with a mix of surprise and revelation. No, I won’t settle, to me there has never been an imperative that I should marry. If the circumstances are right, then sure, I’d be happy to marry. But if marrying someone won’t make me happier than I am alone, why would I marry just to fit some societal script, or to alleviate the fear society beats into us of growing old alone.
I am not alone in this thought. This past weekend I had long conversations with two single female friends, one never married, one who is divorced. They have similar ideas about being single and both are incredible women. Both, as I, have made a decision that being happy is more important that meeting societies expectations.
But all choices have their consequences
It is not easy living outside of societies expectations. There are some huge upsides to being single, the independence, the control over your own life and decisions, but there are down sides as well. At times, particularly if you’re not well, it can be lonely. There is no one who will automatically be the person to pick you up at the airport or from a medical procedure, especially if you have moved to a new place, or live where there is no family nearby. You rely on your friends and sometimes that can be awkward.
In talking with my friends, and I’m in agreement with them, I do not regret the choices I’ve made or where I find myself in life. You make the most of the situation you find yourself in, wherever you are at. I would have liked to have had children, but it would have never been acceptable to me to have been an unhappy parent. Had the situation and the timing been right, it would have happened, but it didn’t. So now I get to spoil my nieces and nephews like they are my own.
Happiness is a choice and an attitude, you need to be happy with what you have. You need to make choices that make you happier regardless of what society expects. So be good to yourself, true to yourself and you’ll have happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane
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