I recently learned that 11/11 has been designated Single’s Day. I’ve been single far longer than I’ve ever been coupled up and never knew there was a day to celebrate it. It’s nice to finally have an official day to rejoice in my solo status.
Singleness has been in the news lately, thanks to the amazing Emma Watson’s recent coinage of the term ‘self-partnered’ as an alternative to single. Me, I prefer the term solo, but either way, it’s astounding Watson’s decision to remain uncoupled at the ripe old age of thirty is controversial. Even more telling is the fact that the media doesn’t ask the same question of her Potter co-stars. The decision of a man to remain single is not deemed as shocking as that of a woman.
To me, the fact that humans are expected to pair off by age thirty is astounding. There’s a societal expectation that by the age of thirty, humans are supposed to have selected a career that will suit them for the rest of their lives, find a life mate and begun to procreate. To me, that runs counter to reality. It would be nice if it worked, but instead, society puts unrealistic expectations on people. And those expectations have the potential to lead to bad things.
Coupledom changes the way individuals operate. Personal dreams often take back seats to shared goals. Compromise is rewarded. Going solo allows you to move forward to accomplish your bucket list; to not have to apologize for pursuing your own goals.
Society doesn’t know how to deal with solos. Governments reward married couples with tax deductions. There are no such rewards for solos, just lots of solo penalties. In most instances, solo cruise travelers are penalized and have to pay a premium for the right to be alone. Restaurants frequently offer two for one dining experiences, essentially offering a solo diner nothing more than dirty looks. The term ‘third wheel’ is a great example of the discomfort solo folks bring to the table.
When my Great Uncle passed away, his wife’s biggest fear was becoming one of those women who go out together as a group on a Saturday night. I never understood that; I was always far more fearful of being one of those unhappy couples sitting at a dinner table silently hating each other.
For the most part, I love being a solo. I do what I want, when I want to do it. I don’t have to compromise, don’t have to subject myself to an activity I won’t enjoy, and don’t have to pretend to enjoy something that makes me miserable. I’ve learned to enjoy my own company, to enjoy silence and solitude. I’ve also found ways to escape that solitude when needed.
For better or worse, the mistakes I’ve made in this life have been of my own doing. I may have been influenced by others, but the decisions have been mine. And the things I’ve accomplished, I take credit for those as well. If I had to do it all again, I’d make most of the same choices. As easy as it would be to couple up, I wasn’t designed for that path.
There are far worse things than living a solo life. So today (and most days), I celebrate my solo status.
Let me know your thoughts!