Sunday, January 11, 2015

National Singles Day 2015

This year, I'd like to celebrate my girls' embrace of being single, and recognition of what Bella DePaulo has defined as singlism. First, the celebration.

One of the reasons I most craved time alone was that when the girls were younger, it was difficult for them to appreciate time alone. If I was there, they wanted to be with me. Which, of course, is great, but after the age of 10, I thought it would wean down. For one of my girls, it did not.

She almost never wanted to be alone, and that was a problem for both of us (and her sister, who could appreciate - and crave - alone time). And more than my own wants, I was concerned because I know that being alone is a part of life sometimes.

I was a child who could spend hours alone in my room, making up stories, entertaining myself, so I couldn't really understand how she could not want to do that! But eventually, she did learn to enjoy her own company.

So now, when we do have downtime, it is really nice for us all to come together for meals, to hang out for a while, and then one of us (and these days, it could be any one of us) will say, "okay," and the girls will head upstairs to separate rooms and I'll stay downstairs and we'll be happily involved in our own solo activities.

I am grateful to know that each of them know how to be their own best company. They're still incredibly social, they probably have more friends now than they ever have, but they are not dependent upon anyone else to be content.

Now for singlism. We see it almost every time we watch a TV show or movie together. And we talk about it.

This is not a recent example, but typical. We were watching an old Roseanne episode where they were all worried about one character who stated that she wasn't going to go on any more dates. She was going to be content by herself and with her son. And it was like the end of the world! Oh NO, you can't DO that! My daughter started yelling at the TV, "OMG, what's the big deal?!?"

On a podcast, a "dark" thought was, "I'm afraid that I'll end up alone. That no one will love me." And that right there is the problem.

Your status can be "single" or "divorced" and you can be loved. I am loved. I am loved by my family, I am loved by my friends, and I love them, too.  Being alone and being unloved are not the same thing.

The girls now pick up on these without any prompting from me. The girls may be the ones to tell me about something they saw or heard that bothered them because of the implication. They are cognizant of singlism, and it gets them just as riled as me.

This is important to me, again, not just to justify my own decisions, but so that they understand that the choice is entirely up to them. That being single is preferable to being in a relationship that makes them feel crappy...or even just like a chore. Their ability to pick up on singlism, however benign, gives me comfort because I know they won't allow themselves to ever feel trapped.

I'm writing this a few days before, so I don't know how we'll end up spending this actual National Singles Day. But since it's a Sunday, I'm pretty sure we'll be able to enjoy it on our terms.

Happy National Singles Day!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

US National Singles Day

How exciting! US is having its own National Singles Day on January 11!

Many ways to participate:

  • Join the party in West Hollywood
  • Sign the petition to make it an official American holiday
  • Volunteer or become a sponsor for a National Singles Day event
  • Simply take a moment to reflect on what you love(d) about being single and/or what you love about your single friends (50.2% of American adults are single, according to the US Census Bureau)
  • Do something that you love to do solo

Over the New Year's weekend, I was able to finally get some time to do many things I enjoy alone. Binge-watching, dancing in my living room, listening to podcasts, making things I love to eat, belting out some showtunes. My girls were home for most of it, but they also enjoyed their own solo activities and then we'd come together for a while, and then go back to our rooms. It was exactly what all of us wanted.