Just a bit more than a half century ago, the ideal was simple and achievable: get married, get children, work, enjoy pension – and it was considered normal and the only path to take. Today, however, the demographics have shifted in the western world. The number of single adults is unprecedented. And not only are people staying single longer before tying the knot: more and more are staying single for life. There’s always been an image of a sad great aunt who has never been married, but the single “aunts” of today are nowhere near. Here, we explore the life of a single woman in the 21st century, with all its benefits and downfalls. Rejoice, for the former are greater!
Being Single – A Choice
Even today, after Sex and the City, that has paved the road to the concept of a happy, single woman, the society still frowns upon her. It’s all fun and games in your twenties when not many of us want to settle down either way. But once we hit the big 3-0, oh, no, here come the unsolicited advice and worried questions, some of them rude enough to bring into conversation your biological clock. People still have the idea that unmarried women must be sad and lonely and that the end goal is nabbing a groom. However, the reality is far from it. Being single does not mean that “nobody wants you”, and you know it very well. Maybe it’s the opposite, and that’s fine! Even those women who would want to find a partner don’t set up their world so that it revolves around this prospective person. They’re not sitting in our homes every night writing sad entries in our diaries. They’re going out, they’re socializing, they’re spending time with people they love, they’re chasing careers, investing in personal development, traveling, learning new languages or how to knit or cook, dating if they want to, and bringing home who they want to. Isn’t this life something worth celebrating? Of course, it’s not glamorous at all times, maybe even not the majority of the time. Sometimes it’s just Netflix and chill, sometimes it’s days in the pajamas without seeing daylight. And just like being single, it’s a choice they make.
The Monetary Benefits
One of the obvious upsides of the single life is one person being in charge of virtually anything that concerns her. It is especially prominent when it comes to money. Of course, when two people make money and have a joint household, it gets to be a little less expensive in terms of rent, mortgage, and the like. But when it’s only you, it’s also only you the money gets spent on, and the only one responsible. Given that you’re not the irresponsible child you might have been throughout your first year at work, this can work very well. No one will have any comments on how much you pay for Spotify subscription or fancy shoes you like. If you rent or own a teeny tiny studio in the city center, that’s up to you, just like living in a spacious three-bedroom on the outskirts of the town. If you want to save for something, there’s no danger of that money ended up being used for your partner’s car repair or their cousin’s wedding. You’re the only one responsible for your money, and that also means the only one to blame if you’re not treating it right. If you’re not already on the path of monetary security, read about it and consider budgeting. After all, at this moment you don’t have to spend on children. Maybe in the future; but even if that’s not a part of your plan, being sure in yourself financially is something worth achieving.
Discovering Sexuality, One Step at a Time
It might have really started with Sex and the City and continued with other popular shows that centered strong female characters and their desire to explore. Most people are sexual beings; and finally, it’s not just men who are socially accepted to date and sleep around if they want to. Feminism has done a lot for women; one of the things achieved is the freedom to do as we please without being judged. Okay, judging may still exist, but we’ve also learned not to care. We took our pleasure into our own hands – sometimes quite literally. We’re not afraid of testing women’s sex toys, but find them useful to learn to achieve climax either on our own or with the end goal of doing it with someone in bed. If sex is bad, we know it can be detrimental to a relationship and we can choose to either work on it or leave. We’ve finally come to understand that the right to be happy and satisfied is ours just as much as it is men’s; and we don’t even need men for that. Single women are free to find the right partner by kissing way too many frogs beforehand; to experiment and discover their sexuality, free of the ideas of good and the bad.
Loneliness as a Myth
Loneliness can be seen as a trait of single people, but it actually isn’t. People who are single by choice know that it’s better to spend quality time on your own than being with someone who’s not the right one. And we don’t even mean the “right one” as in the one person you’ll find and spend the rest of your lives together, but the right one for that particular moment and walk of life you’re in. You probably wouldn’t want to be with your boyfriend from high school at 35, would you?
Single people usually have a range of activities that fill their time, be it just overdoing it at work, or a lot of hobbies and activities. Often times they have a wide range of people they hang out with as well: there are friends from college, work friends, friends from the yoga class and so forth. But not only are they not lonely when with others; even when they’re alone, they are rarely lonely, because they know they have to plan their time around things that make their brains active. The feeling of purpose beats loneliness every time.
Why It Can Be Daunting at Times
But being single is not rainbows and butterflies, because nothing ever is. You’ll feel that when you get invited to a wedding and are asked to confirm whether you’re coming alone or with a plus one. (How should you know whether you will have a plus one nine months from now?) You’ll feel that once a year or so at a big family reunion; even if you’ve trained your parents and grandparents not to ask you about the prospect of marriage and children, there will always be a well-meaning uncle who you don’t see often and who will feel it is his obligation to tell you that you need to find someone to settle down. And finally, you’ll feel it when you meet your friends, whom you consider family, and they’re all coupled and start to think about life paths that you just don’t have in mind. When your colleagues or new superiors ask you to work weekends because you’re the one without family – you’ll think it’s unfair, just like when a colleague cuts corners due to a small child at home.
But deep down, you know the pros and the cons; and you know it is your choice and having a life you choose yourself is way more important than being accepted by people who don’t even know your circumstances, habits, wishes or plans. (We’re talking to you, Uncle Rob.) Some brave women fought to make this lifestyle a reality, where you don’t have to answer to a male guardian and are free to choose your own path. Don’t betray them by succumbing.
After all, “single and fabulous” is not just a saying, right? It paints quite a good picture when you think it through. A woman who takes good care of herself and acts as if she is the one responsible for her own life is nothing less than fabulous.