Why Singleness Should Be Celebrated, Not Tolerated
As most of you know, I’ve spent the greater part of the past six years examining what it means to be single. And writing three books about it. And pointing out all the many positive aspects of single life. And leading the “Single & Fabulous” parade down the Main Street of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, the Internet, and basically any media outlet that would listen. And generally being the poster child for shiny, happy singleness. And you know what? That’s awesome, and I’m proud of the work I’ve done to help flip the script on single life so that women (and men) learn to embrace their relationship status as just another part of who they are rather than viewing it as this great, big, scary thing.
But you know what else? I’m kind of growing weary of spending countless hours writing about all the reasons why us singletons should “accept” our singleness…and posting daily reminders about why singleness isn’t “that bad”…and feeling like I’m having to constantly put a positive spin on a negative situation. Why is our singleness viewed as a negative thing to begin with? Who gets to determine that for us? Society? Pop culture? Married people? Did WE label it as negative? Why are we made to feel “less than” or “lacking” or “incomplete” just because we happen to check the box marked “Single” on tax forms and job applications?
And then it occurred to me the other day…almost like a lightbulb going off above my head as I sat and pondered my singleness, and the answer became crystal clear.
Why does singleness have this overwhelmingly negative connotation? Because we don’t celebrate our singles.
We just don’t. At all. I mean, yeah…we have birthdays, of course…but who over the age of about 25 really makes a big deal out of their birthday?
We don’t celebrate our singles. We celebrate our couples for making the decision to get married…we celebrate them again once they actually GET married…we celebrate their choice to start a family (and then celebrate them again and again and sometimes again and again and again when they decide to expand that family)…we celebrate the anniversary of their marriages and the christening and baptisms of their babies and their kids’ birthdays and them buying a new home or choosing to adopt or heck, sometimes we even celebrate when they decide to END their marriage…but we simply don’t celebrate our singles.
Us singles buy gifts we can’t afford and make trips we have to take off work for and get fitted for endless numbers of (mostly unflattering) bridesmaids’ dresses and budget for housewarming presents and birthday presents and engagement presents and anniversary presents and graduation presents and shower presents and on and on and on…all in the name of being supportive of our married friends’ life choices. And that’s a beautiful thing. But why aren’t OUR choices getting celebrated?
Where was the party when I finally ended my eight-year, on-again/off-again, mostly toxic and unhealthy relationship? Or when I hit the New York Times bestseller list? Or when my friend Caroline got baptized? Or when my friend Jeff learned to cope with his sudden deafness, that he woke up with one morning six years ago and that he didn’t let break him? Where was the party when my friend Anetra won an Emmy or my friend William got a job promotion or my friend Alli picked up her entire life to move across the country and pursue her biggest dream?
Or when you bought your first condo or lost 20 pounds or went back to school or walked away from that dead-end job or told that loser ex to take a hike or overcame depression? Where was the big party or shower or celebration to commemorate those beautiful, brave, bold life choices?
We have to stop spending our lives waiting to be set free from this “prison” called singleness so that we can finally join the ranks of celebrated coupledom. If society won’t celebrate us, then we have to start celebrating ourselves. Now. In THIS moment. Our unfinished, unwritten, imperfect lives deserve to be honored. Our life choices DESERVE to be recognized. And our singleness shouldn’t be merely tolerated. It should be celebrated. Because we’re doing this life thing alone and if that isn’t brave and admirable and confetti-worthy, then I don’t know what is.
As always, comment below with any thoughts of feedback you have. Or even if you just want to share your frustrations about single life or your favorite way to celebrate yourself!