By Eve Glicksman
There's the widowed woman who doesn't turn on her air conditioner because "it's just me." Or the man who eats fast food
standing at the kitchen counter since his divorce. Or the single woman who works weekends because "other people have families."
Hey, singles are people, too! You have a life and are entitled to the same pleasures and respect as the married masses.
Yet, some singles - especially those who are childless - harbor feelings of having failed and treat themselves as second-best.
This can lead to problems with low self-esteem and depression.
Being happy and well-adjusted is not determined by whether or not you have a partner, though. The love, security and support
of a good marriage are wonderful. But, not every marriage is that positive. And, singles can find similar rewards with friends,
family members and co-workers.
Your outlook on being single may boil down to whether you see yourself as a "have" or "have not." Consider some ways your
life may actually be better as a single:
- More opportunities to widen your social network.
- More freedom and time to travel and explore personal interests.
- No day-to-day compromises; everything is your way!
- Solitude when desired to read a book or listen to music.
- More career flexibility.
- Fewer financial demands, in many cases
Many singles tend to idealize marriage and always think the grass is greener. The picture does not include a snoring mate,
someone else's hair in the sink or conflicts about money, in-laws or which sofa to buy.
With rising divorce rates, the institution of marriage has taken a beating. Still, people who don't marry may encounter
negative stereotypes. Singles may be viewed as odd, immature, selfish, cold or inflexible. The never-married often get a worse
rap than divorced singles.
Don't buy into this stigma! After all, being single may be your choice. Maybe it's time to applaud yourself for holding
your own in a society that is geared to couples.
If you're single and looking for ways to enhance your life, try some of these ideas:
- Create your own milestones and joyful events. Weddings and babies aren't the only reasons to celebrate.
Have a dinner to announce your promotion. Host a "puppy shower" when you get a new pet. Make your own party at age 30, 40
- Reward yourself. Bring yourself flowers and a nutritious take-home dinner when you've had a hard day.
Treat yourself to a spa massage.
- Find volunteer work involving kids or spend time with nieces and nephews if you're feeling that children
are absent in your life.
- Enrich yourself. Take a trip to a place you've never been. Feed your creativity with a painting class.
Join a choral group or a hiking club.
- Take advantage of your independence. Have fun and be spontaneous. Seek out interesting people and activities.
- Get involved in a community group or a cause. Being a part of a group greater than yourself can bring
more meaning to your life.
- Build a social support network. Befriend neighbors, co-workers and activity partners. Make sure you have some
other single friends who understand your needs and can make you a priority.
Most important, live life to the fullest now. Don't postpone buying a house or a set of china because you are not married.
Don't wait for someone else to make you happy when you can do it yourself.