- only one; not one of several
- unmarried or not involved in a stable sexual relationship
Being single isn’t something to trumpet about. In the office you are treated like a work horse, the government incentivises you to tie the knot, the society thinks you are selfish and, worst of all, some take it upon themselves to pity you.
A friend of mine had a late job interview one Friday. At the end of it a middle-aged man she was speaking to said “It’s late - I’d better go home and see my kids.” It did not sound very polite. That episode prompted a brainstorming session on the subject of singularity.
Married and loved up couples came to mind first. It is not uncommon for couples to sideline their single friends. As soon as a few of my girlfriends got engaged, I was subtly removed from their social circle. The only parties singles are invited to attend are Christmas drinks but dinner parties are usually reserved for couples. I blame Bridget Jones but is she really a typical singleton?
Single friends I know have much more interesting lives than my married friends. They play in orchestras and sing in choirs, attend lectures, classes and debates, they frequent art galleries and test their endurance in outdoor challenges in the UK and abroad. They usually go on much more adventurous and exciting holidays.
My single friends aren’t selfish. If anything, they make the best godparents, they find time to console, listen and support - they are the ‘bestest’ of friends. They view themselves as individuals not halves, which makes them great companions.
Hannah Betts wrote a compelling article for The Telegraph this year Being Single by Choice is Liberating. She challenges the prejudice that "single living is somehow unusual, brave or downright deviant.” It is a fact that in Britain, for example, “almost 2.5 million men and women aged between 45 and 64 have their own home and live in it with no spouse, partner or other family member.” Betts suggests that people choose to live on their own because it is superior to do so. After all, both men and women are a lot more independent today than the previous generations, often living away from their ancestral roots, relying on themselves for financial support and choosing their own social circles. Betts adds that being single by choice is a lot more social than what “singularity” may suggest and responsible. Would not you rather be in charge of your own happiness?
Betts also quotes Eric Klinenberg’s book, Going Solo: “Living alone comports with our most sacred modern values: freedom, autonomy, control of one’s time and space, and the search for individual fulfilment. <…> It also helps contemporary people achieve solitude, which we need more than ever now that we spend so much of our time immersed in social media, digital culture and busy professional lives."
Whether you are single by choice or otherwise, be guided by your own barometer of happiness. Learn to accept yourself as an individual, not seek a ‘soul mate’ to 'complete you'. "If we lone wolves end up as someone’s partner, we’ll be better companions because of it; and if we do not, better company for ourselves."