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Enjoying it while it’s there

Posted: November 26, 2013 8:07 a.m.
Updated: November 27, 2013 5:00 a.m.

People seem to get nervous when they realize you’re past 25 years old and not only unwed, but also not even close to being wed. I don’t really understand why it worries people so much, but I try not to let it bother me. Someone, who will remain unnamed and un-described, recently asked me “Haley, when are you going to get married?”

I responded, “Probably after I date someone I really like for at least a year or two. You probably should ask me when I’m going to do that.”

She looked confused, as though she couldn’t tell if I was being sarcastic or not. I decided to let it go and changed the topic of conversation to handbags. Handbags tend not to ruffle too many feathers.

I’m not excessively liberal or progressive, I don’t think, and certainly not when I compare myself to my graduate school friends. Yet I have found that even in this day and age, being single is often seen as an act of rebellion. Sometimes, I get the feeling my more senior relatives think I’m being obnoxious by not sporting a wedding band and a 2-year old on my hip.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t look down on anyone who has had the good fortune to get married and have children. I think that’s wonderful and beautiful and it’s certainly something I desire for myself someday, but not at this moment. I am somewhat picky when it comes to choosing someone to spend the rest of my life with and I have yet to meet anyone who even came remotely close to what I was looking for.

But what I do have and love is a social life filled with interesting friends who live in various places and enjoy participating in various exciting activities. I absolutely love being able to hang out with my friends whenever I want for as long as I want and not having to “check in” with anyone with my whereabouts and who-with-abouts.

I like doing what I want to do, when and with whom I want to do it. I don’t like asking for permission from someone who isn’t my mother or father. I don’t like having to explain to another person what I’m doing and all the other details that go along with it.

Another excellent thing about being single is not having to drag a boyfriend along to functions that are supposed to be with your circle of friends. When you don’t have a boyfriend along, you don’t have to keep checking up on him to make sure he’s OK, having fun, has food, drink, etc., etc.

When you don’t have a boyfriend along, you don’t feel like you have to babysit a grown man. Maybe I was dating the wrong people in the past (I’m sure that I was), but I often felt like I was babysitting when going out with my past significant others.

However, there is a clear drawback … maybe you have already spotted it. What about those situations where a date is needed? Not having a boyfriend means not having an obvious go-to date. Yes, I spent some time -- post breakups -- where I had to go to say an engagement party or something of the like and needed a date. I was anxious at first, thinking should I ask a friend? Should I go alone?

It wasn’t until I just sucked it up and went to a function alone that I realized the amazing and exhilarating freedom of it. Certainly, it’s nice to have the security of a date, but when you go to a function alone you have the leisure of talking to whoever you please for as long as you please. You can have as many or as few glasses of champagne without some voice nagging you about why are you drinking so much? Why aren’t you drinking at all?

You can laugh as loud as you want and tell horror stories about your exes and wear whatever outfit you want. You never have to check with your date to make sure he’s still having fun and he’s still comfortable and he got enough to eat/drink and he’s not ready to go.

You can leave whenever you want when you go solo. You never have that feeling of guilt that you’re making someone else stay late when they’re ready to go and you never have to wait on someone else when you’re ready to go. You can make new friends and get new numbers in your phone and you’re more likely to meet a possible soul mate when you don’t have a definite not-soul mate glued to your elbow.

Being single is scary and a lot of the time it can be uncomfortable, but it’s a whole lot better than being with someone you don’t like just because you don’t want to be alone. So, for now, I’m going to make the most of my situation and have fun and do exactly what I want to do. I do look forward to one day meeting my soul mate, of course, but I plan on having as much fun on my own until he comes along.

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