Having never been married, I have no idea what the blessings of married life are, but I could take some guesses. Also having never been married, I don’t know what the challenges of married life are. What I do know, is that singleness brings many blessings.
I am free to choose what I want to eat for supper, and even to eat nothing at all if that is my fancy. As a single person who lives alone, I am free to dry laundry in the living room, make as much mess as I like when I cook, and I have the whole fridge to myself. If I had a TV there would be no disagreements as to which channel to watch, or whether the TV should even be on. If I want to go away for a day, a weekend or longer, I am free to go wherever I want, without having to consider the desires of a partner. On a practical level, my time is my own and I am free to please myself. I am thankful for many blessings and benefits of the independence of singleness. Over the years I’ve read articles that bemoan the life of a single person, comparing it with the ‘perfect’ life of a married couple or family. Those articles have usually grated on my nerves, as they are often unrealistic and unreasonable in their portrayal of both singleness and marriage. Being single is not a curse or a burden. It is neither better nor worse than being married. It is just different.
I’ve been chatting recently with a friend who is in her 30’s, married and has two young children. We’ve been comparing notes on our tradition journeys back from cross cultural life to living in our passport country. Many of our struggles have been comparable: loneliness, confusion, relief, anticipation, questions, and simply re-learning how to be British in the UK! We have also been able to share where our journeys are vastly different because our family situations are. Together we have been dreaming how single people and families can support each other, as at the end of the day, we all need each other. Most people my age are either married or in a long term relationship. Being single and 50 puts me in the minority. And so today I want to share some of the challenges I face as a single middle-aged person. I keep mentioning age, because it is significant. It is more usual to be single in your 20’s or even 30’s, meaning that there are potentially more peers with whom to share life and the challenges. I have very few single friends, simply because most people at this phase of life are married or in long term relationships. It is not my choice to live alone, but due to circumstances beyond my control, it’s the way it is for the time being.
I have very few single friends, simply because most people at this phase of life are married or in long term relationships. It is not my choice to live alone, but due to circumstances beyond my control, it’s the way it is for the time being.
My motivation in writing these things is not to look for sympathy or pile expectations on anyone. It is simply to give a glimpse into my world, in the hope that it will encourage others, either on their own journey of singleness or to help strengthen the connections between single people and families. And for the record, I have a fantastically supportive family and small group of local friends. This isn’t about pity; it’s about growing connections!