Have you ever felt really good about your independence and spirit and then entered a family party where everyone asked why you were still single? As if it was a bad thing that you needed to "get over." The fact is, being single today is a positive thing. It isn't some kind of holding spot where you linger until you find a mate. In fact, many midlifers today choose to stay single and have found how to be happy alone. Here's how they do it.
Key to Happiness: Embrace the Freedom
I remember when my aunt got divorced years ago. I was a kid and thought everyone had to be married in order to be happy. When I asked her if she was going to get married again, she laughed and said "no way." She went on to have relationships, but she never did marry. At the time, I couldn't understand what was so great about being single, but now I do. After her divorce she was independent for perhaps the first time in her life, and this was an incredibly freeing feeling.
Having freedom to make decisions for your own life is one of the best things about being single. I'm not just talking about being your own person, I'm talking about living without compromise. You can take a trip over the holidays, visit a friend for Christmas (instead of your in-laws), or just stay in and devote time to nurturing your spirit. No one can tell you otherwise, and you don't need to feel guilty about it.
How to Become Happy: Be Good to Yourself
When you're married, you have to give to another person. (If you don't, the marriage tends to go badly!) When you're single, however, you can be selfish. In fact, you should be. This is an especially important point if you've been in a marriage for a long time and basically don't know how to spoil yourself. Being single means you have the ability to pamper yourself often, and if you aren't, there's no time like the present to start.
Definition of Happiness: Don't Compare Your Life to Someone Else's
One of the best quotes I've ever heard was from the writer Colette, who said, "What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." I think a lot of singles look at their life through this impossible lens created by people who believe that being married is the only right way to be. Rather than realizing they are actually happy to be single, they are critical of their life instead.
Even if another person talks about their marriage, it doesn't mean they are any happier than you are. Never look to someone else's life as a measurement for your own happiness, because your life is so unique you can't possibly compare it. Instead, look inside to how you feel about your life when you aren't being pressured by other people. Do you like where you are? If so, you don't need to question it. If not, you can work on changing it.
Finding Happiness: Don't Hold Off On Goals or Plans
Never wait until you meet someone to make your dreams come true. If you've ever wanted to travel or write a book, for example, do it now. You don't need someone else in your life for this, and who knows, you may meet the right person while you're busy doing all these goals you set up for yourself.
How to Make Yourself Happy: Invite a Variety of Friendships Into Your Life
When you're in a couple, you may be limited in the types of friends you have. This isn't the case for all coupled up folk, but sometimes people get in a rut and don't embrace new kinds of friends. As a single person, you have the ability to hang out with whoever you want. Having a variety of friends will help you see the world differently and allow you to learn about your world from a different perspective.
Happy Retirement: Singleness Can Be Permanent or Temporary
It doesn't matter if you've been single all your life or if you are temporarily single while you hold out for the right person. Singleness can be something you choose, or something you embrace. On a final note, I've got one more quote from Colette which puts it all in perspective. "Be happy. It's one way of being wise."
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