It was Sunday at 8:40 p.m. when I received a text from a running buddy with a link to this story (about being happy even though you are single and in your 40s with no kids) and the note “Did you write this?”.
Of course, she was being facetious. If had an NYTimes byline EVERYONE would know about it. Also, I am not in my 40s (yet).
I opened the link. Read it. Related to it. Put my phone down and went back to reading a book and drinking rosé. No. I am not kidding. I when I got the text, I was reading a book and drinking a glass of rosé.
The next day, I was still thinking about the article, so I posted the link to Facebook. I received a few comments in solidarity and one comment in disbelief — not that childless, single women in their 40s could be happy but that childless, single women in their 40s were still dealing with this shit.
Look. I get it. We have all seen the movie about the single woman, alone, in her apartment. Wearing frumpy pajamas. Her hair is not washed. There is nothing on TV to watch. The only books she has lying around are all of the relationship advice and self-help variety. She drags her unwashed self to her fridge only to discover there is nothing to eat but expired dairy products.
And, if this is your only experience with single women over a certain age, then yeah, of course you can’t fathom how we could possibly be happy living like that. Never mind most of us have to wash our hair regularly for work or that there is always something on TV (or Netflix). If there isn’t, we can download something with just a few clicks. And while we are downloading, why not download something better to read? Nothing in the fridge? Good thing we live in a major city where there is a corner grocery store on most corners where no one looks twice if you are shopping in your frumpiest of sweatpants and holiest of t-shirts.
But I am here to tell you that most single women don’t actually live like that.
Whether it is because of a dearth of decent, eligible men or a surplus of amazing single women in Philadelphia, I have a lot of single, women friends my age. We all eat together, go to happy hours together, workout together, go to concerts together, see movies together, vacation together; we even plan our retirements together. That's right. This girl is a Miranda who can’t wait to be a Dorothy.
So, you see, most of us aren’t even afraid of dying alone.
I also have a lot of friends who are in relationships. And, even though they have a partner to do things with all the time, we still eat together, go to happy hours together, workout together, go to concerts together, see movies together, and vacation together. Crazy, right?
Admittedly, though, sometimes I’m hungry and no one else is around and so then I eat alone.
There have been times when I need to get a workout in at a very specific time and so I have gone on runs alone.
There have been concerts I want to see and everyone was busy, so I went alone.
There have been movies I wanted to see that no one else was interested in (or they already saw it) and so I saw them alone.
I have even traveled alone.
And while the first time I did any of these things alone it was a bit intimidating, it was never lonely. I was never sad.
So, the next time you feel like pitying one of your single female (always female, because of course men are happy, swinging bachelors) friends, I want you to think about the joy you felt the last time you learned you would have your whole apartment or house to yourself. Whether it was because plans fell through or the stars all aligned, remember how your heart sang when you realized you could spend the evening doing whatever you wanted, watching whatever you wanted; not answering to anyone or getting judged by anyone. You were completely free. You could dance around your apartment to Taylor Swift or catch up on all the Bachelorette you DVR'd. You could take a bath. Or pee in privacy (I hear this is a problem for some moms). Remember that happiness? That joy? We single-women get to experience that feeling every time we come home.
And if you don’t know that feeling or the thought of having to spend a whole evening by yourself fills you with dread, then I feel sorry for you.