According to CNN, there is a new prejudice on the horizon: singleism - or the prejudice against people because they are single. CNN is WAAAY behind the times because I have always been convinced of this fact. CNN came to the realization of this "new" prejudice because of a comment made by someone that Barack Obama's choice for Secretary of Homeland Defense (or whatever the official title is) is a good one because she "has no family and (therefore) no life, so she can devote the 18-20 hour days that will be necessary to do the job." (OK, that is my paraphrase of what this idiot, I mean, gentleman statesman, said...but you get the picture) My response: What the heck?
As a single woman of a certain age, I have also run up against this often thought of, but rarely spoken about in mixed company, kind of mentality. When the overtime requests go out at my job, there is a subtle implication that because I don't have a husband and kids to rush home to, I should be willing, ready and able to stay late to help out the secretary who does have a husband and kids to go home to. And for major holidays, when the vacation requests are being discussed, the comment has been made or implied, "Well, all of your family is here and you don't have to travel, so why are you taking the week off?" Or my "favorite" is when people use their husbands or kids or pets as the reason for calling in sick or coming in late and no one EVER questions it - but let me say I'll be late coming in (or heaven forbid, call in sick!) and I get the 5th, 10th and 20th degree line of questioning from well meaning co-workers - as if single people never run late or get sick...I mean, after all, we don't have kids spreading germs or husbands who need to be babied.
And let's not even get into the whole "what's 'wrong' with you? why haven't you settled down? you are such a nice girl - why haven't you found the right man? why are you so picky? why are you depriving someone of how wonderful you are? (and my personal favorite) are you gay?" lines of questioning that you go through, especially if you reach my age and have NEVER been married. ARGH! Like there is something inherently wrong with me because I never settled ... I mean, because I never settled down.
Why can't I just be single? And happy? And productive? And responsible? And content? And fabulous? Because I am truly all those things - with or without a mate/companion/significant other. I am a firm believer that until I am happy with myself/by myself, I will never be happy with anyone else. And I know there are some things that I still need to work on (ok, God needs to work on) within me before I would ever be able to be happy with someone else - or to truly make someone else happy. Talk about baggage, I got some. (Maybe that's why I travel so much! Might as well put it to good use.)
And in case no one has told you, I am a little selfish. I mean, I know that about myself. But it truly came home to me on vacation when my godsister told me that a woman observing her buying some ceramic bowls on the beach remarked to her: "I love those bowls, but my husband won't allow me to buy any." (Ok, first slamming on of the brakes: won't ALLOW you? Uh...ok, let it go - move on) When Lin replied, "Well, I don't have a husband to ask permission of," the woman replied, "Lucky girl." (you got THAT right!) I don't know. It may have a lot to do with how I grew up, but I believe that if I work hard for my money every day, I shouldn't have to ask permission on how to spend it, but that's just me. (And the same goes for any man who would be crazy enough to be my husband - as long as the responsibilities of the house are met (by both of us - I am NOT looking for a sugar daddy), the bills are paid, etc., I could personally care less about how he would spend his money. If he wants to blow $1000 on season tickets to his favorite sports teams, go for it! Life is too short to deny yourself.)
And then I have my friends who love to throw scriptures at me: You know, God says it is not good for man(kind) to be alone. We are built/made for companionship. And I agree with that statement - in principle. There is also a commandment that says, Thou shalt not kill - and if I was with the wrong person, I might be tempted. So, isn't it better (for me) to live my life as I wish - within the confines of God's laws (as much as possible) and be happy/content/free - than to become part of a couple just so that society can be satisfied? I think so.
And let me say this for the record: I have NOTHING AGAINST MARRIAGE. If it works for you, more power to you. I have friends who were blessed to find the right person for them and they are truly happily married. Lin and I met several couples on this trip who have been married for 30, 35, 40 years who when asked the question, "Would you marry your spouse again?" resoundlingly, quickly and without hesitation, said Yes. (and sometimes their spouse was nowhere around when the question was asked). I love hearing stories of how people met, how they "knew" their spouse was the one for them and how they've made it work through trials and tribulations and joys and happiness. It encourages me that maybe, someday, somewhere out there, there might be someone for me. But I am not putting my life on hold as I wait for that person to show up...what if he never does?
I am SURE that this blog will set off a firestorm of comments from my friends - married and single. (It always does...) That's fine. I can handle it. Feel free to let me know how you feel. I look forward to the conversations.
Until then, be blessed.
PRAYER REQUEST: Lin and I are leaving Puerto Vallarta, flying back to Seattle, WA and Atlanta, GA respectively. Would you please send up a prayer for safe travel? Thanks and God bless.