Advice for Singles in Fact and Fiction

There’s something that’s bothering me more and more lately about single people. Not all single people necessarily, but many of you at the very least are obsessed with not being single anymore. You think you can finally be happy if you find a suitable mate, that one person that understands you like no one else, and you’ll finally have the chance to share life with someone instead of going it alone.

And yeah, as a happily married person, I can say those things are pretty awesome. If you find the right person to spend the rest of your life with, you can count yourself very very lucky.

But lets examine that phrase at the end there shall we? “The rest of your life.” The rest of your life is hopefully going to be quite a long time. I mean even if you’re smoking like a chimney, drinking like a fish, and singlehandedly keeping your local Burger King afloat, you probably have at least twenty or thirty years ahead of you. And the thing you’re missing, the thing I missed until after I was married, is that you’ve got an incredible amount of freedom right now. You probably don’t have a house payment, you don’t have to worry about your kids having enough diapers.

How well do you think James Bond would function as a married man? And I mean really married, like to someone he cares about with long term goals and kids and stuff? How about Luke Skywalker? You think he’d have dashed off to join the Rebellion if he’d had a couple of mouths to feed back on Tattooine? If you do ever run into a fictional character that’s married or got kids, he’s either estranged from them or they’re getting kidnapped for him to go and save. Heroes almost never have to deal with normalcy. 

And that’s you right now. You have options a married guy or gal couldn’t imagine. You can go on a secret mission overseas. You can fly your X-wing and destroy the Death Star. You can move without being bothered by the the fact that you’re underwater on your mortgage.

Okay, so maybe mostly just that last one. But that one’s bigger than you’d think. You have the freedom to take risks us married folks don’t have.

So stop your whining. Stop being bitter. Stop turning Valentines into Singles Awareness Day.

Finding someone to love is awesome, sure, but so is having the option to jump in your car and drive to the Grand Canyon, picking up odd jobs washing dishes along the way. One day you’ll be married. One day you’ll have a kid and a house a dog and, oh yeah, a job you can’t afford to lose because your family counts on those health care benefits.

Don’t stop looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right. But don’t forget to celebrate what you’ve got right now.

Oh, and writers? About all those single characters: I know how tempting it is to write characters with no attachments, believe me, but maybe you could at least consider the fact that attachment raise the stakes. And not just in the cliched sense of “I’m worried the bad guy might kidnap my family.” What kind of character would James Bond be if he had to worry about paying his mortgage, or deal with the guilt of the fact that his child sees him so rarely he doesn’t even recognize him, on top of having to save the world? Think about it.

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3 responses to “Advice for Singles in Fact and Fiction

  1. I can accept your premise, but there are MANY single people with children, mortgages and other connections that you’ve ascribed solely to old married folks. It’s not that black and white.

    Nor does every single person pine for the married life. While I spent some years looking at what appeared to be the greener grass, I learned long ago singleness had its advantages. I’m 54 and TOTALLY APPRECIATE my singleness. I have been able to do many things and influence the lives of many more children than had I been married.

    • Clearly some generalizations were made here. I KNOW that not all singles are unappreciative or unattached, but I was trying to speak to those who were. Maybe I could have been clearer.
      My broader point was that I think some of these folks don’t appreciate what they have, because they’re spending too much time thinking about what they don’t, and I wanted to share some perspective from the other side of the fence.
      I’m happy to hear you see the upside in your own life, and I hope you get the opportunity to pass it on to those around you. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here.

  2. I love being single! My life is simple and filled with other family members whose company I enjoy, and friends. I’m glad married people have found someone to live their lives out with (ideally), but that’s what works for them. Doesn’t it figure that the single people are the first ones to comment 😉

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