Category: relationships

Social Stigma of Singleton

The quote that met me when I logged into Pinterest today:

Happiness is only real, when shared. ” – Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

I enjoy many of Krakauer’s works and admire his writing style, but I have to disagree here. The quote seems to infer that no one can be truly happy alone, or even experience moments of happiness – in solitude. That’s a total load of crap.

Don’t get me wrong; I value sharing experiences and adventures and bliss with others. Last night I enjoyed a delectable and epic 5-hour, 5-course dinner with a group of friends that would never have happened if I was I dining alone. I absolutely need to be a part of a group and laugh and listen and learn from others.

But I also know that I draw energy from sitting in silence with a book, running a mountain trail in the snow, cooking and creating a beautiful plate, and savoring sunshine pouring through my window – while alone. (Do cats count?)

In the way the universe aligns sometimes, today Brain Pickings posted a great piece on living alone in modern society.

Today, for the first time in centuries, the majority of all American adults are single. The typical American will spend more of his or her adult life unmarried than married, and for much of this time he or she will live alone.”

Rending the Social Fabric

For the most part I tend to write about food and recipes and happy moments, with some ponderings on relationships and work complaints. I avoid a lot of politics and have never once had an urge to be a political figure. I live in an area of the country where politics hangs in the air; it feels like I subsist on it sometimes. The endless rhetoric and talking heads talking about nothing of substance but defending it tooth-and-nail disconcerts me.

tiny but oh, so powerful

But I read an article today and want to share it. The writing is delightful with phrases like “…a frenzied donnybrook fight…” and, “The first rule of understanding apocalyptic movements is this: If someone tells you the world is ending, believe them. Because for them, it probably is.”

It takes a wide-angle lens on what changed society in the last century, namely: the internet, landing on the moon, and effective contraception, an issue that I am a strong supporter of. “What’s the big deal with birth control?” I’ve wondered while escorting women into Planned Parenthood or signing a petition to not declare a clump of cells a ‘person.’ I am grateful to not be a single mother due to the access, cost and education that made birth control available to me. 

I recently made the mistake of sending what I considered an unbiased and informative article on the Obama Affordable Care Act Contraceptive Coverage to my (Catholic) family . That schism has yet to be breached.  (I mean, come on, data shows that 98% of sexually experienced women of child-bearing age and who identify themselves as Catholic have used a method of contraception other than natural family planning at some point in their lives.)

Why is it a big deal? Read Sara Robinson’s  perspective in her articulate piece, “Why Patriarchal Men Are Utterly Petrified of Birth Control — And Why We’ll Still Be Fighting About it 100 Years From Now.”

Vacation Free Time Spent

Pet pictures trump people pictures

As my holiday time off wraps up, I’m wondering…what did I do with myself for the past 10 days? Out of all of vacation time, my retrospective memory suggests the following time consumers:

  • 28% Sleep with intense dreams and much waking
  • 20% Talk with close friends and family into the wee hours
  • 19% Cook new, old, favorite and mostly successful recipes
  • 15% Eat absurd amounts of tasty, savory, artery-clogging, happiness inducing food
  • 12% Drink coffee, alcohol, water. Repeat. All day.
  • 10% Workout a few times, break a sweat
  • 8% Tweet and Text like a fiend
  • 7% Write like a junior high girl with a diary
  • 4% Play Words with Friends
  • 5% Exchange presents and watch people open and (at least pretend to) love them
  • 3% Watch 4 Harry Potter movies
  • 2% Take pictures of pets. Ignore people.
  • 2% Sleep on planes
  • .5% Work on improving my puns
  • .01 % Clean up cat vomit

One day left!

Music is like attraction

There are no rules or science to predicting what will bowl you over – in music or people. Call it fate, pixie dust, evolution, Jungian archetypes, cultural influences, but sometimes you feel magic.

Favorite band at the moment: Trampled by Turtles

A couple songs I can’t get enough of right now, both by Trampled by Turtles:

 
 
And, according to Psychology Today, science supports the notion that we like people more who like the same music that we do.
 
 Update Feb. 1: Trampled By Turtles is coming to DC in April! Tickets bought.
 
 

On Marriage and Its (Lack of) Trending

Today, people no longer feel the pressure to marry that their forebears felt. They can choose what makes them happier — singleness or coupledom — without fear of social opprobrium or poverty.” TIME Magazine  

First things first. Yes, I had to look up the word “opprobrium” –
Definition of OPPROBRIUM

1: something that brings disgrace
2 a : public disgrace or ill fame that follows from conduct considered grossly wrong or vicious b : contempt, reproach
 
Now that my Scrabble/Words with Friends research is complete for the day, I have to say that this conclusion of an article focusing on the decline or marriage rubs me the wrong way.  Not because I disagree that there are differences between singledom and coupledom, but that this dichotomy suggests those are the only two options. The modern reality is not be single or get married; there are live-in partners, serial monogamy, long-term significant others and non-homosexual life partners, to name a few. And don’t get me started on how marriage isn’t an option for most same-sex partners anyway. Are they then single for life?
 
I’m in the 27% of previously married who are not anxious to jump back on that bandwagon, but I don’t equate not getting married with perpetual singledom. I have a live-in boyfriend and would never introduce myself as single. I don’t know if I’ll remarry – who has a Magic 8 ball that could answer that question for anyone? I’m not yet convinced that I can evolve into the person I want to be alongside someone else.
 
So I say let the number of marriages decline without fretting. The labels aren’t important and fewer marriages means fewer divorces (hopefully), which is a positive in my book. It’s not the end of the world or of society. “Th[e decline of marriages] doesn’t mean that we’re pessimistic about the future of the American family; we have more faith in the family than we do in the nation’s education system or its economy. We’re just more flexible about how family gets defined.”  I’ll raise a glass of champagne to toast evolving social norms any day.
 
Since my head is spinning on relationships, my two cents on finding happiness in a relationship (which is not to say I’ve mastered these, merely that I am most happy as a person when I observe these, which then makes me a better partner):
  • Worry more about finding yourself than finding someone else.
  • Delve in and develop your own opinions and goals without worrying about who you’re offending or holding back.
  • Do plenty of stupid things in love – so long as you learn from them.
  • Trust your gut and follow its lead, even if it’s inconvenient or painful or has serious ramifications.
  • Keep asking questions of yourself, your friends, your love interests, your political views, your world. Life gets stale when you stop learning, and relationships need curiosity.
  • Think of the advice you’d give a friend if her relationship was yours, and then take your own advice. You are not the exception. Sorry.
  • It’s okay to not know if someone is ‘the one.’ I don’t think there is ONE – that’s pure Hallmark.
  • Even if you snag a keeper, no one person can meet all your needs. Stay connected to friends, colleagues, sage mentors, family and parents.

Enough ranting.