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Point Of View
The Joy Of
Being Single

by Margot Haller

At forty, I’ve never been married and I would never admit it before now.  I’ve never been engaged either and I’ve always felt a certain emptiness inside about not ever being chosen.  To me, to be married meant you had achieved the greatest fulfillment in life by becoming a part of someone legally.  I used to walk around feeling as if I had failed at something, but I was never quite sure at what.

In my family, if you weren’t married by 35, you were made to feel like a washout.   Therefore, when I found myself in a relationship, I usually displayed a hunger for bonding, which often resulted in scratching my chances to feel desired and wanted.  Though I had a number of friends, and we shared great times together, I could easily feel lonely in a crowd, because I had no man who viewed me as special. 

I felt the loneliest on the weekends, but the holidays were worse.  I began moping around in a state of sadness on Memorial Day and my face didn’t usually clear up until after New Year’s Eve.

On a day-to-day routine, my life consisted mainly of work, TV, romance novels, and whatever I wanted to eat.  Though I appeared busy and well-occupied to whoever was watching, I was bored out of my mind, and I found most of my pleasure in food. I spent most nights staring up at the ceiling with a half-finished book at my side with my TV offering background sounds to my dreamy excursions to romance-land.  The only goal I had in life was to marry and to have someone to be identified with.

Then one day, my best friend Elaine, who lived life freely and unrestrained, became suddenly ill. She developed stomach cancer, and for five months, I watched her deteriorate from a vibrant mover and shaker to a frail imitation of her former self. She went from 250 pounds to 90 pounds, and the doctors said her lifestyle, which consisted of lots of junk food and no exercise, had been a strong factor in her contracting this disease. When she died on a warm October day, at the age of 35, it changed my life dramatically.

As I stood alone at her grave, after everyone else had gone, I recalled vividly how she had wanted so badly to attend a popular formal affair being held the weekend she died, and how badly she wanted to go with a man at her side.  As I walked away, I realized I had better get about the business of living, and begin enjoying all I could with or without a companion.

From that day forth, I no longer took my life for granted, or my freedom. It became clear to me that I was living a life I didn’t fully appreciate.  I changed my perspective and my attitude simultaneously.  I realized that a man could only enhance my life… not make it.   Being single took on a new dimension when I realized I had incredible freedom and days when I could opt to do whatever I wanted.

Since my change in attitude, I’ve lost 40 pounds in six months, and I’m having a great time savoring life on a different level.  I learned in the worst way that you don’t need a companion to accomplish the goal of being happy with yourself.


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