As published in Sixty and Me
I’ve been single for the last 17 years. I got married in 1964, when I was 20 years old. I was married for 18 years (really, 15 years because that is when we separated). And then, after that, I had a relationship with a significant other for 17 years. Doing the math, I was in a relationship for 32 years and single for 42 years.
It is my intention to stay single. This bold statement is not as drastic as it seems because I know that I will have male friends or boyfriends until I take my last breath. However, it is not my preference to co-habit with a man again (under the same roof) or marry a man no matter how much I love him.
I don’t want to engage in sharing financial planning with a man. I’ve reached the age where I want freedom to choose, to decide what I need. I’ve set my life up so that I can meet my needs and have fun doing it.
Years ago, people used to raise eyebrows at women who chose to live alone. Maybe some people still do. The term old maid comes to mind or even, “she’s just a little crazy.” A man may be called “the proverbial bachelor” but without the female stigma.
You might think it is absurd for me to plunge head on in the single direction and want to live for the rest of my life in singular bliss. Of course, I might be in assisted living someday, so that would negate my concerted desire to live alone. But that’s communal living for the most part, and that’s a horse of a different color.
In this moment of my singular journey, I’ve learned to find hope and strength, determination and happiness within myself, to solve my problems without constantly bothering others, and to design a fulfilling life.
I’ve learned to love being a woman in my own shoes, in my own company. I’ve learned to love myself without reservation.
Every morning when I take my half mile swim in Barton Springs and feel the cold water washing over my body, I give gratitude for the way my life keeps giving me inspiration, fulfilment and joy. When I practice Yoga, the stillness of my life brings me spiritual sustenance.
If you had known me decades ago, you would have seen a woman manically in search of a relationship, in search of togetherness, in search of a soul mate. I was lucky that I found a man who remarkably matched my sensibilities in all the ways I thought important – body, mind, and spirit.
When my partner died, I knew he would have wanted me to keep moving forward, to experience everything I desired, to stay close to my sons and grandchildren, to study, to be curious, to read and most important of all, to write.
My partner never saw my aspirations come to fruition, but it is enough for me to believe that his energy and inspiration infuses my choices and cheers my decisions on to this day.
I Am My Own Soul Mate
When I lived in Los Angeles, there was an online magazine called Singularity. The idea was to offer ideas, suggestions and activities to encourage singles to live a happy and fulfilling life. The real intent of the magazine was to dissolve the stigma of living single.
I poured through the contents of the magazine for a while. In the beginning of my single journey, I was fascinated by single women in their 30s, 40s and 50s. They were fearless and powerful figures.
I wanted some of what they had because for most of my life I had wanted a live-in sexy buddy no matter the terms. Isn’t that what women were supposed to want?
It all began to change after I retired. Retirement was me, alone me, embracing the responsibility of living life to the fullest without wishing for something that wasn’t my reality. I began to feel me in all my glory. I began to think I was my own soul mate.
When I have a date now, when I dance in Austin and meet up with my male friends, I feel confident and joyful. It’s been an evolution of sorts and change has been a constant companion.
Flying to see my family and friends in Las Vegas frequently, making travel plans to hike the Himalayas, taking a future family trip to Israel, meeting up with an old lover and having the time to create my own day, my own social scene, my quiet nights and quite days, is my singular life.
Here are 5 suggestions for living single with joy:
- Stay true to yourself, your values and your passions and life will be joyful and fulfilling.
- Understand your vulnerability because recognizing your emotional landscape will give you the ability to create your life.
- Be committed to self-reflection through the practice of meditation.
- Find humor in practically everything, and search for the ironies in life.
- Accept yourself completely.
Being single means practicing the art of self-love with consciousness and forgiveness. Being single means eliminating the negative and focusing on positive possibilities and opportunities. And finally, being single means remembering that life is an action, not a thought.
Joan Moran is a keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor and an Argentine tango dancer, Joan is the author of 60, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer. Her new book, I’m The Boss of Me! Stay Sexy, Strong & Smart at Any Age, is now on Amazon. Check out Joan’s website joanfrancesmoran.com and follow on Twitter @joanfmoran.