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It’s National Singles Week

Woman Sitting on a Rock in the Mist-2591874_640National Singles Week is Sept. 17-23, with National Singles Day Sept. 23.

Created in 2006, the purpose of National Singles Week is to celebrate single life and recognize singles and their contributions to society.

About 47 percent of U.S. adults are single, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s 117.6 million unmarried Americans, nearly every other adult aged 18 and older. This includes those who are divorced or widowed as well as those who have never married.

When I was a columnist for The (Tacoma, Washington) News Tribune, I appreciated interviewing Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., a social psychologist, whose work focuses on singles.

DePaulo pointed out that most of what people believe about singles is based on stereotypes and is wrong.

People think singles are miserable and lonely, living tragic lives, she said. But, if they see singles enjoying themselves and living fully, they think singles are selfish and immature thus their lives are insignificant.

DePaulo said the studies that report married people are happier than singles don’t tell the whole story and shouldn’t be taken as the final word.

Married people don’t always come out ahead in research studies. Sometimes people who have always been single do best, she said.

Sometimes the currently married do better, but only during the first years of their marriage, DePaulo said. Whether there is any benefit at all might depend on factors such as the married person’s gender, race, or age.

I was surprised that I got married. My parents never talked about me growing up and getting married and having children. Maybe cause they had three daughters and were worried that we’d get pregnant before marriage, like two of our older cousins.

The president of our junior class in high school needed a date for the junior prom, so he made a list of possible girls to ask. I got picked. We began dating and were married four years later.

I also was surprised to get divorced. After a couple of decades and two kids, it turned out he was awful.

So, being a single, older adult is a surprise. However, my happiness level has increased and I’m able to experience more joy.

“Plenty of single people are remarkably resilient,” DePaulo said in a Washington Post article, adding:

I defend single people because we are relentlessly demeaned by myths and pseudoscientific claims that say our lives are second-rate. But I’m not advocating singlehood for all. Some people live their best lives married, and others find more meaning and fulfillment in single life. This is the 21st century. We don’t all have to choose the same life path.

So, if you're single, take some time to celebrate this week. The possibilities are endless.



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