The American holiday Thanksgiving is approaching, and with it, millions of families (and urban tribes like mine, pictured above) will gather to gobble down turkey and sweet potatoes with marshmallows baked on top. Many of them will also go around the table to share what they are grateful for in their lives. This ritual has always been my favorite part of Thanksgiving. In a consumer-driven society where we are so often complaining about what's not quite right with our lives, it feels great to hear people acknowledge their personal abundance.
This year, I have been thinking that I am grateful for still being single, which, honestly is not what I would have said last year. I took this year off to travel and I did the journey alone. I've grown in many ways that would not have been possible had I found a lifelong partner before I bought the ticket and made the final decision to go. I'm sure I would be grateful for that person, had we met. But I am also very grateful that I took full advantage of being single this year instead of hanging around San Francisco with the agenda of finding a mate (which honestly, was getting kind of boring--more on that in another post).
So this leads me to thinking about reasons to be grateful for being single this Thanksgiving. This year, let us count the ways. (Add yours in the comments.)
First and foremost, you are alive. Single. Just as you came out of the womb. Being single is the starting point for life, and we will in a sense be single when we pass on. So be grateful for your singular existence now, that you are alive!
The time to discover what makes you happy A relationship can be very time-consuming. When you are single, you have all your free time outside of work and other obligations to discover what brings you joy. Use it and be grateful for it! Being single gives you the opportunity to create more joy in your life without depending on someone else to provide it for you.
Freedom to travel alone I took this year off to travel alone in South America and I've had the ability to grow and learn in a way that might or might not have been possible if I had been coupled. (You can still travel alone when you are quirkytogether, but it would be hard to travel alone for a whole year.)
You haven't settled! No relationship or person will be perfect. But many people are afraid of being single and stay in relationships that are not working in order to avoid the pain of breaking up or being alone. Every person is a little bit wrong, being single means you are free to go out and find someone who is wrong for you in all the right ways.
Finally, total freedom to indulge your secret single behavior Want to pick your toe nails while watching Seinfeld reruns on a Friday night? Eat peas out of a can? No problem, you are single! Embrace your SSB (covered more extensively in Quirkyalone.)
Count your blessings my (single) quirkyalone friends.
Share your reasons for being grateful that you are single at this stage of your life on quirkyalone.net.
Sasha Cagen is traveling through Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina in 2010. Read more of her adventures and observations at quirkyalone.net.