“We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child.” Jennifer Aniston
I couldn’t agree more. I am not an actress. I am not a model. I am not a celebrity of any kind. I am a single woman. I have no children.
Like Aniston, I too want to participate in the larger conversation on how society views women. I particularly want to focus on the societal view of single women. And like Aniston, I too am fed up. Fed up with the prevalent societal belief that a woman is incomplete without a mate. Fed up with friends, family, co-workers, casual acquaintances insistent on “fixing” my single status. This sends the message that a woman should not be single. That it is unnatural. For a variety of reasons, I am a woman in my forties who has never married and is childfree.
My single, non-mom status is shocking, contrary, even wrong, according to some people in our society. Yet by all accounts, I am a productive, model citizen. I have been gainfully employed my entire adulthood. I vote – knowledgeably. I am a mentor. I have never been in jail, sued, or had any legal problems. I own a home. I have a dog. I spoil my nieces and my nephew. Still, for many, my life is incomplete.
Shouldn't I be the one to decide if my life is incomplete? Don't I, as Aniston articulately stated, get "to determine (my) own ‘happily ever after’?
So, please stop asking, “how ‘bout that guy?” every time we are out to lunch, dinner or drinks. Please don’t make my love life the central topic of every conversation we have. Please talk to me about my work. Talk to me about my community involvement. Talk to me about my writing, or hiking, or golf or other interests. When you ask me what I have been up to and there is not one mention of a man in my response, please don’t continue digging for the reason behind the life sans man or mate – if I want to discuss it with you, I will bring it up. My love life is not a game. I can see how you might think so, however, what will all the recent reality TV shows and phone apps on the subject.
The lives of single women, celebrity or not, are our lives. Assuming that what makes you happy, that what makes your life complete is indicative of what is lacking from my life is what is known as projecting. Projecting is ascribing your feelings, thoughts, and attitudes onto others. By definition, these are your feelings, thoughts, and attitudes. They are not necessarily mine. Nor are those feelings, thoughts and attitudes necessarily shared by your other single or childfree friends, cousins, sisters, nieces, daughters or co-workers. So, please, let us determine 'our own happily ever after'.