Embrace being single and fabulous this holiday

The Baltimore Sun

You have made it through the first marathon of the holiday season. Thanksgiving and Black Friday down, many more days of shopping, eating and partying to go. Congratulations.

Though I love Turkey Day, some of the most wearing things about the Thanksgiving blow-out are the same old questions from relatives. Are you seeing anyone? Are you seeing anyone seriously? When are you getting married? More so than the midnight sales and nonstop Christmas music from Halloween to New Year's, I abhor families' prying questions about singlehood. So, as an antidote to the prying-relatives session, let's celebrate being single.

So what's so great about it?

"You're not tied down by anything," says John Siano, 23, of Silver Spring. "You can make your own plans."

Freedom is probably the most popular reason for being single. There's nothing like not having to answer to anyone for staying in your pajamas all day, watching cartoons.

Lillie Rosen of Charles Village agrees (at least on the autonomy tip; perhaps not so much on the cartoon binge). One month out of a four-year relationship, she's in the midst of rediscovering the single life.

"There's definitely an adjustment period," she says. "A different way of thinking."

And though her breakup is still pretty fresh, Rosen, 21, says she can appreciate some parts about singledom already. When you're in a relationship, "you're always compromising, you're always apologizing," she says. "I don't miss that." But that autonomy can have its downside, too.

Sharine Lewis, 25, just ended an "on again, off again" four-year relationship. But she says she likes having that other person.

"I don't like being single," she says. "To me [being with someone] is special. I like doing things with somebody you love." She says going to the movies or just hanging out is better when you have someone to do it with.

But Johnson, 25, says you can still be single and do all those things.

"You can always find somebody to chill with. ... You don't need to be in a relationship to do it," she says.

Seattle-based psychotherapist Judy Ford couldn't agree more. The author of Single: The Art of Being Satisfied, Fulfilled and Independent says that as a singleton, you have a wealth of specialists at your fingertips. That's right, your friends.

"You need to build a family of friends," she says. "You need to have a circle of friends you can play with, someone to call in the middle of the night when you're freaking out."

And singledom is not just great because of the ability to diversify your friend portfolio. Singledom is a great chance to make yourself a better person.

In other words, learning how to be OK with being just you.

"It's [being single] an existential issue," Ford says. "Who am I? What is my life about? ... And what do I do on a Saturday night when I'm alone? And how do I get comfortable in my own skin?"

When you can go out to the movies and dinner by yourself, you are one step closer to Zen singledom, she says. Having a good network of friends is also key.

Ford says she wrote her book because at the time, "I'd had every marital status there is." From widowed to married to divorced, Ford said she felt it was time to make sense of it all.

"Chances are, everyone will have a chance to experience many marital statuses," she says. She says she's come out better for it and believes others can, too.

So, if you're single, live it up. Make friends of all ages. Enjoy that freedom that everyone talks so highly about. Forget your nosy Aunt Mabel and her incessant questions. You are single and fabulous.

Sure, confidence won't keep you warm at night, but all that freedom and self-made joy can give you a glow that can hardly be beat.

"Happiness does not depend on your marital status," Ford says. "It's how you approach life."

As for nosy Aunt Mabel, Ford gives this hint: "When somebody asks, 'Well are you dating anyone yet?' There's only one answer: Who do you have in mind?"

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