CNN started off the year with launching an article claiming there has never been a better time to be single. Personally I couldn’t have been more pleased; finally a large news site was claiming what I knew to be true.
I’ve grown up in the Midwest and I have nothing against marriage. I think it a beautiful testament to those who have decided to spend the rest of their lives together. But in the Midwest, for years, I felt discouraged simply for the fact that I was in my twenties and not really interested in dating and therefore not really close to getting married. Recently I’ve felt much more empowered about my singleness. I think it’s a blessing and a joy and I want to use my time wisely. So you can imagine how stoked I am that CNN is proclaiming what I have known to be true all along; single people are great.
Way back in the 1800s is when the myth that married people were better off than single people began. A British physician, William Garr wrote, “Marriage is a healthy estate…the single individual is more likely to be wrecked on his voyage than the lives joined in matrimony.” It took 159 years for social scientists to claim the opposite.
In 2017, the Census Bureau reported that a record number of adults in the US were not married. More than 110 million residents were divorced or widowed or had always been single; that’s more than 45% of all Americans 18 and older. And those that do marry were taking longer to get there.
CNN claims these four points of why now is the best time to be single.
Single people are more powerful than ever.
Though young people are still getting married, the average age of those getting married has increased to 29.5 for men and 27.4 for women. All while living alone had become more popular. Living alone rose to 42% from 39% in America and is increasing globally.
I am all for living alone. I think that when you get your own place or even share a place, it’s a major step in becoming an adult. But living alone, when possible and financially responsible, is wonderful because it allows you to create the kind of life that you want to have. Do you want to go party every night? Sure, you can now and you don’t have to worry about being rowdy and loud when you get home because you don’t have roommates. Do you want to stay in your pajamas and watch Netflix all day? You totally can because no one will bother you.
Living alone has so many benefits and one that has been found in young people is that our individualist beliefs become more solid. Such as deciding where you want to spend your time. One of the most popular beliefs of those living alone is valuing their friends more than family. This one threw me for a loop at first, but I realized just how true it can be. My family will always be there, we have our weekly get togethers, family dinners, everything. But when you live alone, you have to consciously make time for these things, and as a result in living alone, you most likely don’t live near your family so, your friends become your family.
Marriage is no longer considered a key part of adult hood.
As I said earlier, I think marriage is a wonderful and beautiful thing, but I don’t think that just because you’re married, you’re more of an adult. Sure you have more adult responsibilities, you have two incomes, potentially more bills, a place of your own. But I don’t think that being married allows you to check off the box that you have the adult stuff down.
Being an adult means way more than simply being married. It can mean financial security or freedom, knowledge of where you are and where you want to be, actively working towards goals, having full time employment, working vehicle or transportation. It’s more all around living than it is one specific box being checked.
Recently a friend and I were joking, saying when we are young, we dream of working in tons of different industries from teaching to music to politics; doing anything and everything. As we’ve grown older and more knowledgeable, we dream of having a steady paycheck and a working car. It’s a paradox but it’s quite true.
A relationship doesn’t mean higher self-esteem
There is something really exciting and pure about starting a relationship. Your confidence takes a boost in knowing someone is interested in you and taking the time to get to know you, but as researchers at Eva C. Luciana and Ulrich Orth studied, “Beginning a relationship improves self esteem if and only if the relationship is well functioning, stable and holds at least for a certain amount of time.”
A “well functioning” relationship is one that can increase your self-esteem for obvious reasons, but those that aren’t can actually do more harm than good. So next time someone says, “Just give it a try, what’s the worst that can happen!” When it comes to trying to date someone new, just know it might not help your self-esteem too much, but it could lead to an excellent story.
Marriage doesn’t mean better health.
There’s a hilarious wife’s tale that is ultimately true, those in relationships put on that relationship weight. When you’re no longer using your physical appearance to lure someone in, you sometimes stop taking care of it. Multiple studies have found that those who stayed single weighed less, had a lower body mass index, smoked less, drank less and were overall healthier than those who were in relationships.
That isn’t to say that being in a relationship is bad for your health, I think there are glorious perks of being in one, but ultimately social scientists are finding, “It’s a powerful blow—one of many—against the notion that marriage is the ideal way to live. For a long time, we’ve accepted the idea that unless we hurry up and marry, single adults will stay sexless and unhappy until they die (and sooner, at that). But it seems single people don’t scare so easily anymore - in unprecedented numbers, they are going ahead and living their single lives, which are often healthier and more fulfilling that those of their counterparts.”
Friends, if you’re single, that’s is perfectly okay and wonderful and natural. And next time your family member or friend or coworker comments on how “tragic” or “terrible” or “sad” it is that you’re not in a relationship, just remember, us single people are rocking it and ultimately taking over the world in our individualism.