The year-end holidays are here. November and December are stressful months as families prepare for feasting, exchanging presents and celebrating another year. Now, you are in December and it’s dawning on you the things you’d have to do for the festivities.
For many singles, however, family gatherings can be painful, especially if parents, siblings or well-meaning relatives wonder why you’re not “with someone.”
But many couples or divorced singles with kids actually envy single friends who can enjoy holiday perks unavailable to committed pairs and families. As a life coach who’s been married for 30-plus years, I urge unattached readers to embrace the benefits of being solo, including some you may not yet appreciate:
1. In-Laws and friends. Singles are not required to attend boring events hosted by a spouse or lover’s family. Being with your own crazy family is challenge enough — especially when they push emotional buttons you thought you’d outgrown. You’re also not expected to spend time with your lover’s annoying friends. Instead, you can choose which of your friends to hang out with based on who cooks the best turkey or pie, stirs the best martinis, or makes you feel fabulous.
2. Gifts and shopping. No worries that your partner won’t appreciate the special gift you slaved over and no need to pretend you love the expensive but atrocious present he/she’s bought for you. This takes most of the stress out of holiday gifting. You can also shop just for yourself without guilt at holiday sales because you are your own best friend and always will be.
3. Food and drink. When no one else is keeping tabs on what you ingest or imbibe, you can enjoy a second helping of cheesecake at holiday dinners or parties without guilt. Be sure to enlist a friend to drive you home safely, however, in case you drink more bubbly than usual.
4. Comfort and joy. When no one’s asleep beside you on holiday mornings, you can sleep in as late as you please. You can also enjoy holiday cheer without feeling judged by a partner who doesn’t find carols or the crackling of your yule log DVD on your big screen TV as comforting as you do. If you prefer to go “bah humbug” and ignore all the holiday trappings, however, no one will force you to enjoy them just because they’re “family traditions.”
5. Parties and flirting. Singles can be the life of any party without making romantic partners jealous. As Carrie Bradshaw shared in TV’s Sex and the City, “Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.” So enjoy flirting to determine who may be worthy of spending time with you in the New Year.
As author Jo Cordert said, “You do not need to be loved, not at the cost of yourself. The single relationship that is truly central and crucial in a life is the relationship to the self. Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never lose.”
So celebrate yourself at this time of year, and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of being single as you move gratefully and gracefully into the new year! [ Barbara Schiffman]