I love my single life. I never needed to learn to love it – that came naturally. I’m single-at-heart.
I realize, though, that the same is not true for all other single people. I like reading about their experiences, too, especially if they are good writers.
J. Victoria Sanders is a very engaging writer. Once I started reading her book, Single & Happy: The Party of Ones, I just kept going. That was so even though, in many ways, I could not relate. For example, a chapter title, “Is it impossible to be single and happy?”, creates no suspense for me. I know the answer. Yet I was totally absorbed in reading about the author’s answer.
I don’t need tips for learning to appreciate solitude; I love solitude. Yet, I enjoyed reading and contemplating Victoria Sanders’s recommendations:
- “Get a good book, or a few…”
- “Dedicate one day a week to eating whatever you want…”
- “Play your favorite music as loudly as you want…”
- “Schedule random massages…”
- “Garden or find another soothing, life-affirming hobby…”
- “Find a useless hobby…”
As much as I savor my solitude, there are some ways in which the author is even better at it than I am. Consider this quote:
“Except for when I go to the theater with one or two of my introverted friends, I mostly really, really love being in a theater with no one sitting next to me fussing about popcorn or complaining about the previews and the ads or whatever.”
I have gone to movies on my own, but true confession: I don’t really like it. If I’m going to watch a movie on my own, I’d rather be on my comfy couch where I can hit pause and go get some popcorn that will not cost me all of my lunch money.
I have thought a lot about the value of solitude and what it offers, but I never came up with this point that Sanders made:
“As much as I love being connected to others, constant contact makes it easy for me to get wrapped up in other people’s lives and start comparing myself to people I don’t even want to be like.”
In the title of this post, I claimed that this story of single life is one that you have not heard before. In a way, every single person’s story is one you have not heard before, but in Sanders’ case, there is a particularly poignant theme: She spent much of her childhood homeless. She and her mom (who had mental health issues) moved often, from shelter to shelter. She believes that her itinerant childhood made her even more reliant than most on popular media in order to figure out big-picture lessons about relationships, single life, and life. The enduring sets of family members and friends and role models of various sorts that are part of the childhoods of so many kids were not part of hers.
Because of her experiences, Sanders’s take on media portrayals of single life and of the self-help juggernaut is particularly telling. I took in her observations in a way that is a bit different from how I digest other articles and books and blogs.
What Victoria Saunders has done with her life is special, too. Hats off to “Single & Happy.”
Woman at the spa photo available from Shutterstock