All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation

Single Ladies

All the Single Ladies:  Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister reaffirms a big wish I have for my daughter’s life.

First and foremost, I want her to live by herself for at least one year where her only responsibility is her job and herself.  No roommates, no cats, no dogs. Without that experience, I don’t know I would have survived my divorce and single parenthood.  I don’t wish divorce for my daughter; but the reality is even if she gets married for a portion of her life she will live on her own.  The reality of her husband and she dying on the same day is extremely low.  It’s easier to learn how to do it when you’re young.

My favorite quote from the book is “Single time is when I learn how to take care of myself, how I know what I want,” she said. ” We have to understand that nobody can give you the best except for yourself. (p 252)

I don’t think I understood how important those years in my late twenties when I was single were to helping me be me.  All my friends were getting married.   Sometimes it was really hard; but in hindsight I did so much and learned so much I wouldn’t have experienced were it not for my being single.  My brother and I traveled to Europe, National Parks in the West, and New York City.  I rented a car and drove down Hwy 1 from San Francisco to Moonstone Beach past Big Sur.  Stopping to visit Hearst’s San Simeon Castle by myself.  I joined friends in Redwood National Park and Yosemite.  In Miami, I spent the whole evening salsa dancing while my friends checked in with their husbands.  I lived in Chapel Hill, NC  while attending graduate school.  And then there’s Charleston where I worked every other Saturday and had Fridays off.  I spent those Friday’s exploring Charleston, Sullivan’s Island, The Isle of Palms and other areas of the Low Country.  I took a wine class.  Then, ate my way through Charleston using what I learned to pair my food with excellent wine.  I treated my brother to dinner and a $100 bottle of wine at Peninsula Grill to celebrate his thirtieth birthday.  I can still taste the wine.  My mom visited often.  We explored the city attending plays, the ballet and House and Garden tours.  I wanted to go sailing in Charleston Harbor; but didn’t know anyone with a sailboat.  So I took sailing classes through The College Of Charleston.  It wasn’t all fun.  I experienced the hardest loss of  my life thus far.  My mother passed away in October of 2001.

I met a man who I would eventually move 4 hours away to be near.  We traveled, we sailed, we had a fantastic garden.  He cooked fresh food from our garden.  I did the dishes.  We married and had a beautiful daughter.  I experienced postpartum depression, anxiety and psychosis.  He left when our daughter was two.  It was a hard and drawn out divorce.  Finally, we reached a child custody and separation agreement.  I found a full time job.  I bought a house.  My daughter started kindergarten.  I met new friends because of this.  I met my first single mom friends.  Things got better.  I tried online dating.  I was in a show called Listen To Your Mother, where I met the most amazing women whom I will remain in contact with forever.  I had a relapse of major depression.  I actively sought treatment.

I’m looking ahead and realizing I need to do some of those things I did in my carefree single years.  So I’m signing up for Your Momma’s Hip Hop class for a month this summer.  I’ll try something different in the fall.