Why must humans create such animosity toward one another? Is it because we are frightened, envious? If so, of what? Still, does being frightened give us the right to demean, hurt, and kill others? What is wrong with exercising some consideration for others – don’t you expect the same treatment? My request includes this: stop hurtful responses, comments – they are cruel, inhumane and undeserving. Hold back those ugly vial words of disrespect. No matter the incident, no matter the person. Please, let us try to spread compassion and understanding – this is how we will defeat those who try to empower with fear. We can be better than that, we can be stronger. Fear takes over when we give in to anger, weakness and uncertainty – let’s change that, let’s think that all things will be better. This is not a “Pollyanna” outlook, this is reality. If you think things will be better, they will – no matter what you face. No matter what hill you climb; if you hope, if you remain positive, it will be better. Norman Vincent Peale said: “You can if you think you can.” Try to put yourself in the place of others, just try. Keep the vitriol away from exchanges, especially on the internet, whatever social media you follow. There is a book called Random Acts of Kindness (and a website: www.randomactsofkindness.org) – and, there have been many random acts of kindness, great ones and small ones. We’ve seen some of these extreme courageous acts on the media – but, we need to do more. They need to be small acts no one reports, they need to come from the heart, and they definitely need to be kind. What is kind? Kind, as defined in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate, 10th edition, 2001 is: affectionate, loving, of a sympathetic or helpful nature, of a forbearing nature, gentle. So, I implore us to be kind – let’s pull back the fear, disgust and hate – let’s practice more kindness – every day, in every way (small or otherwise.) Please, let’s pay it forward – I am reminded of the movie Pay it Forward done in 2000. If you haven’t seen it, watch it – a great story. I do not come from a privileged background, I do not come from an impoverished background (although there was a short period we did receive food stamps long ago) – I have worked and gained what I have because of what I have accomplished. And, it is extremely painful for me to watch this already great nation of ours reeling with division and hate. We can do better. Aren’t there enough natural disasters that we face without having to face the human kind? Please, pull back the hate and accusations!
Preface: The following piece has endured many changes – it began as a means to express observations and feelings noticed over numerous years – it is shared with the hope that those who haven’t experienced singleness may gain a bit more understanding………… I am reminded of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now , a poignant, truthful and beautiful song, both in lyrics and melody.
It is a couple’s world. I know that, I’ve known and felt it for a long time; it is more noticeable to me since I’ve left the daily work grind and choose my own schedule. I suppose, though, it is really a “more than one” world. As far as I’m concerned, it is certainly not a “singles’” world. Most of us realize that the instinct to couple arises in our teens; it’s natural to want to be part of a relationship. It’s natural to want to have interaction with other humans. Now, we live in a time when couples aren’t necessarily married, but they are still couples. This supports part of my premise. It is a couple’s world. Sure, at churches and other places there are “singles” groups. Yes, there are social networking groups where singles can meet singles, and you can possibly end up as a couple, or just hang out with like-minded singles. However, two, “two by two” as are the instructions for loading the Arc, is a more well-rounded number, and a more acceptable circumstance.
One can go many places as a single, though, if one doesn’t mind the aloneness. It is easier just making space for one – one can get up and go without conferring, without having to advise or ask permission – it’s easier to clean up after only one. And, meals are easy, you can fix what you want, when you want. Laundry is much simpler. You can stay up as late, or get up as early as you want, and make as much noise as you want. One can slip into a movie easier, be ready more quickly, and travel easier. But, it really isn’t a good thing to be caught in conversation with just you. That is surely when at least two is certainly recommended. It’s nice to be part of a couple, or have a friend who seems interested, especially when you’d just like to share an experience, however minute it is (the good, the sad, the stupid, the silly, and the little accomplishments that are bubbling over in your mind;) or just talk thoughts through, maybe share some fears, share some positive reinforcement, or give a hug. All one needs occasionally is someone who will listen, not necessarily solve situations, but just be willing to listen, it should also be reciprocal. This desire, on my part, is not meant to be burdensome to anyone.
Most of my friends in close proximity are in couples, and they have been couples a long time. I admit to sometimes feeling like a “fifth” wheel, a little like an enigma, when some of them so generously invite me to their couple gatherings. I still enjoy the invitation - I definitely appreciate the inclusiveness, especially since I spend most of my time without company. Sometimes I do feel as if my singleness doesn’t fit with their life style. I’m the odd person. And, I’m feeling that more and more lately. After trying to re-ignite my “girl’s night out”, it has been more than obvious that the couple life style, perhaps just the busier life style, seems to take precedence. And, too, life’s demands change. But, I also wonder if the “girls” in couples prefer to hang-out with other girls in couples. I haven’t validated this idea. In a good relationship (i.e. partnership), surely the individuals can also be independent of one another, do things on their own. But, still, at the end of the day, they’d return to that partner and confer, exchange and hopefully receive, (and provide) support; and, too, you’d have someone who might notice your absence. No, I’m not part of a “singles” group – I’ve tried that. It was a good experience at one point in my life – but, I felt I needed exposure to other perspectives, and, also, I relocated. With recent experiences, I might just reconsider a singles group; I am, however, already involved in various other groups.
But, back to the “more than one” premise. In most of the places you go, seats are in multiples. In a restaurant, most tables have at least two chairs – then, in multiples of four, six, etc. (Of course, this is necessary for the restaurant’s survival – still, to a single person it can be overwhelming.) Counter seating is conducive to singles, but not all places have counter services. If I’ve got eating on my mind, I don’t mind being one at a table for two. And, if I want a nice drink I’m okay sitting at a bar (this usually happens in an airport while awaiting a flight,) but there are few places that are quiet and safe for singles not on the dating scene. I’m not, or ever have been, into the nightclub, bar partying scene. Lately, though, I’ve heard that there are many more single folks dining out. Interesting. When thinking about seating, aren’t most amusement park rides set up for two? At least one ride does whirl individual riders. There are probably more things that promote oneness, but my brain isn’t allowing them to surface at the moment.
In addition to seating arrangements in various places, there are a plethora of legal forms (loan, real estate, etc.) After you fill them out, there are usually two spaces for signatures. More noticeable are several commercials featuring couples; I’m thinking of a particular nameless medical one and jewelry advertisement at this moment, they certainly promote the couple philosophy. Recently, I saw on a news clip that there is a new movie theater opening (I cannot remember where*) featuring “snuggle pods” – one comfy cozy seat (i.e. pod) in which a couple can watch a movie for date night. (Let your imagination fly.) Yes, there are several things conducive to oneness; you do get single servings in the frozen food section. Whew, that’s a relief! Of course, restaurants definitely recognize individual orders. But, there is difficulty in finding small portions of some things in the grocery stores (where did the 3oz size of cream cheese go, or the small can of frozen orange juice?) Even if you buy a small jar of something, it costs more (yes, because of the packaging.) However, that’s better than wasting an unused larger jar.
Anyway, I still feel as if it is a couple’s world, a “more than one” world. Some difficulties relating to a “single” life have eased; nevertheless, with only one in a household, the burden of all daily decisions, financial, legal, repairs (arranging for and meeting repair folks, replacing high light bulbs, messing with the aerator on a spigot, when to take the car for service, get new tires, do the yard work) lies solely with you, as do the bills (paid by one on a modest income.) Is it still true, can two live as cheaply as one? And now, I’ve been a single for as long as my married years. I am used to going many places by myself, including traveling on my own; it is still a more than one world. Having been on my own for so long, with only one close family member within 200 miles (and that would be the child I raised as a single parent - my nuclear family unit dissipated years ago. ) I kind of doubt whether anyone would want to live with me now; I’m too set in my ways. It would be nice, though, not to have to insert myself into others’ lives so that I may have some company. I’m not a “pack” animal, and I do prefer small groups. Although I appreciate being included in larger “group” activities, it is hard to hold conversations with folks on the other end of a luncheon table while others are also vying for attention. I am, most assuredly, grateful for my life. I feel that I’ve worked hard over the years, supporting myself (and my child,) and I do respect my single-hood. I am, really, a bit reluctant, but a grateful independent woman. I, most assuredly, salute all of the other singles who have faced a singles' life style with much more grace than I.
[*Note: such a theater did open in my area, October of last year, an iPic Theater, features pairs of seats encapsulated in pods — coverings along the back and sides — giving couples an added measure of privacy.]
Still on hiatus - way too long. I am, though, working on a piece that has undergone many changes. Hopefully I'll get that published soon. Summer is really upon us, and I'm operating at the speed of a turtle.
The following are two little haikus - I was hoping that writing them would break the mind block - hmmmm, one can hope. Stay cool folks!
Thoughts swirl and collide. Concentration escapes me, Please settle somewhere.
Heat surrounds and stills. Oppressiveness affects all, Time for cooling thoughts.