I have it easy. I truly do!
We recently endured another Valentine's Day where there was much written to appease the lonely and broken hearts out there and 'Single Parents' were singled out and honored in a few articles that I read. I have never considered myself to be one that deserved any special honor. For me (I am not saying that this is true for anyone but myself), single parenthood was the easy road.
My marriage was hard. Really hard. I have raked myself over the coals enough times over the years (and reconciled enough times to know that it really wasn't all my fault) to forgive myself for my part within that particular partnership. It wasn't healthy. Not for me. Not for my children. And I don't even think it was healthy for my ex-husband.
When I forged out on my own, I had only my children to worry about. I had only my own (and those of my children) expenses and needs to pay for. My attention did not have to be divided between my children and maintaining an unhealthy marriage. I felt like I lost a dependent when I left my marriage. It was ever-so-much-easier for me to take care of my children when there was so much more of myself to give.
I didn't do this all on my own. I had family members that stepped in and shouldered some of my responsibilities over the years. Much more, when I was a young parent. Less and less over the course of time. When you space your children 20 years apart, you truly are a different person by the time the youngest is born.
Sure, I had only one pay cheque. But I had only one adult to provide for. Adults can be very expensive (I should know ... I am one of them). But when you are single, the expense is not doubled every time you look around. Everything is just a little more affordable when you multiply it by one (then tack on a small surcharge for each child).
I can make an 'executive decision' on a whim and make spur of the moment plans without consulting a partner. I am in the driver's seat of my life and can choose what to do, where to go and how much to spend. Or not. Sometimes it is easier to just stay home and savor the quietness if you don't have someone who is not content with that same choice.
My vantage point is very, very skewed because I didn't have children that demanded more than I had to give. Wanted? Perhaps. But demanded? No. My kids seemed to understand from a very early age, that there were limits on spending. For the most part, it seemed like they simply accepted that was their lot in life and we carried on.
Maybe I didn't have a husband to share the load, share the good, the bad and the ugly. But I never felt alone. My 'village' was around me even when I couldn't see them. I had support in the wings all the way along this voyage. As I said earlier, I speak for no one but myself. Because I know that I was/am one of the fortunate ones.
Can it be lonely? There have been times. But the longer one lives the life of singlehood, the less you can imagine truly opening the door and letting someone new walk in. There is great comfort in living a familiar life.
I attended my 35 year class reunion last fall and within almost every single person I met, there was a void that you could feel within them as they talked of marital break-ups; singleness; single parenting and the quest to find 'someone'. I didn't really see the difference between 'them' and 'me' until my friend pointed it out. She told me that I was one of the few (if any?) single people that she knew, that was completely content with life-as-they-knew-it.
Sometimes it takes someone looking at your situation from the outside, to see what you have all along. I am so very fortunate to live the life that I live. I don't bask in material wealth, I don't long for (much of) what I don't have (I do long for a well-maintained-home though). I revel in what I do have. There is peace and contentment within my heart and my home. My family unit is cohesive. Our health is good. I am earning a living doing what I want to do. From where I sit, it just doesn't get any better than this.
Would sharing my life with someone special enhance or detract from what I already have? Who knows? Maybe I'll find out one day. Maybe I won't. But I am good with either direction. All we really have is 'now' so it is good to soak up that-which-you-have because you simply don't know where the road is going to turn from here.