I like being single.
I don't have to answer to anyone about how I spend my time, my money or my Saturday evenings. I don't have to ask anyone if it's okay if I go out with the girls. I don't have to consult anyone about how I'm raising my daughter. To me, these are all good things.
The only time I wish I had a man around is when it's time to mow the grass.
Don't get me wrong -- I spent my late twenties and early thirties doing my best to convince Dr. Wonderful that we should get married, and was QUITE distressed that he did not agree. But somewhere around my mid-thirties I outgrew that attitude. This bit of personal growth was fast-tracked when I watched a federal marshal lead my dad from a courtroom to prison -- something that happened when I was 35 and left a clear impression about what's important in this life. At that moment, I suddenly ceased to care about marriage or any of the things that went with it.
Over time, that heartbreak softened, but the lesson learned was no less real. That led me to get comfortable with my single self in a way I never had before. I progressed from "it's okay that I'm not married" to "I'm glad I'm not married" sometime in the years that followed. At this point I wouldn't change my single status even if I had the chance. Which, of course, I don't. But still.
I try to pay attention to how I live the single life -- I figure my daughter is watching. I want her to see someone who leads a fulfilling and fulfilled life. I want her to see that it's not just okay to be alone, but even preferable sometimes. I want her to know that there are many ways to build a family, and that it isn't necessary to be part of a married couple in order to take advantage of them.
So with that in mind, I sometimes peruse books about being single in an effort to learn something new about this life I've chosen -- or that chose me. Not those singlehood books you find in Christian bookstores about how to muddle through until God blesses you with a man and your life can begin. I'm talking about books that illuminate the art of the single life, written by people who know that you can't hang around waiting for marriage to give you permission to begin your life.
So Friday I was on Amazon, looking at books about being a single woman of a certain age. I found one I liked and clicked the checkout button, already anticipating learning something new from the author.
Amazon took that opportunity to ask me a question that completely deflated all my idealistic musings about singleness:
"Would you like to add this book to your wedding registry?"
Before I became a heathen, I was the pastor's daughter in a very large church, and the old ladies there were quite concerned that I hadn't yet managed to rope Dr. Wonderful into marriage. They often patted me on the hand and said "Don't you worry, honey -- he'll come around." Or they'd poke me in the ribs at weddings and say "You're next!" with a giggle. I cannot tell you how crazy this sort of thing made me. I've often wondered if maybe I should have poked THEM in the ribs at funerals and said the same thing.
I think Amazon is run by those ladies.