July 4th. Also known as Independence Day. It’s the federal holiday that commemorates the adoption, on July 4, 1776, of the Declaration of Independence that declared the United States’ independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
July 4 is also the day that I –and dozens of my fellow Singles Bloggers – write on the theme of Independence and what it means for single people.
Our first Singles Blogfest on April 15, 2013 –Tax Day– about the cost of single life, was a great success. We tracked postings in dozens of blogs and jumpstarted the conversation about the many ways laws, policies, and societal norms treat singles differently from married people.
This blogfest is in alignment with Independence Day. For single women, being called “independent” can be tantamount to a four-letter word. Not to me, but to many of my potential suitors and other (supposedly) well-meaning people who need an explanation for why I’m not married. For them, I’m not just independent, I’m too independent. As if there is such a thing.
But I’m an adult. Why wouldn’t I be independent?
I can pretty much take care of myself.
I live alone (unless the dog counts) and I can make it through most days without needing a lot of help. But being independent doesn’t mean I don’t need other people, that I can do it all by myself. I have a very robust circle of friends and family who I need and sometimes lean on to make my life, not just whole, but also really good.
In fact, we know from research that singles often maintain their ties to other people more than married people do. We’re social beings and relationships matter. So it confounds me when singles, particularly as they get older, are often thought to be, not just too independent, but loners.
In fact, the opposite is true. A study by the Council on Contemporary Families found that people who have always been single are more likely than currently married people (especially) or previously married people (to a lesser extent) to help, encourage, visit, and communicate with friends, neighbors, siblings, and parents.
▪ More likely to take care of their parents,
▪ More connected to their nieces and nephews,
▪ More likely to visit their neighbors,
▪ More likely to attend political gatherings, and are
▪ More active volunteers in their communities. (When married people volunteer, it’s apparently more self-serving, e.g., coaching sports their kids are involved in, or being active in their own church, whereas voluntarism by Singles is more likely to focus on others, without it having a direct impact on their own lives).
So, yes, I’m proudly independent in all the right ways, but I’m also interdependent on so many others, because I, like most normal people, need people in my life, as well.
Happy Independence Day!
#unmarriedequality, #singlesblogfest #endmaritalstatusdiscrimination.