What is life like on the other side of the fence? A bed and a remote control all to oneself? How does a strong Mormon woman live happily single in a culture which places such importance on families?
#1-- Please tell us a little about yourself, your career and your lifestyle. What is life like for a fun, happy forty-something single girl these days?
I was born and raised in a suburb of Seattle. I have 3 younger sisters, 3 older half sisters and 3 older half brothers.
I got a job at a large manufacturing company when I was 20 and have worked there ever since. I currently work as an assistant to an executive. I love my job because it pays the bills, I work with great people and having so many years of service with a large company allows me the freedom to take time off to do fun things.
I think my life is pretty great, for the most part. I have a wonderful family and a lot of really amazing friends. I am currently the 1st counselor in my church Primary presidency and also the stake assistant camp director. When I'm not playing with my friends, serving or watching TV, I love to read and to bake.
2. What are the best things about being unattached? Share some of your zany adventures and let all of us boring housewives live vicariously.
It should go without saying that I would prefer to be attached with a mess of kids at my feet, but I can think of a few good things about being unattached. For example, after a crazy Sunday in the Primary room or after a week at YW camp with a bunch of teenagers, I get to come home to peace and quiet.
And, I know it's worldly, but I love that I can buy whatever I want. I don't have to get anyone's approval for purchases I make, major or minor. The other thing that is great about being single is I can come and go as I please. I can plan getaways and vacations without having to check against someone else's schedule, farm out kids, etc. I can decide on a whim to drive to a friend's for a weekend or spend a week in Chicago or to go to Hawaii or Washington DC or Utah or wherever I want (as long as I have the money and vacation time saved, of course).
3. How about the downside? What are the challenges you face as a single woman? How do you handle them?
It is not easy to cook for one. At all! Leftovers are only good once or twice and you can only eat so many Lean Cuisines. I also get tired of being the one and only decision maker. Sometimes it would be nice to have someone else pay the bills or take out the garbage or decide if I should refinance my mortgage.
I hate being invited to events like work dinners or weddings where you need a date. I'm used to going alone but I don't always like it.
I handle my challenges by just trying to stay positive. I didn't grow up wishing to be single but it is what it is. I'm bound and determined to make the most of it. Life is a lot more fun if you're happy.
4. I know you are an active Latter-day Saint. Is it difficult to be part of a church that is so pro-marriage and pro-family? Why or why not?
It IS difficult at times, to be a single LDS girl. Sometimes it seems as if the talks are geared only toward those who are married or who have children. Sometimes I don't want to walk in the chapel and sit alone. Sometimes I wonder if anyone will even miss me if I wasn't there. (Okay, I know that that probably won't happen while I'm serving in Primary!) But I know everyone feels some of these same feelings, married or not. I also know that, ultimately, I am responsible for myself and my own salvation, just like everyone else.
5. Tell us about your circle of friends. Do you socialize with mostly single or married folks or both? How can married couples make single people feel more welcome in their social circle? And vice versa?
I have married and single friends, Mormon and other faiths. I feel blessed that I have so many people in my life and I rarely feel alone or lonely. I have signed up for dinner groups at church and I'm the only singleton amongst three or four other couples (and it's totally okay). My married friends make me feel as if I'm part of the family and I love that.
Maybe I'm different, but I love being around other people's families. I love being invited over for dinner after church or for Family Home Evening. As I said before, I was raised in a big family and I have lots of nieces and nephews so I'm used to chaos, commotion and family squabbles.
I get the impression that some married people only feel comfortable with other married people and I understand that to a degree. But I so enjoy being in a home where the power of the Priesthood is evident and the Spirit of the Lord resides. I wish more married people would realize that single people need to be in that environment from time to time. It's good for the soul!
6. What advice do you have for younger women who are waiting around for Prince Charming or for older women who find themselves newly single?
The hard truth is...more and more women (both young and not so young) are going to have a life like mine. My first piece of advice is to make the most of what you have, not wishing for what you don't have. It will cripple you. It really is okay to want the ideal, but not if it's getting in the way of your happiness now.
If waiting for Prince Charming is keeping you from having a fulfilling life, you need to move the waiting to the back burner. Give more of yourself by serving others and learn to be happy with who you are, single or married.
I also encourage women to get their degree or some sort of vocational training so they can support themselves as long as necessary. I have been blessed to have the kind of employment that allows me to support myself fully and I'm so grateful for that.
I've just always felt like it's better (and easier) to be happy than it is to be crabby and dissatisfied with your life. Granted, it's not always possible to go through life with a smile on your face, but I try to never forget that I am loved and that I matter. I try to always recognize the blessings I've been given and to be grateful for them – each and every day. And really, you just have to smile more. That's the key.