I left my husband fifteen years ago, and it took eight years for the divorce to become finalized, so when I was truthfully able to write “divorced” on surveys and paperwork, I was pretty happy to do it. No longer “separated.” “Divorced” at long last.
But I’ve been doing it for a long time now, and I don’t feel that my terminated marriage defines me any longer, nor should it. I have done so much in the past fifteen years that the fact that I was once married should be a footnote to my life. I realized this quite suddenly when I filled out some official paperwork by simple checking off “single,” and kind of marveled at how easy that was to do.
Because I am single now.
My son is grown and I have paid for college so, although I will always be a “single mom” (this is how the world refers to us) in my heart and soul, I am free in a way I couldn’t have imagined when I was younger. I have my own home, car, and three businesses. I am completely responsible for myself.
I am single and I like it.
I like waking up alone in my queen size bed and sleeping as late as I want, and then not making the bed all day if I choose.
I like spending my money the way I want.
I like cooking for myself and using as much garlic as I want, or skipping meals completely.
I can work out at 10 p.m. or not at all.
I like binging on Buffy the Vampire Slayer or even The Partridge Family.
And I can get tickets to almost any event I want as a single.
I have discovered a world of single friends, people who have been single their whole lives or who were once married, but never seem to mention it unless asked. We travel together, have potluck card games, celebrate holidays and birthdays together, and take care of each other when we get sick. It’s mostly women, but there are some men in my crowd too, so I am amazingly never lonely. I have a social life made up of people I like, not of people who live in my town or just happened to also be single.
My life is actually so much better than the last time I was single in my 20’s, when I had no money, and we were all vying to see who would be the first one down the altar.
I found this new single life because a formerly single friend told me to stop being so stoic and to ask for help. When I became a single mom, I felt overwhelmed by life for the first time in my very competent life. So even though I had been pulling rabbits out of my purse for years, my friend firmly suggested that I just tell the truth and let people help.
And I found people who need people and became part of what I call the karma wheel. They helped me with…some babysitting here, a little fixing up there, an extra ticket to an event, a home cooked meal on a cold night and when my turn came, I paid it forward too. And it felt good to give back.
I am proud to be single now. It means that I can take care of myself, and I can probably help you too.
I am not alone. I have my sh@# together!
Lori Perkins is the publisher of Riverdale Avenue Books, the owner of the L. Perkins Agency, the Editorial Director of RomanceBeat.com, as well as the author of 25 books. She is a lives in NYC.