Hardwired for Singlehood?

“There has always been something wild about you, making you the perfect person for such an adventure, striking out to a new country on your own…you go, girl!”

I found this encouraging remark from a loved one uplifting, provided to me upon news that I will fulfill a position at a large hospital in Germany in October of this year. It’s true that I possess a precocious personality. Having my name announced on public paging systems does not startle me following years of disappearing in the mall as a youngster. You will rarely find me itching to try to return to restaurant or a travel, even if the experience tingled my soul. I define myself not by my surroundings, but by how much I can explore and grow.

A person pointed out to me that my ability and excitement to go work overseas is attributable to being single and not “tied down yet.” But the more I consider it, the more I think it is truly about my temperament, something built in and innate to my personality.

Don’t get me wrong…I am a gal that is currently longing for intimacy. It’s been a while since my last relationship, and I miss that feeling of belonging and connection. But I also know a “perfect union” is an illusion. Even if you are partnered up, sooner or later, you will feel lonely, misunderstood, and that you aren’t known.

I recognize that there is a beauty in making someone’s lunch and knowing exactly what will satisfy and I honor that pinching when that someone fails to comfort you when you are defeated.

Still, my personality evokes independence. Sure, I cared what my peers thought about me in high school, but I was more interested in achieving and my own goals than anything. Perhaps, I am hardwired to cope better with singleness than a person who finds her surroundings more fulfilling than goals. I point out specific attributes I appreciate in others, but I never was a jealous person who longed for more public displays of attention. I like to travel with others, but really need my reflection and assimilation time.

A beloved poem catches my longings to the core:

The Summer Day
Mary Oliver
Who made the world?Who made the swan, and the
black bear?Who made the grasshopper?This grasshopper, I mean-the one who has
flung herself out of the grass,the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,who is
moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-who is gazing around with
her enormous and complicated eyes.Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly
washes her face.Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.I don’t know
exactly what a prayer is.I do know how to pay attention, how to fall downinto
the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,how to be idle and blessed, how to
stroll through the fields,which is what I have been doing all day.Tell me, what
else should I have done?Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?Tell me,
what is it you plan to dowith your one wild and precious life?

Am I single because I am independent? …..

4 thoughts on “Hardwired for Singlehood?

  1. I don't know if I buy the idea of a causal link between singleness and independence/free-spiritedness (or the idea of a "natural" or "innate" self). BUT I do think that maybe those of us who are comfortable being single are comfortable because of our senses of independence.

    I think, a lot of times, that I want to be, or perceive myself to be, more independent than I actually am. I do care about what other people think of me, and I do desire attention. That strikes me as dependent, not independent, behavior. But, on the other hand, I love traveling alone, and I enjoy my share of solo activities — and most especially, living alone.

    — Lisa

  2. I think that if you are adventurous you will always be that way even if you did get married. I've been married for 15 years and have 2 kids and during that time we've moved all over the country as different opportunities have presented themselves. Of course our adventures involve more planning than when I was single and could just head out on my own, but we are way more adventurous than most families we know.

    As far as being single because you're more independent, I think that everyone that I know that is single at my age has something that is more important to them than marriage. For some it's career, for some it's a hobby they're fanatical about and for some it's just their love of freedom. I guess we just all have a different definition of what makes us happiest.

  3. Wonderful thoughts! Yes, you both are cueing in on what's important to me as driving my lifestyle choice…being independent is very important to me…but often, I use it as prevention against intimacy…

  4. I actually do think that an independent spirit may coincide with the choice to be single. Some of the more emotionally dependent people I know married young, while those who married later or not at all have seemed more independent to me. On the other hand, it's hard to say that the independent streak is causative. Maybe years of being single force people to be more independent.

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