Many of us find ourselves “living single” at some point in our lives. The number of people living single is increasing. According to Eric Klinenberg in his new book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. The number of households with adults living alone has increased from 9 percent in 1950 to 28 percent – 31 million households – at the last census.
Why so many singles?
Singlehood may be for a few months, a few years or for a long period of time. It may be as a result of divorce or death, an extended search for a new partner or even by choice. Klinenberg is a sociologist who has studied the development of this growing population. Divorce rates have soared; many young people are delaying marriage yearning to have some time by themselves to develop a career or just be on their own for a while.
Easier to be single
In some ways living alone is easier than it used to be. We don’t need a partner to grow our food; living in a townehouse or condominium simplifies household maintenance. Numerous cafes, bars, fast food stops and neighborhood restaurants permit easy access to people and food. The internet connects us to a wide range of people from our laptops at home. We can text, chat, email, “friend” and Skype to connect with friends. To make new acquaintances we have meetups, networking and endless dating sites. In fact, finding solitude can be a challenge.
Senior and single
Getting comfortable with singleness can be awkward especially as we approach our senior years. How do you plan for the future – long and short term? Eating a healthy diet consistently can be a challenge? What do you want socially? Spiritually? Romantically? Can you afford to live on your own? Staying motivated to exercise or complete projects can be more difficult alone. Staying healthy is probably one of the most important aspects of creating a potentially happy future.
We all want to be able to take care of ourselves whether or not we have a partner. Kleinenberg says that women generally have an advantage in that they seem better able to manage on their own and they are generally in better health and live longer than men. We all want to stay healthy so we can enjoy our “retirement”.
I’ve been leading workshops on Ageless Thinking for the past 11 months. As I move into the next year the format will change. We’ll put more emphasis on the challenges of being single and senior. We’ll explore alternative living arrangements and seek ways to keep expenses under control. Watch for announcements of future meetings probably at lunch time during the week.