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January 27, 2023

Middle-Aged, Single & Cat Owner—It’s Not the Burn You Think It Is.

“I’m proud of the woman I am today, because I went through one hell of a time becoming her.” ~ Unknown

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What a time we live in, when a stranger can tell a middle-aged single woman that she’s unhappy.

When a host of women can declare their independence, self-reliance, confidence, and happiness—only to be told by some guy that they are really miserable because nobody can be happy alone and (my personal favourite), “You won’t be saying that in 10 years when you are all shrivelled up and alone with your cat.”

I don’t engage with strangers on social media, but I do read commentary on posts I find interesting, and lately there has been an influx of such posts. Apparently a middle-aged woman who is single is just pretending to be happy. Just faking the joy in their life. Just waiting for someone to take their independence away and take control of their lives—because they can’t possibly live a life of any satisfaction without a man.

Newsflash: it’s not the burn you think it is.

People find themselves single in middle age for all sorts of reasons. Perhaps they’ve divorced after a long-term marriage. Maybe their partner died, or they simply chose to be single. Some are searching for love. Some are more relaxed and feel if it happens it happens. And some have no desire for a partner. And all are okay.

Isn’t it wonderful in 2023 that we have a choice? Isn’t it fantastic that we don’t have to stay in relationships anymore that are no longer conducive to happiness? Isn’t it great that if we choose to be in a relationship we can be? The empowering piece is choice. We all have a choice.

Recent studies have actually discovered that the happiest cohort of people are women who are single and childless. Personally for me, my children are my greatest blessings and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. However, again, it’s not one-shoe-fits-all because we have a choice and not everyone wants kids. Understandably, some people have the choice to have children taken away from them, and that’s why I’m against people questioning women as to why they don’t have kids. But I have digressed, back to the studies: yes, apparently single, middle-aged, childless women are the happiest, followed by single women. Single men are, however, not so happy.

It begs the question: are these men who bully single women on social media simply projecting their own fears of being alone? Yes, that’s exactly what they are doing.

I don’t understand why people find it necessary to dismiss what a stranger is saying about their own personal situation and experiences. Telling a stranger that they’re wrong because they really are lonely and miserable. Happiness is subjective and what makes one happy, does not necessarily make another happy. People need to stay in their own lanes. Do what makes you happy and don’t worry about anyone else. Other people’s choices are none of your business.

Do we ridicule a middle-aged woman who has lost her partner due to death? Do we tell her she’s going to be a shrivelled-up, unhappy woman with only her cats? No, I highly doubt that any normal human being would do that. But because a woman chooses to be single or is not making an effort to “find a man,” she’s open fodder for abuse. And it is abuse because it becomes a personal attack—women being called ugly, old, and that no man would touch them anyway.

It saddens me that someone’s ego can be that fragile because someone of the opposite sex has expressed their happiness and contentment in life being single. Or perhaps rejected their advances. I’ve always found it remarkable that when you reject someone’s advances they become defensive and feel the need to put you down. Ego and insecurities can really mess with one’s behaviour.

After being in relationships since I was 15, I’m more than happy to spend some time alone. But please let me clarify to those who think alone is lonely. Alone means I live alone; well, not quite alone, as I do have my cat. Lonely is when you are alone or in a house full of people, but you feel disconnected. See the difference? I live alone, but I am more connected than I’ve ever been. Connected to my kids. My family. My incredible circle of friends. Community. And myself. When you are connected and fulfilled, you aren’t lonely. I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.

It’s not to say that if someone comes into my life who I find interesting, kind, open to growth, and whom I’m attracted to that I would remain single. It’s saying I’m living my life, doing what makes me happy, enjoying my family, friends, passions, and independence, and if someone comes along who can compliment that, well that’s a bit of icing on the cake—rather than the whole cake.

If you’re a middle-aged woman reading this, please know that your worth is not dependent on your relationship status or your age. We are still vibrant, attractive women with a world of wisdom to offer. The perception by some that we are “invisible” is a ridiculous notion. I’ve had more attention from younger men in the past few years than I ever had when I was younger—but it should never be about our physicality or our age, it should be about what’s inside of us and our energy. This is how you pick out the weeds amongst the flowers. Men who are secure in themselves will always be able to see past our appearance and our age. Men who are secure in themselves would never judge a woman who chose to be single, or respectfully rejected their advances because they do not feel threatened.

Men who are reading this, I hope you are not one of those men who feel they can “mansplain” how a woman is “truly” feeling rather than listen to what the woman is actually saying. We don’t need a stranger to project their insecurities onto us. I acknowledge there’s also some women who do this to other women, and I feel for them because I understand it’s their own fears on display. Judgement is simply a projection of fears. When people realise this, they can begin to work on themselves rather than be bitter or resentful toward another for the choices they have made. No happy and secure person feels the need to bully or belittle another human being. Self-reflection and self-awareness are two of our greatest assets, yet sadly lacking for many.

So at 54, I am single. I live alone, and I have a cat—a super cute cat with an attitude, I might add. I am also the most grounded, connected, inspired, and passionate I’ve ever been. I’m open with my emotions. I work on myself, and I understand that happiness comes from within me. I’ve learnt I have to meet people at their level and another’s behaviour is always a reflection on them, not me. The people in my life just add to the life I have created for myself.

Next time you decide to try and verbally insult someone for their own personal life choice and tell them how bad it is being middle-aged, alone, and with a cat—remember it really isn’t the burn you think it is. In fact, it isn’t a burn at all.

Go find your happiness and leave others to make their own choices. You will become a much more fulfilled person when you’re not focusing your energy on how strangers choose to live their lives but rather what you, yourself, can do to heal whatever it is that causes you to lash out at some person on social media.

“I don’t need a relationship to rectify my existence. The most profound relationship we’ll ever have is the one with ourselves.” ~ Shirley MacLaine

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