When I was 29, I was dating a man who was intelligent, financially secure and cultured. Nonetheless, I wasn’t attracted to him, despite my mother’s encouragement. “He has beautiful teeth,” she said, fearing I was being picky and would end up alone. At 29, I considered that possibilities, myself. It took courage to attend parties knowing I’d be the only single person in the room. Over the years, it’s taken more courage to admit to the sisters of my sex that I’ve never had children. Always, a look of pity creeps over their faces when I tell them, a disappointment that suggests I am no longer a full member of the club.
No matter. I’m happy I resisted the temptation to marry the man with beautiful teeth. If I had, I’d be a widow and alone.
I’d never champion the idea that a person should lead a solitary life, though it has its reward. But I would say to women, in particular — as they tend to be nurturers — that having time to oneself isn’t selfish. It’s an absolute must. Even with a large family, a woman can find quiet time folding the laundry or doing a extra load of wash. She can take the dog for a long walk or simply walk alone. My mother’s favorite escape was the graveyard across the street from the restaurant where she worked. She’d eat lunch leaning against a headstone, content to find peace among the dead when it seemed impossible to find it among the living.
One should never feel guilty for seeking a time out. New research argues that conscious, quiet time is essential for health:
When you take a breather, the prefrontal cortex in your brain gets a rest… The more you detach and unplug, the more likely you are to make better decisions … (“All By Myself,” by Jancee Dunn, Ladies Home Journal, October 2013 pg. 20.)
You see? Even science says a woman should have “a room of one’s own.” I promise the experience is empowering.
(Courtesy of blogs.longwood.edu)