I baked a cake last week.
Did a friend have a birthday? Was my church having a potluck dinner? No and no. It was for me. Only me. I had been stressed out and the only thing I had in my refrigerator was a gallon jar of pickles, some salsa and about three bottles of expired salad dressing. None of those things sounded appetizing. Actually, some of those things might have killed me if I tried eating them.
While I ate my cake and surfed Twitter, I started chatting with a friend about how being able to eat cake for dinner is essentially an adulthood win. I can eat what I want, when I want, and no one can stop me. Even if it means that I’ll be eating cake for the next week.
Then, I started thinking—maybe eating an entire cake by myself wasn’t such a good idea. It was these types of life choices that convinced me single people must die before married people. A spouse would, at the least, share the cake with me instead of letting me finish it off.
So, I did what any person would do—I Googled it. Google likes to give validity to my craziness. I’m still using the line “But I read it on the Internet” as confirmation that I am, in fact, correct and you are not. Archaic, I know.
Anyway, in my Internet sleuthing, I found a source that states single people do die earlier. One article stated that single woman die 15 years earlier than their married counterparts. At this point, I decided I might as well eat another piece of cake.
I should remark that I didn’t spend a lot of time checking sources. I found a site that confirmed my suspicions and that’s all I needed. Don’t pretend, you do the same thing. Well, you do the same thing if you’ve been to college in the last decade or so.
Now on my second piece of cake, I began to wonder how it could be that single people would die younger, and I came up with a few conclusions.
Stress is a killer.
It’s not that married people don’t get stressed. I’d never make those kinds of claims. But as a single person, I carry all the stress of my household. I can’t dump any decisions on a partner; I have to call all the shots. This might sound liberating, but standing in front of a mechanic as he lists all the things wrong with my car feels like an elephant suddenly perched on my shoulders.
My eyes begin to glaze over. Making an informed and wise decision is solely up to me. I can’t even figure out if the guy is still speaking English since I don’t recognize a single word coming out of his mouth.
Married people can default to their partner when needing to make a decision about something they have no clue about—or, in the best case scenario, they can discuss it and make a decision together.
In sickness and in health.
I’m on my second cold since the new year began. I’ve tested every over-the-counter medication I could find. When that didn’t do the trick, I hit up the natural foods section of my grocery store to see if there was an herbal remedy to help.
Surveying my desk littered with used tissues, I think about how nice it would be to have someone take care of me when I didn’t feel good. Someone to make me some homemade chicken soup. Heck, I’m not that picky, I’d take Campbell’s as long as they heated it up for me.
The Lonely Hearts Club.
One of my other stress relievers, besides chocolate cake, is watching funny videos on YouTube. In doing so, I’ve found that I don’t like laughing alone. I’d rather share the experience with someone. I know it may sound silly, but it’s one of those moments where the alone-ness of my life is highlighted.
As a single person, I’ve had the opportunity to experience many amazing things. All of which I am very grateful, but having a partner to share them with would have made them that much sweeter.
Singleness isn’t all that bad, I guess. If I don’t wash the dishes for a day (or three) there’s no one here to notice. If I want to spend 12 hours at my best friend’s house playing with her kids and watching football, there’s no one stopping me. If I want to spend a Saturday in my PJ’s reading a book in bed, I can.
Ya’ know, I’m not sure how many—or how few—years I have left on this Earth. But I can tell you one thing … as long as I’m single, I’m going to have my cake and eat it too!
* Note added by Single Matters: This article is not intended to confirm internet research or the validate of the sources regarding singles dying earlier than married people. The writer was merely sharing her thought process as she considered her singleness.