Single and Ready to Mingle...At 42...Er...Sort of:

Single? Yes. Ready to Mingle? Um...not necessarily. You see, I actually like my life. No, this is not me trying to convince the whole world how happy I am that I'm single and that my life is so ridiculously a woman...who's never been married with no the ripe old age of...42. It's not the opposite either where I'm in desperate need of a relationship. It's somewhere in between.

I've been single for a little over a year now and the thought of finding someone has definitely popped into my head. And the other day, after going to a party where practically everyone was coupled off, I thought about how nice it would be if I were in a relationship. But then I thought...wait a minute. There's nothing wrong with my life right now. I enjoy almost every minute of it...single and all. In fact my life can be quite fulfilling.

Then I laughed...out loud...for several minutes...all by myself...with no prospect of companionship anywhere to be found...because I remembered the scene in the movie "The 40 Year Old Virgin" in which Steve Carell's character, Andy Stitzer, states almost the exact same thing! After several attempts throughout the years at losing his virginity with absolutely no success, Andy isolates himself from the rest of the world, and tries his best to live a content, yet lonely life. When his friends find out about his "predicament," they set out to change his virginal status. In one scene, still terrified at the thought of losing his virginity, Andy tries to justify his lonely existence.

The scene cuts to him playing the tuba while marching around his house...all by him playing video games...all by him singing along with his karaoke machine...all by him reading a comic book...all by himself...and also to the rather pathetic scene in which he paints...all by of his action figures a different color, leaving the audience guessing just how many times he's actually painted that thing. After that horrible replay in my head, I thought, is this what my life is like? Am I trying to convince myself that my life is fulfilling? That I don't need a man? That I could be alone and unafraid as a single, childless the ripe old age of 42?

If this were in Jane Austen's time, friends and family would actually feel sorry for me: the 42 year old spinster who's way past the corset wearing years of enticing the right husband to fall desperately in love with her. In fact, my social card would be filled to capacity from dinner parties to balls to guest stays in the best country homes and London houses. I'd be living it up!

In today's society, however, as a 42 year old woman who's never been married with no kids, who is STILL single, I'm considered a sort of social freak. A perfect example: after first being asked my age (which is rude in and of itself) and then asked my marital status, followed by my reply of, "I've never been married and I'm single," I can't tell you how many times I've heard the following two questions:

1. You've Never Been MARRIED?!??! (shock and horror run wildly around both me and my Interrogator)

...followed by my favorite question of all time...

2. What's wrong with you?!?

My gut reaction? To bitch slap my Interrogator across the face while simultaneously shouting, "F#*K YOU, A#*HOLE!! There's nothing wrong with me!!" But since I was brought up right...I simply reply, "I just haven't found the right guy yet."

It is true. I haven't found that right someone and, to be quite honest, I really do have something in common with the 40 year old virgin. In the movie, {Spoiler Alert} Andy doesn't want to lose his virginity to just anyone and finally loses it to his wife on his wedding night. So, besides the fact that I may have re-virginized myself (it's been a really long time since anyone my lady parts), I'm a lot like Andy: I'm also waiting for the right person to come along.

Now don't go thinking that I want a guy who is absolutely perfect and that my expectations are way too high and I will therefore never...EVER...find me a man (that's yet another rather inappropriate remark made by my Interrogators). I just want to find someone who I know will be right for me.

Besides, why should I have to defend my life as a single/never been married/have no children/42 year old woman? Are my Interrogators saying I don't have any value in today's society? That my worth can only be seen through marriage and motherhood? I say to hell with the whole lot of you! My value and worth is not defined by you or society but by me and me alone.

You see, ever since making the conscious effort to improve my extremely low self-esteem in my early 30s, I've become quite comfortable in my own skin (apologies to all my boyfriends from my 20s and teen really sucked to be you since my insecurities overwhelmed not just me but you as well). It's been a long journey, and making the effort to boost my self-esteem has really been worth it. Believing in myself has transformed my thinking, and I realize now that I don't NEED marriage, motherhood or a relationship to feel worthy or fulfilled.

Would it be nice to find someone? Sure, but I'm not going to sit around pining over someone or something I don't have. If the right guy comes along, great! If not, that's fine too. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy myself while simultaneously embracing my re-virginity (unless my Cougar Instincts kick in and I end up ravishing some young, sexy buck who happens to cross my path...which, by the way, would be okay too). a confident the ripe old age of 42...I will ignore my Interrogators and defy society's rigid standards of who I'm supposed to be, by bravely going forth with pride, and without any prospect of companionship anywhere to be found, to revel in and celebrate my happy and fulfilling single/no kids/never been married/social freak status life! And maybe, just maybe, one of these days, I'll learn to play the tuba!

Alicia Emamdee is the author of the YA romance novel, "Aloha Self-Esteem?" which provides ways for teen girls to help improve their self-esteem. She is currently working on her second novel in the self-esteem series for women in their 30s and 40s.

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