A love letter to all my single ladies (and gents), with a side of curried mac and cheese
Valentine’s Day is upon us, so I wanted to take a moment to celebrate all the single ladies (and gents). Because in my mind, this holiday of pink hearts, chocolate truffles and roses isn’t about celebrating couples. It’s about celebrating love. And I love my single girlfriends. They’ve been there for me in the hardest times. They know me. They make me happy. But above all, they keep me sane.
Every year that goes by, it seems my social network of single friends gets smaller and smaller. I turn 31 this spring, so I guess it’s normal for this stage in life. Nearly everyone in my inner circle is either married or getting married. Many have babies or are trying to have babies. Some are already having more babies. It's great being in like company. However, there's a major downside.
Once everyone starts to fall into the same pattern, it gets harder and harder to see your friends — much less have any time for yourself. The spontaneous hangout has become almost nonexistent. And all forms of interaction with other adults seem to be scheduled around playdates or dinner within rigid timeframes. I miss those last-minute happy hours, those spontaneous late-night chats and the freedom to make decisions at any moment without any other considerations.
So, I consider myself lucky to have a handful of friends that are flying solo — whether by choice or not. And they all know that I’m kind of jealous of them. In my mind, they’re living it up. They’re not restricted in any way by responsibility to another human being. They don’t have to consider anyone else’s opinions or feelings when deciding on absolutely anything — from what to have for dinner to more important things, like what to watch on Netflix. They can have spontaneous nights out and stay up until dawn having conversations with someone they just met. If they really want, they could have a new person to dine with every night of the week. Which sounds exhausting. But hey — it's a choice.
Because K travels a lot, I often find myself leading a single person’s existence (after I put the baby to bed, of course). On some weekends that he’s gone, I take full advantage and go out for dinner and dancing with my girls. I drink, I dance, I (try very hard) talk about anything other than babies. I have the best time being a wing woman and pretending that — for a few brief hours — I’m not tied down to anything. It’s liberating.
And then, I get to go home and know that I have someone there the next day to help me with my hangover. Without a doubt, I love having a companion and raising a family. Seeing the world anew through Lulu's eyes gets better and more fun everyday.
And of course, I know how hard it can be to be single. I've had many good cries with my girlfriends, guy friends and family members over the ups and downs of dating. And I want my single friends to eventually find a loving companion. I want them to feel safe and secure knowing that someone will always be there. I want them to have an excuse to cuddle up on the couch on a Friday night in their PJ’s eating pizza with someone that isn’t trying to judge them. But for now, all I can do is be their friend and try to be as present for them as I feel they are for me.
In the meantime, here’s the most fattening, garlicky, delicious comfort food recipe I could come up with. It’s easy, filling and way more satisfying than that last Tinder date. And if you're single, the best part is that you don’t have to share it with anyone if you don’t want to. Sending all of you lots and lots of love this February.