Lots of ladies have dreamt of the day they would walk down the aisle in a beautiful white gown since they were little girls. Lots of men dream about it too. But even parents not Jewish and not from Long Island can start sounding naggy as soon as you hit 42 years old and are unmarried. “When are you going to settle down?” “When I was your age I had 30 kids!” However, there isn’t only one way to be happy. I already own a pretty white dress! And I can wear it more than once! I’m a guy who doesn’t own a tuxedo, and now I can save that money and buy 10 pairs of sweatpants! Here are 11 ways to be happy without getting married.
1. Be a plant person.
Inch by inch, row by row, make your beautiful garden grow! You can nurture and feel fulfilled by the learning curve, the triumphs, and even the failures of growing a garden for color, scent, and food.
2. Be a pet person.
We learned in the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective that it is possible to have a full life in an apartment full of pets. Remember the otter coming from out of the toilet? This could be you!
3. Be a nomad.
If you have Zoom work, maybe a traveling life is the life for you. Stay at hostels around the world for cheap, keep a travel blog, and zoom from paradise. How many paradises are there in the world? Maybe the whole world. There’s only one way to find out!
4. Live in a sorority/fraternity with your besties.
Why should Greek life stop at the end of college? Do whatever those guys do all the time. I can only assume it’s pillow fights for the girls and caterwauling for the guys!
5. Be a “villager.”
They say it takes a village to raise a child! So be an auntie or an uncle or a cousin to all the babies, toddlers, kids, and also adults and grandparents in your family! Go for a walk with Nanna. Take your auntie out to lunch. Take a little one shoe shopping. Have your cousin stay over when they’re looking at a college nearby. Maybe all on the same day!
6. Date without getting married.
You could have an awesome life partner like Oprah. How did that work out? I can’t remember! Probably about the same. Sure, there are no rings involved, but you could still be in a committed relationship and also wear normal everyday rings. Or do they just kind of give you Frankenstein hands anyway, trying to keep them on?
7. Do the Sex In The City thing without marriage.
Some of us generations grew up on this show, and we can still do this lifestyle out of our parents’ house at this rate! Meet lots of interesting people, find lots of interesting quirks about them that put them on the chopping block, or just keep them all in your rolodex regardless and spin through for a call on a Saturday night.
8. Have a kid career.
No, not child labor! A career in which you’re touching kids’ lives! Instead of raising 2.3 children who call you “daddy” or “mommy,” “raise” tens or hundreds or thousands of children over the years who call you a teacher, a counselor, a pediatric doctor, or a babysitter. Daddy and mommy are number one, but sometimes when we grow up, our role models are more eclectic.
9. Be a model citizen.
Never jaywalk, look both ways before you cross the street, and hold the door open for people. Vote every time. Being a daddy or mommy means being a role model to your potential kids, but you don’t need kids to be a role model! Now I’m resolving a drink mixup conflict at Starbucks! I certainly have the time!
10. Have a safehouse.
Did I just make up the term safehouse? There is a concept of it out there somewhere! If anyone in your life has a conflict with their husband, wife, parents, or roommates, you could have an extra bedroom for them. Keep extra towels and toiletries. Maybe keep a bunch of stuffed animals to choose from to surprise a friend in need and give to them when they stay over. Life is full of the less pleasant surprises, less so when you are the universal constant in people’s lives.
11. Bring the single!
Live alone. Go to a movie alone. Be a role model of how much fun you can have without necessarily being in a couple! Go to a couple’s dinner as a single person. Refuse the plus one option on a wedding invitation. Be your own best friend. Pretty soon, everybody around you will be their own best friend too. And when everybody is their own best friend first, so as to comfort and entertain themselves, we are all more ready to have other friends too.