Single Baby Boomers got their independence at an earlier age than children do today. Parents now fear threats from every corner of the world. When Boomers were children, their parents were most concerned about atom bombs and the possibility of another World War. In schools they hid under desks during a bomb drill. Now at schools besides the traditional fire drill, students have bomb and intruder drills along with weather related ones. Police are assigned to middle and high schools to help with student’s behavior and intruders. Even if parents and schools feel they’re prepared for anything, the media tells them every day that threats exist from unknown places and people.
Single Boomers felt they gained their freedom at different times and in a variety of ways. Some felt independent when they:
were allowed to walk to school or a friend’s alone,
got their license and were allowed to drive alone,
graduated from high school or college,
left home to live on their own,
got their first job,
were widowed or divorced,
told their family, friends, and the world about their sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or in this election year, their political views, if it differed from theirs and was in the minority.
Many Boomers went from their parent’s home into a marriage or other relationship. Although they had their own career, they were partnered with another person and may have had a family to consider when making most decisions. I remember applying for a small loan at the local bank and being asked for my husband’s signature. My response was to question the man by saying something like this; If a man came in here for a loan, would you ask him to get his wife’s signature? The loan officer didn’t have a good answer and I walked out with my money. Even though the Women’s Rights Movement began in 1948 and was often in the news in the 70s when this happened, the bank hadn’t gotten the message.
Some Boomers knew marriage was not for them and they preferred the single state at an early age. Others followed the trend of the time and got married to the first person who seemed a reasonable match. Later they found it wasn’t what they needed and became a divorce statistic several times before they realized they were happier on their own. Their parents and most of the older generation felt it was a mistake. They were accused of ruining their children’s lives and encouraged to stay with abusive spouses even by the clergy. Some persevered on their own while others fell into other relationships out of love or convenience. Many of those second and third marriage didn’t last and they found themselves single again with teenagers left to raise and a mortgage to pay. Then the kids were gone and their real freedom was in sight. However, children returned home and aging parents needed their care. They were independent, but still had dependents. When they finally did gain full independence, they were sometimes at a loss about what to do with the rest of their lives. Statistics find married women aren’t planning for retirement and the average age they become widowed is around 57. Most still have many more years to live and want to do it without another spouse or help from their family, so it’s important they’re self-sufficient in every way.
Those who remained single may be better equipped to enjoy this phase of life having built a life centered around a career and friends. They’re used to living, traveling, and doing many things alone. When I say alone, I don’t mean lonely. Studies show people who’ve been single for all of their lives have more friends, take an active role in their family often by caring for them in times of need, and do community service more often than their married friends. They need their time alone to relax and recharge. My creativity is at its peak when I’m alone, because I’m not distracted by the problems I feel I have to solve for others-a useless and unnecessary endeavor. Perhaps, people who’ve remained single have a better handle on how to live their own lives and not worry about others.
In the article “The World’s 10 Most Single Countries” posted on March 25, 2014 at the website “World Money” at http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/world/top-10-loneliest-countries/, Jessica Rose Purchon reported that these top ten countries have the highest percentage of singles who live alone by choice or necessity.
8. South Africa-24%
5. U.S., 28%
2. Britain, 34%
Although the article focused on loneliness, the statistics shows people of all ages choose independence as a priority. Often it’s for simple, but significant reasons. In my research I’ve found singles enjoy having the freedom to:
- make both minor and major decisions without the input and criticism of another,
- have their own space (most important things seem to be their bed, garage, office, man cave, and a bathroom),
- be in charge of their own finances,
- live in the location of their choice,
- schedule their activities such as; sleep, eating, entertainment, travel etc. for whenever and with whomever they choose,
- wear what they want to even if it’s underwear or P.J.s all day and
- have time alone.
Any day can be your independence day. It’s not too late to live your own destiny even if it’s imperfectly. If you’ve more to add, please share your comments with us here or on my Facebook Page, which can be accessed by the Facebook icon at the top of the blog Homepage.
Continue the adventure!