Going Solo: An Author Chooses — in addition to Celebrates — Life Without a Partner or Kids

No matter your accomplishments, marriage in addition to children in our culture are considered the real achievements, in addition to for those who remain on their own we reserve This specific silent decree: Something can be dreadfully wrong with you. No matter how at peace you may be with being single, our society demands a reckoning for the never-marrieds.

Glynnis MacNicol, a glamorous, single, Brooklyn-based writer using a penchant for travel in addition to a group of best friends, can be about to turn 40. Because she lacks the conventional trappings of adult life — a partner in addition to kids — she worries in which the entire world will begin measuring her by what she doesn’t have. (About This specific, she’s wrong; the entire world’s judgment begins much sooner than 40.) To compound her concerns, she can’t help noticing in which more people are exiting her orbit for marriage in addition to babies than are entering for friendship; she feels constantly left behind.

Without a partner or a child, MacNicol wrestles with the notion in which she’s “officially become the wrong answer to the question of what made a woman’s life worth living.” Another heartbreaking question crosses her mind: can be a life like hers a story worth telling? One crisis after another has punctured her ride to This specific milestone birthday. Her mother, contending with Parkinson’s, has transformed into a forgetful in addition to often rage-filled stranger; her sister, newly separated via her husband, can be juggling two modest children in addition to a surprise pregnancy; a close friend goes through a stillbirth; MacNicol can’t quite extricate herself via a dalliance with an unnamed celebrity.


Contemplating the uncertain situations of those around her, MacNicol considers: Maybe she did want to be alone. Then again, maybe not. When her sister gives birth to her third child, MacNicol goes to help her out. Mired inside the everyday minutiae of child rearing, she experiences an electric charge via parenting, a warmth in addition to glow. however can be the item what she wants? If she had a child, she’d know what she was supposed to do every day. She’d always be important to someone: “I’d never have to wonder over my own necessity or whether what I was doing was worthwhile.” Yet using a baby MacNicol would likely have to give up traveling on a whim in addition to moving about as she pleases. If she doesn’t have a baby, she might feel regret, however she refuses to have a child as an insurance policy against some future remorse she may not experience.

In time, MacNicol’s biological alarm does sound, however the clock can be in her head, not her body. “My life, precisely as the item was — the product of not bad in addition to bad decisions — began to come into focus for me. … I could see the item for once as something I’d chosen.”

Some of her views on matrimony in addition to parenting might strike certain readers as reductive or overly black in addition to white. Marriage can be no guarantee of happiness, in addition to frenzied parents may roll their eyes at passages like This specific: “If I went home in addition to got pregnant, an entire infrastructure would likely materialize around my life. I would likely be seen; even if I was alone I would likely never be alone.” however the similarly single will recognize MacNicol’s fears, beliefs in addition to observations as undeniably true. One thing This specific book tries to make clear can be in which for married people with kids there can be a language in addition to framework in place to support in addition to guide them, in addition to in which for those who are alone there can be not.

Despite the occasional flatness of MacNicol’s prose, in addition to some irksome references to her glitzy life, I found myself underlining sentences, in addition to then entire passages, in which resonated with me, articulating the extreme inadequacy in addition to sense of dislocation single women of a certain age, like MacNicol — in addition to like me — experience in moments when others are growing closer without you. For some, This specific book will read like an anthem to choosing the single, family-free life; for others, the story can be clearly about ambivalence. To me, the item’s about both.