GOING to a single’s seminar organized by the UST Campus Ministry and Human Life International-Asia last Oct. 23 at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex erased many of my pre-conceived notions of single people. Classic Filipino movies portrayed spinsters as aging, cranky, stringent and intolerant. Single men meanwhile are either portrayed as swinging and irresponsible bachelors or bitter old men.

But most of the single people I brushed shoulders with in the seminar were generally happy people. They were even boisterous. They looked not at all bitter by their singlehood.

During the seminar, Dr. Milagros Neri of the Ateneo de Manila University said that being single herself, she knew of the social pressures on single persons. She said she had also come to learn the problems of singlehood because of her counselling sessions with single people.

“Marriage is not the norm,” Dr. Neri said. “It is only the society which pressures us to be with someone else. And marriage cannot guarantee happiness.”

True, being alone should not connote loneliness. One can be lonely even in the midst of so many people.

Your own boss

Belonging to the single’s club doesn’t mean that you are completely shutting your door to people. For some it’s an option. It may be an option that was taken after certain frustrations in finding a partner, but it’s still an option.

Without the constraints of marital life, one is free to delve deeper into the self, develop one’s potentials, and do things which married people cannot. One need not give up a career to suit the demands of someone.

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Moreover, most single people in our society are established in their fields. They are productive and career-oriented.

“Old-maid” syndrome

Before, people stereotyped “old maids” as persons who would never have the chance of marching down the aisle and who would never hear a wedding song played for her.

One of the participants shared that her aunts, who are both single, are actually the opposite. Both of them have a likable personality so that she enjoys hanging out with them. She remembered the time when they urged her to attend her high school promenade ball and even promised to pay for her evening gown.

My grandmother’s sister took the path of singlehood not because no one offered her marriage, but because she simply wanted to live her life without a partner. For a long time, she became the butt of jokes among her relatives because she was not a “spring chicken” anymore. And yes, she was getting older and so was everyone else. During her alumni homecoming, her former classmates were stunned that after 30 years, she was not able to settle down and raise kids of her own. She just shrugged off the remarks and pretended she never heard them. After all, she knew herself better than anyone else.

Surprisingly, my grand aunt was the one who was able to send her nephews to school since she kept most of her earnings to herself.

Looking at her now, she is no different from what she was a few years ago. She is still that vibrant person who offers me her homemade goodies and never minds if I eat them all in just one sitting.

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At present, she draws financial support from her pension plan. Her humble home always resonates with laughter, as she never runs out of visitors. Some of my relatives stay with her.

Some people think that single people lead boring lives. But the truth is, some single people might as well be considered unsung heroes since they devote their lifetime helping others through charitable and volunteer works. And these noble acts make their lives meaningful.

More time to serve the Lord

As it is stated in the biblical passage, “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things that belong to the Lord — how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world — how he may please his wife (1 Corinthians 7:32-33).”

I remember a friend who told me that when people feel that there is a huge void inside of them, God fills that emptiness.

Before the session ended, the participants agreed to form a group, which would be exclusively for single individuals. The singles club would be the first in the University. I would be part of the core group.

The single people didn’t only make me understand the mysteries and challenges of their being single. More important, they taught me how to face life amid its complexities and learn how to face challenges no matter what the cost.

Indeed, the event provided the participants a relaxed venue where they could be their own selves as they discovered things that they had in common–being single and being happy about it.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks for this article. am a researcher in gma7 news and public affairs. currently doing a special video documentary on old single women which aims to show successful women despite heartbreaks in life. am searching for single women, 40 yrs old and up, no child, never been married, supposed to be married but the guy ran away. she must be pretty, vibrant and cool, willing to share her learning in life thru an on-camera interview. the special dokyu will be televised on the last sunday of august. hope you could help me.

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