I’ve received a few emails in response to my column about living single in Seattle. The comment thread is interesting, too. Here’s my response to a couple of those messages.
From Betty C., a woman who married at 26 in the 1970s but says times have changed and encourages today’s younger generation to wait:
The unexamined life is not worth living, so slow down and examine your life, environment and the intellect and character of your friends. Getting swept off your feet is stupid and immature. Keep both feet on the ground. Stick to your guns. Choices and options can always be re-examined later, but only if you want to revisit your choices. Do not let anyone push you into a choice of their own liking, but not a choice of YOUR OWN LIKING.
Amen, Betty. Thank you. According to 2011 U.S. Census data, I am one of about 44,000 women age 30 and up in Seattle who have never been married. It’s hard to drown out society’s expectations about marriage and children, but like I said in the column, it’s high time that women (and men) accept equal responsibility for our dating choices. I believe this leads to healthier relationships and better outcomes for families in our community.
Nationwide, 102 million Americans 18 and older — 44 percent of that population — are unmarried, according to the 2011 census. Pew’s research reports that more people are staying single longer. This is sure to have economic and social implications for society.
From another reader who withheld his name:
Are you familiar with the concept of seeking approval? That, and gadget addiction, seems to define the millennial generation. Must every thought, observation, decision, relationship, and experience be broadcast to as many friends, acquaintances, enemies and strangers as possible. Must every waking moment be spent in anticipation of the next text message?
Point taken, but this comment seems to make the broad assumption that all young people share every detail of their lives online. Some do; some don’t.
The Web has certainly made it easier for us to share photos and status updates on how we feel, but it’s not only used by young people. Edison Research indicates the fastest-growing segment of the population using social media year-to-year is adults 55 and older. This is the world we live in today and everyone is free to choose just how much of their personal lives they want to reveal online.
For this particular column, I really only scratched the surface of my own personal experiences. I spared readers a lot of details about my previous relationships gone wrong. I was inspired to write it in response to Danielle Campoamor’s guest column June 8. Her op-ed generated a lot of discussion in comment threads and this live chat. I felt my less-than-600 word column could add a nuanced perspective to the mix. A lot of people think about relationships in Seattle and it’s a topic worthy of discussion.
Now, back to writing about local elections, education and so many other subjects that I also believe are important.