Don’t wait any longer to have the life you truly want
For several years now I’ve been celebrating my birthday alone. I take the day off no matter what day of the week it falls on and I don’t worry about whether or not anyone else can get the day off, too, to celebrate with me. It’s a total “me day” and I do all the things I feel like doing that year. It usually consists of some shopping (the only day a year I might actually go to the mall), taking myself out to lunch, getting a pedicure or massage, buying myself a special treat, maybe seeing a movie, and some years culminates in dinner or happy hour with friends. This past year I decided to go to one of the upscale malls in town, then take myself out for lunch, then a pedicure, before stopping off at the bakeshop for a treat to take home.
I excitedly started out at the mall. Being an interior designer, I gravitate toward the home goods stores, such as Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn. Since it was shortly before the holidays, I got to experience the bonus of having the entire mall decked out with holiday decorations. I happily entered the first store and took in the bounty of stylish and useful items just waiting to go home with someone and enhance their life. I strolled through the second store while my mood leveled out a little. By the time I got halfway through my third store of the day I realized I was feeling a bit depressed. Depressed while shopping? Hmmm…
It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to?
I needed to get to the bottom of this. Was I upset because I was spending my birthday alone? No. I spend my birthday alone all the time and I actually rather like it that way. Was I upset because I was shopping all by myself instead of sharing the experience with my girlfriends? No. I actually enjoy shopping by myself just as much as I enjoy it with others. Was I upset because of all the fun things I was seeing that I couldn’t justify spending money on? Not really. I mean, it is fun to buy things, but I really didn’t need anything and I’m pretty good at just enjoying the experience of window shopping. So, what was it? Then I realized that the stores I was wandering through are the kind that are all tricked out like your dream home. You walk into one of those stores and you want to just transplant it into your own home. They have everything you need for living a comfortable, stylish life and entertaining like a pro, too. So, was I dealing with house-shame, then?
No, that wasn’t it, either. It wasn’t that I was lamenting not having the kind of home that looks like those stores. While my home doesn’t look like it stepped off the pages of a catalog exactly, I’ve done a pretty good job with it, if I do say so myself. What these stores represent isn’t a certain look, necessarily, it’s a certain lifestyle. A lifestyle where the happy couple comes back to their well-appointed home and gets ready for their elegant dinner party for ten. It’s the kind of home where stylish cocktail parties are thrown. It’s the kind of home where everyone goes for game day because they know the food will be fantastic and the hosts will be gracious. These stores sell a certain lifestyle, one that I used to want with someone else. I used to fantasize about getting married, having a big home that looked like a furniture showroom, and spending our weekends entertaining friends. So, here I was in the mall on my birthday realizing that I still want that lifestyle and I’m missing it.
What’s a single girl to do?
First, I had to check myself and make sure it wasn’t the husband part of the equation that I was missing. No, I wasn’t feeling down because I don’t have a husband. I’ve long since gotten past that. I was feeling down because I’d been missing that entertaining portion of the fantasy and the mall stores were reminding me of that. All along, part of me has still felt that I needed a husband in order to have it. I’d been waiting for the husband to come along so that I could have that lifestyle and denying myself something that I truly wanted until that happened. Now, before you shake your head in disappointment at the blissful single girl, realize that part of that thought is practical. If you’ve ever tried to throw a big party on your own then you know what I’m talking about. When I moved into my current home I threw a big housewarming party. There were thirty people in attendance and between greeting guests, taking coats, giving tours, freshening drinks, replenishing food, and trying to be a witty and charming host, I was running around like a mad woman and not really being present at the party. There are ways around this, however, when you enlist the help of friends and you learn a few tricks to relieve yourself of some of those duties.
Consummate entertainer and happy alone, too?
Having uncovered the source of my melancholy mood, I decided right then and there to stop putting off having the lifestyle that I want just because I’m “alone.” I can start throwing stylish parties any time I want. I can go to Crate & Barrel and discover that I actually do have a need for vodka tasting glasses and olive servers. I can stop waiting for that lifestyle to come to me and start making it happen for myself. Right now! And so can you. Is entertaining something you think is only for couples? Sure, it’s easier when there are two of you, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend your life party-less simply because you’re on your own. Get your friends to help out and start making your life exactly the way you want it. Here’s what I decided to do…
You gotta love New Year’s resolutions, right? Since my birthday is not long before the New Year, I made a resolution to start entertaining more. At first I decided I wanted to do something every month and then realized that might be a little over-zealous, especially since I’ve thrown exactly three parties and one dinner party in the last eleven years. So, I decided one party and one dinner party per quarter. I’ve already had the party for this quarter. It was my book launch party a couple weeks ago, there were close to forty guests, and even though I didn’t throw it in my home, it kept me on my toes and reminded me to enlist the help of friends wherever you can. My next endeavor is a dinner party next month. I bought an entertaining book for some pointers and I’ve already got my eye on some serving pieces from Crate. Proof positive that the single life just keeps getting better and better when you commit to making it that way.
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