I have never married and I have no children. As I typed that sentence I thought “OMG, I just called myself a spinster! Surely that can’t be.”
Eager to redefine myself, I went online and googled “define spinster.” One of the first things to pop up was the Urban Dictionary link (probably not the best choice of dictionaries in this situation….but it was at the top of the list). I found a variety of definitions of “spinster.” Most were derogatory and a few were amusing.
“An elderly or aging female who due to a combination of major personality flaws, undesirable personal habits, and unattractive physical appearance has never married.”
Well, let’s scrap that definition! I prefer this one:
A hipster (35+) who takes a modern, yet old expensive piece of clothing and pairs it with mostly inexpensive items purchased from Nordstorm’s Rack or Marshall’s. Basically, they put their own SPIN on their old expensive clothing and thus making it AWESOME = SPINster!
I’ve never bought in to the “spinster” or “old maid” hype. However, as I age, I am starting to think more about the consequences of my choice to remain single and childless. As I contemplate (and sometimes fear) getting older and the possibility of losing my independence, I wonder where/how I’m going to live and get the support I may need.
Yes, I know there are no guarantees that a spouse or child will be available, willing, or capable of helping you out. Somehow, it just seems to me like there’s safety in numbers when you get married and/or have children. If your nuclear family is not available, you are more likely to have extended family members for support when you need it. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself.
At this point, my nuclear family consists of my brother and me. He and I are not close. He is also childless, so I don’t expect any nieces and nephews to come to the rescue. My extended family is also small, with only six first cousins. All of the cousins live on the other side of the country and I rarely see them.
It finally occurred to me that being a single, childless woman from a small family does not make me unique. My situation may be different, but the result is probably not. Take, for example, a person who is widowed or divorced and never had children. Even someone who has lead a traditional life and has a family can have the same concerns. Most of us will need some kind of help when we reach our “golden years.”
If having a spouse, children, or family is no guarantee that someone will bring you chicken soup or walk your dog when you are sick, what is the answer? Some of us who remain in our own homes will have neighbors check on us if we aren’t seen for a couple of days. As I found out during my recent experience with a broken ankle, friends and neighbors can and do help a lot.
But, it seems to me like it’s important take a more deliberate approach to creating a community of friends and/or neighbors. What’s more, it’s nice to be able to give help as well as receive it. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to be in community. Time for this “spinster” to explore ways to put my own “spin” on community!