Unlike most everyone I knew, I was single through my 20s, 30s and 40s. Various boyfriends and potential husbands popped in and out, but for too many reasons to articulate, I did not settle down. So now while many of my peers are celebrating 30 years of marriage, divorce, or grand-babies, I am not.

Instead, I settled down at 50 when I met Steve, and that’s the story of a happy ending. But what I really wanted to write about was the gift bestowed by 30 years of singledom.

I traveled a lot and I became very comfortable with having a drink or meal by myself in a restaurant. These days it is never uncommon to see a woman dining alone, but my prior life honed me to feel no self-consciousness when I walk into any dining establishment and sit at the bar and order a glass of wine and a bowl of spaghetti, while everyone else is ensconced in a duet.

I leave knowing Steve is at home, but I so appreciate the sense of empowerment and strength of the independence and freedom that came out of being single for so many years.