Thursday, November 12, 2009
As many of you know I am the co leader of a spark team called SNKs (Single no Kids) for a long time I have wondered why there are so little resources for singles on SparkPeople. In the Lifestyle Center there are Lifestyle groups for People interested in the green lifestyle, for gardeners, for “Natural Beauties” Whatever that is?, Seniors, College students, Families, but nothing for Singles.
I have asked this question a couple times and in a couple different ways to SP. And have been surprised at how little support there is for the single person there is. Most recently I asked the Sparkguy about this. His response was not surprising but disappointing. Most people do not want to hear about what it is like for singles, or believe we are a non issue.
“We do think that most of the content on the site is generic enough for anyone to use. I'm happy you have a SparkTeam for singles - that's one of the top reasons we encourage members to start SparkTeams around any affinity - we can't possibly cover every possible issue with our small team that needs to cover millions of people visiting the site so teams are a great way for people to get together to talk about all types of issues.
Let us know if you have specific ideas for articles. Also, feel free to do things like have your team do blog posts that address issues from the single perspective - we basically give members the ability to create their own content with blogs and teams. I'll be honest that it's incredibly hard for our small team to run a major site like this, so we greatly appreciate it when members handle issues as positively as possible for everyone involved. Our coaches have a tough job managing a community that gets millions of posts per month. Chris”
What this says to me is that singles are not a group worthy of attention by the Spark team. While “Natural Beauties”, gardeners and greens are as they have their own section.
What I was hoping to hear was that I made a good point and that SparkPeople would try to find resources for the singles who are members. That they would look into finding experts to write on issues that effect singles. That they would try and add more smaller serving recipes to SparkRecipes. That in general they would try to keep in mind not everyone can relate to examples about being married or family life.
Not “do it on you own” . Which we have been for years. One of the reasons I feel SNK’s is such an important group and has been the best support for me in my health journey. A place where I find others who understand the joys and difficulties of living as a single person in a world where everything is 2 for 1.
According to the United States Bureau of the Census, the fastest-growing household type since the 1980s has been the single person. There has been a similar increase in single person households in Britain. It is estimated there were more than 1.1 million mature singles in Canada in 2001, that is in a population of about 30 million. Of those, about half, or 550,000, did not expect to marry. So it would appear singles are not a fringe group.
Most singles who are single by choice, circumstance, or life will tell you it is not all about dating and having fun. Especially for those who are out of their 20’s. Living single is not easy. And the issues which singles have to deal with are very different from those of our married or coupled friends.
It is more expensive to live single than it is to live as a couple or a family. Not only is there no one to share the bills for everyday living (mortgage/rent, hydro, heat, food etc).We are often charged more for the same service. If I go on a trip I will be charged one and half to double the person charge that someone traveling as a part of a couple will be changed for the same trip. How is that fair? Many sales are 2 for 1, but that doesn’t mean ˝ price for ordering for one. Many sales in the supermarket are for the family size, do you know how long it would take me to use that up? Singles get no tax breaks we pay the full amount without getting most of the benefits. As we get older more and more of our friends are in relationships so the advice to double up and share these costs just doesn’t work.
There are health care concerns that we face our married/ coupled friends do not understand. What do you do when facing surgery (as one of our members asked recently) and you have no partner or family to look after you when they send you home. This can be an added stress to an already stressful situation. I know not all partners or family are supportive and helpful but at least there is an option we do not have.
There are safety issues for singles as well. While I don’t really think about it, and I know I should, when I head off for one of my walks with the dogs. There isn’t anyone going to miss me if I don’t come back from that walk, till I don’t show up for work. Could be days before I am missed. Or even just driving home at the end of the day, on one is waiting to see if I made it. These are things married don’t really think about.
It can be hard to eat healthy. Cooking for one isn’t easy and the advice out there to batch cook larger recipes or buddy up with a friend are not helpful. Try to find recipes on Spark recipes that are for less that 4-10 servings. Or going into even a large chain book store and find a cookbook for cooking for one. What many experts forget is most singles do not own large freezers to store the food from batch cooking. We generally just have the top of an apartment size fridge. Often we end up eating single serving frozen dinners, the fast and the size is right. But not the best choice health wise. I went to see the dietician at my medical center and when I challenged her to find these cookbooks etc for singles she was surprised how hard it actually was. She was also surprised how much more expensive it was to buy small amounts of food versus the family size.
There is the social pressure to be married and have kids. The sometimes cruel questions we are asked about why we are single. There is the looks at the office party when you show up alone, or worse if you drag a friend along and the questions are asked about your orientation. There is the look of pity if you ask for a table for one at a restaurant or the condemnation for taking up the space a couple could sit. All which can led to isolating the single person, staying at home rather than going out and doing things on there own. Not really an issue for me, but I have heard it from other members. I am too old to let others options of my life stopping me from living it.
Anyway Sparkguy suggests blogging on being single so I have. Oh and I did submit about 20 suggestions for articles for single. Plus created a thread at SNKs for members to do the same.