It’s My Golden Anniversary! Of Being Single

What I have done, haven’t done, and still want to do after 50 years of living single

Bella DePaulo
Fourth Wave
Published in
6 min readSep 12, 2021


Photo by Nathalia Segato on Unsplash

It’s my golden anniversary. I mark my single life as starting at the age of 18, and it has never ended and never will end. I never married, never even cohabited. That means that today, on my 68th birthday, I am celebrating 50 years of single life.

Please send gifts — not to me, but to every person you know who is thriving in their single life. Single people who are living fully, joyfully, and unapologetically. People for whom single life is their best life. I call them “single at heart.” Congratulate them for never caving to the relentless pressure to put a romantic partner at the center of their life.

Offer your warmest congratulations, too, to those who did join the couples club for a while, then realized that their most authentic, fulfilling, and meaningful life was single life, and never looked back. They are single at heart, too.

Celebrate all the meaningful accomplishments and milestones of every single person you know, including the single people who wish they were coupled. Everyone who is single, whether they want to be or not, is achieving all that they do despite the 21 ways single people are taxed more, and not just financially. In the U.S., they are also locked out of more than 1,000 federal benefits and protections accorded only to people who are legally married. The people they care about don’t have equal protections, either.

Personally, I’m celebrating, or sometimes just acknowledging, some things I haven’t done, as well as what I have done. Most are relevant to being single, but others aren’t.

Some things I’ve never done in my half-century of living single:

  • Opened a dating app
  • Lived with a romantic partner
  • Got married
  • Had kids
  • Skipped an event I wanted to attend because I did not have a romantic partner
  • Went to an event I did not want to attend because a romantic partner wanted me to
  • Become a morning person
  • Known which way to…



Bella DePaulo
Fourth Wave

“America’s foremost thinker and writer on the single experience,” according to the Atlantic. SINGLE AT HEART book coming on Dec 5, 2023.