06/17/2014 05:50 pm ET Updated Aug 17, 2014

Single vs. Married: Which Side Are You On?

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One of my friends, a married woman with children, recently posted on Facebook about her days by herself while her family was traveling. She wrote, "Each day I spend a little quiet time, cleaning, writing, puttering... being alone is a blessing."

That perspective got me thinking about my own alone time -- and being single. I liked how she referred to her time alone as a blessing, not a punishment. Because, after all, being alone is a blessing, not a sign that you are unworthy or less than, not "left" but, "finding."

My 23-year marriage had its ups and downs, and now I'm enjoying a period of time in life where I'm getting to experiment with activities sexual as well as spiritual, solitary as well as social, and educational as well as frivolous. I'm finding that being alone has its perks!

Here are 10 of the joys I experience from being single:

1. I have the ability and latitude to choose what I want to do and when.

2. I can speak with people frankly, without having to worry about the impact my opinions might have on a partner.

3. I can make my own friends, whom I don't have to share or explain.

4. There is peace and quiet at home whenever I need it.

5. Being single has encouraged me to join several organizations and social groups that interest me and allow me to share in gregarious times.

6. When I decide to spend money, I have only myself to square up with and have no need to plead for the opportunity to purchase what I want.

7. I can eat in a way that is healthy for me, without having to compromise or be tempted by a partner's choices.

8. I can fill my shelves, cabinets, closets, window sills and counter tops with the decorations of my choosing, without having to consider the design aesthetic of another.

9. I am free to enjoy a sensual and sexual life.

10. I can focus more of my energy on me -- my health, my interests, my journey.

I am blessed that being single is not seen as a negative, but instead as a doorway that's open for me to express more of who I am.

Being single is an important part of growing to know yourself and your needs, your gifts and your weaknesses and how to manage both. You learn how to trust yourself in meeting life's challenges, and to trust your judgment about others and when to call upon them. You have time to reflect and to consider, to understand what drives you and what satisfies you and how to develop resources to meet your life head-on.

And, as you move through life in tune with your own learning and experiential mode, you will meet the people with whom you might best someday partner.

We all know people who met the love of their lives later in life after a period of being single. We admire these people for being able to join with another and maintain their self-reliance, the attitudes and aptitudes that probably attracted the one they love. And perhaps we have met people who partner in unusual but satisfying ways. There are many ways to be in our society; the idea is to find what works best for you.

I love hearing people's stories of their journey through singlehood, through divorce, or those who are navigating their way through marriage. What are the benefits of being single or in a partnership for you?