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Single-Minded: Can You Live a Happy Satisfied Life, Alone?

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Date and time
Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Cambridge Forum delves into a controversial topic – the state of singlehood.
Lots of health research indicates that people who live alone, have higher health risks and are generally unhappier. Well, not so, according to Bella DePaulo (Ph.D) author of a new book, “Single At Heart”. DePaulo is a 70-year old psychologist, who in addition to being single all her life, has also studied the state of being single from a professional standpoint and she is adamant that there are multiple myths about her chosen way of living.

“I could be living at a time or in a place where the prospects for staying single for life would have been much more daunting. Maybe it would have been nearly impossible for me to support myself financially without a spouse. Maybe attitudes toward single people would have been even more disparaging than they are now.  That would have been a profound loss. For people like me who are single at heart, the risk is not what we’ll miss if we do not organize our lives around a romantic partner, but what we’ll miss if we do. We would miss the opportunity to live our most meaningful, fulfilling and psychologically rich lives by living someone else’s version of a good life instead of our own. We would not get to be who we really are.”

Joining DePaulo will be Fenton Johnson, who has written extensively about the state of marriage and the state of solitude. He is author of three novels and four works of creative nonfiction, most recently At the Center of All Beauty:  Solitude and the Creative Life, a New York Times Editors’ Pick. At various times a contributor to NPR, Harper’s Magazine, and the New York Times Magazine, he has received numerous literary awards. Johnson has taught in the nation’s leading creative writing programs and is Emeritus Professor of the University of Arizona.

Bella DePaulo, PhD, is the leading expert on single life and has been described by The Atlantic as “America’s foremost thinker and writer on the single experience.” Dr. DePaulo coined the term “single at heart.”
Fenton Johnson is the author of At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life, a meditation on the solitary artists, writers, and musicians who have inspired him and on the importance of solitude in contemporary life. Johnson has contributed stories and cover essays to Harper’s Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, and many literary quarterlies. View more.

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