The State from Columbia, South Carolina on May 15, 1983 · 165
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The State from Columbia, South Carolina · 165

Columbia, South Carolina
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 15, 1983
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THE STATE— Sun May 15 1985 & THE COLUMBIA RECOBD — T ucfc May 17 1983 9 Being single may be hard but it can also be enriching By JuHo Lumpkin Special To Columbia Newapapera “I used to think you'd reach this magic age — like 22 or 23 — and you'd automatically be a mature adult” mused Mary Lois Gumb a 37-year-old mother of two sons “Until my divorce I thought everything I wanted would just fall in my lap Now I'm finding that it's not so bad to have to work for things It's hard to grow - to really grow up” she said Being a single woman is a chance to know yourself by testing your capabilities and limitations To do for yourself daily drop preconceptions take risks and reach out for new experiences The single life can be an honest way of life once a person meets its challenges which is not to say that it isn't sometimes hard Maturity can be the mark of a single life faced head-on Jackie Patterson a health education coordinator with Blue Cross-Blue Shield teaches "The Single Woman in the 80's” a USC Short Course in how to meet men Women ages 2$ to 50 years old enroll in Ms Patterson's classes where she raises questions about personal growth Divorced 10 years she encourages her class first to broaden their perspective of men and the male viewpoint Census figures are cited showing that 40000 single men 18 and over live in Richland County The question of how to meet men is answered with a question "What activities do you do? Look at your lifestyle” Ms Patterson urges “They tell me ‘I cross-stitch' or 'I go to Spa Lady’ and I tell them 'If you stay at home cross-stitching you cut yourself off'” Students are encouraged to hang out where the men are — not so much at bars — as in places like athletic centers where men go for fun Also to meet people take advantage of every situation she says even in the grocery store drug store or parking lot “It's critical to increase the number of people you meet of all ages male and female I haven't met anybody yet who doesn't have something to offer” explained Ms Patterson What her course suggests is that many of the old social rules don't apply anymore Being totally on your own — living alone — supporting yourself — often leads the single person to seek new approaches that work for her Over time this may cause enormous changes in attitude about male-female sex roles mar riage relationships careers and most especially self-concept Sometimes attitudes change in reaction to others "I used to really resent people who thought I had no responsibilities now that I was divorced” recalled Ms Gumb "Just because there wasn't a man around didn’t mean I didn't still have to cook three meals a day wash clothes and make the beds Just because there’s no husband or father doesn’t mean the kids and I weren't family We are a family We have a life together and I work hard to maintain it” In a couple-oriented society people often don't see singles as leading valid lifestyles with the underlying implication that only marriage wins society recognition In fact being single is not just an uncomfortable transition before marriage The freedom it offers to a person who doesn't have to answer to anyone builds an enriching life Corinne Kenney 33 a writer-producer for ETV's Continuing Education Division says her life is good "I'm a dyed-in-the-wool snow-ski enthusiast” she said Tm the past president of the Columbia Ski Club I love all sports Water skiing I used to jump out of airplanes I jumped 421 times Then I sold my parachute and bought a motorcycle" Ms Kenney who has never married said she's trying to do everything she can now knowing that a husband and father could curtail her activities At present the Ski Gub is important to her social life sponsoring activities year-round Of the 400 members in ages ranging from 25 to 40 well over half are single In response to the need for companionship if not commitment church-sponsored singles groups are also popular Joe Robertson the fellowship chairwoman of the recently formed Trinity Singles Group said what their people want the most is an opportunity to form friendships and to expand the singles community Offering spiritual social and fellowship programs the group offers a range of members from professors to government administrators to stockbrokers and small business proprietors “Church singles groups offer a marvelous alternative to meeting people in secular settings” continued Ms Robertson “I think the dynamics are dramatically different What people really need is friendship caring support and warmth" Other singles’ lifestyles affirm this Judy Weesner an insurance agent with Equitable Life Assurance Society is the divorced mother of two teenagers Rather than a mate her children hold first priority with her “I have a very good relationship with my kids" Ms Weesner commented “We are clearly a family They are so Involved in the household At 14 Stephen was helping me balance the checkbook and pay bills Now Katherine helps” Next to her children Ms Weesner values her friendships “In the last four years I've spent a lot more time with women friends It’s been a very rich experience There are some fantastic women around Columbia” she said For Ms Gumb the support of her church community and friends got her through a tough adjustment “The friendships I've made have taught me a new respect for people Just because somebody han't traveled my exact road doesn't mean they're a lesser person than L I’ve learned to accept people as they are” As for remarrying Ms Gumb doesn't rule it out but it’s not a priority “I have enough to keep me interested and alive You’ve got to be all right within yourself before you run out and get involved with another person" she advised Ms Weesner is still working on her personal goals too “I'm hesitant to make a commitment to a man right now because Tm not financially independent yet I don’t want that — the lure of more income — to color my decision" Emphatic about the financial hardships Ms Weesner said the worst thing about being a single mother was “how damn broke you are — the absolute sheer debilitating panic over not having enough money” At 40 her determination to make a higher income prompted her to become an independent sales agent a year ago “The thing about the feminization of poverty is true I’ve really experienced it The children see that I do three full-time jobs — run a home raise them and work outside — and it makes them angry to see their dad make more than I come home from work and relax” she said Ms Weesner expects her money struggles to lessen as she builds her insurance business Meanwhile she keeps a positive outlook “There's something about living on the edge that dredges up the best I am capable of being I do feel smug I feel damn good about where I am I have two great kids I do community things I Being a single woman is a chance to know yourself by testing your capabilities and limitations To do for yourself daily drop preconceptions take risks and reach out for new experiences The single life can be an honest way of life once a person meets its challenges have a house and eat a good meal every day “Attitude makes a difference You’ve got to maintain your sense of humor about adverse circumstances You know life gives you lemons you make whiskey sours In the end I’m still happier living with me every day" SAVE ON ' CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY Jewelry Warehouse fCaodlesticks 25 wf During Month of May Timeless elegance to reflect your own good taste Whether for your personal use or as a gift for those special occassions Now is the time to buy and save on quality solid brass candlesticks The Baldwin Btass fine hardwares & gifts V Center center 640 Harden St256-0997F!vc Points Store Hrs M-F 10 ‘til 6 pm Sat 10 ‘til 5 pm DENTSVILLE 7350 Two Notch Rd IAciom from K-mart) 736-3030 For the Complete Woman She knows a beautiful smile is her most valuable accessory The dentists at Alpha are concerned that you receive the service you expect at a price you can afford A beautiful smile is within everyone’s reach at Alpha Daytime Evening and Saturday Appointments Insurance and Bank Card Gladly Accepted ST ANDREWS 571 StAndr wi Richardson Plan 731-9770 WALK1NS WELCOME AS TIME PERMITS

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