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Promise #1: To Be Alone and Like It
When I lived alone in a tiny studio apartment in my mid-twenties, I would listen to my favorite music and sing along at the top of my lungs while I washed the dishes. (Confession: I really like folk music. And show tunes. Belated apologies to the residents of 73 Cranberry Street who shared my thin walls, but perhaps not my passion for Miss Saigon and Joni Mitchell.) I don't do this so often anymore, but occasionally I pump up those old songs, and it all comes back—that essential time in my life when I learned to be alone without feeling lonely.

There's a wonderful little book called Live Alone and Like It. It was first published in 1936, but still resonates today. The happiest women I know are the ones who take time to be alone every now and again, no matter how busy life gets. I know a teacher who is married with three sons. Every summer she rents a house on Martha's Vineyard and spends a week there alone, just reading books and soaking silently in the swimming pool. I want to be her when I grow up.