By Krissy Dolor

If you’re single, February might be the month you dread your family’s seemingly harmless (but nevertheless annoying) questioning of your lifestyle, asking if you have a special someone to spend “that holiday” with.  Or, it may be the month you take out your reserved pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and watch sappy movies, wishing you had someone to cuddle with.  Either way, the “love” month shouldn’t be for couples only – singles need some love, too!  And who better than yourself to give you the love you need?  That’s the idea Celeste Friedman hoped to inspire with her book, Single 101: 101 Reasons to Celebrate Being Single, which explains why you should embrace your singleness, instead of looking at it like a a burden.  The Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter claims that she has achieved more success flying solo than when she was married or dating.  A fun, easy read, along with personal anecdotes anyone can relate to, Single 101 shows you that you can do it alone (and enjoy it – really!) if you want to.  In addition, Friedman has created a Single 101 music CD, including original songs that were inspired by her book.  She even has a one-woman show that celebrates the single life live on stage.

I had a chance to speak with Friedman via email about her book, as well as her partnership with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, which launches on Valentine’s Day.  Take a look at what she had to say:

The one thing I really loved about Single 101 is that the list is backwards.  Why did you decide to present your list that way?

I wanted to create a countdown format.  However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that reason 101 is less important than number one.  They all have their own significance.  Even though Reason Number One holds great importance to me personally, Reason #24 is the one that I really hope everyone keeps in their heart – You Never Have to Be Afraid to Go It Alone!

Throughout the book, you sprinkle in not only advice, but personal anecdotes of people in relationships.  Where did you find these people, and why did you include their stories?

Over the past seven years of writing the book, the stories have sprung from conversations I’ve had with friends or people I’ve met.  Whenever I would just mention choosing to live single, men and women both would want to share their own stories, struggles and achievements.  I never really had to search for them, their stories were finding me at times and in places where I would have never expected.

Being single isn’t just about not being in a relationship – you also mention siblings and roommates.  What was important about embracing the idea of being single in other aspects of life?

The greatest desire in being happy as a single person is all about independence and so many people seek opportunities to break out completely on their own, especially those who have been forced to share their habitat and belongings with siblings or roommates.

Many books like this are targeted towards women, but you did a great job of including the other sex as well.  How important was this?

Very important.  I didn’t want the book to be considered another chick lit work.  Both men and women have distinct views of the world as they know it and it brings so much more to light about what we believe will make us happy.

I received this review from a man who bought the book just before Christmas:

“Never having been married and never having lived with a woman, left me looking at single life from a slightly different perspective as those who have.  Single 101 gave me great insight and some hardy laughs at the lighter and funny aspects of living life “together”.  Things I had never thought about or imagined.  If I never meet the woman of my dreams, I certainly have enjoyed the perks of the single life very much, and Single 101 helps me count the ways.”

What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve learned from your past relationships?

To understand that you cannot change someone else or believe it will all get better when they change.  No matter how hard you try or work on your side of the relationship, it is still a matter of compromise and unconditional love.

Can you talk a little bit about your partnership with the American Heart Association?

It’s very exciting to be a part of the team and supporting the Go Red for Women campaign. As you’ll read in my latest blog on Single-101.blogspot.com, I sincerely believe we find true freedom and happiness when we protect out hearts in love and with a healthy lifestyle.

On Valentine’s Day, I launch my own campaign, donating a percentage of the sales of my book, Single 101: 101 Reason to Celebrate Being Single to my own local chapter.  As I travel, I’ll do the same for local chapters in cities where I’ll be appearing for book signings.  The first will be in Hilton Head Island [in South Carolina], followed by Savannah, Georgia, where I’ll be exhibiting at the Savannah Book Festival on February 19th.

You can get more in-depth information at www.GoRedforWomen.org. Don’t forget to wear red on February 4th!

What other projects do you have coming out that we should be on the look out for?

In between book signings, I’m back in the studio and working on another music CD to be released later in the fall.  Over the past two years, I’ve been writing a book for adolescent girls and hope to find the right publisher this year.  It’s an inside look at diary entries of tweens and teens, their struggles, hopes and dreams, called Locked Inside.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just a final thought – Valentine’s Day never has to be sad when you’re single, whether you choose the single lifestyle or you’re in between relationships.  It can be a great day when we reach out to others who need our time, love and attention.

Cupid thanks Celeste Friedman for her time!  You can purchase Single 101: 101 Reasons to Celebrate Being Single on Amazon.  Visit Single 101’s official website, where you’ll find reviews, Friedman’s touring schedule and a calendar of her upcoming radio and TV appearances.  You can learn more about her music and work as a singer-songwriter/composer at Songs For Charlie Music (her music is dedicated to Charlie, who was her dog and road companion for 19 years).  Check back next month for a special Valentine’s Day post from Friedman herself!  Now go out there and celebrate your singleness!