I've wondered why most writers of our "single-minded" columns seem to bemoan the status of singles. Most follow some form of the theme "How can we change our lifestyles, find a mate or a date?" or "How can single people `cope' or `handle social events' or `adjust' or `enjoy life' while lacking a relationship with a member of the opposite sex?"

I am here this week to tell you, single and non-single readers alike, there is a very contented group of us unmarrieds out here who are just happy as clams with our solitary "situation."I have only one answer - which is also a question - for those who believe I should be worrying about the apparent void in my life and working to fill it:

Why?

In the first place, as a single person with children, I am very seldom "solitary." My children are teenagers, and I count them among my friends. They occasionally try my patience and continually stretch my budget, but they help make my life complete. With children as constant companions, who needs a man?

But what about the need for adult companionship, you ask? A good question for which I have an excellent answer. Other women (or men, I suppose, depending on your gender) as friends.

Sometimes, it seems, people get so caught up in looking for a date of the opposite sex, they never learn to appreciate good same-sex friends. Women especially, I believe, can find conversation and leisure activities with other women extremely rewarding. Friendships, of course, take time and cultivation, but they're definitely worth the effort.

Also, getting involved in your job (hopefully, it's more a career) can help make you a more fulfilled person. Too many singles, particularly women, look at their jobs as drudgery - just something to do until their man comes along - instead of an enrichment opportunity.

There are a host of reasons I have chosen to be single and facts of single life that make it more than just a temporary condition in the minds of many of us.

Consider these:

- I, alone, decide whether and how to earn, spend, invest my money.

- When pressing responsibilities are dispatched, I decide what to do with the remainder of my time - I can go out, stay home and read, take dance lessons, go skiing, enroll in a class or (last on my list) clean the house.

- When I am feeling particularly energetic, cheerful or optimistic, there is no one at home to ruin my day.

- When I'm feeling depressed, I can take whatever measures necessary to turn my mood around, without worrying what effect those measures may have on a companion.

- I have my own room. I can decorate it in whatever style I prefer, clutter it, close the door and be alone in it. And, there's no other person's dirty socks and underwear littering the floor.

- If I'm busy, I can serve the kids and myself French toast or Kraft macaroni and cheese dinner and not feel guilty.

- I can instruct and advise my children without fear of being told I'm wrong.

- If college application or soccer registration fees aren't taking immediate financial precedence, I can head for St. George or Jackson Hole for a weekend whenever I want - by myself or with a friend.

I realize many people are happiest when sharing their lives with a mate. But it is entirely possible to be satisfied and joyous without that "significant other." Both single and married conditions may turn out to be temporary at one time or another in life. But, precious years are lost if they're spent wishing for things to be different.

And, I ask you: Why?