A Typical Musing of a Single 30-Something

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It’s not very often that I actually sit down and watch television, but I had read about Channel 4’s one-off drama, “I Am Hannah” and felt compelled to tune in.  Starring the talented Gemma Chan as the protagonist, the drama told the story of Hannah, a lady in her mid to late 30’s who was single, without children and – in contrast to the questions being thrown at her from her mother and various Tinder dates – not really set on an interest in changing either of those circumstances.  The only thing she was sure of, was that she wasn’t sure, but it was clear as the programme went on that the constant enquiries were wearing her out.  We saw her have a meltdown a couple of times.

The script resonated with me in a way that I haven’t experienced from television very often, and left me feeling an overall sense of relief.  I Am Hannah may have been a piece of fiction, but it was a real piece of fiction, no doubt influenced by the current state of society and the fact that more and more people are choosing to be single, and fewer people are choosing to have children, whether in a relationship or not.  Yet, considering the increasing volume of people making these choices and living this way, there seems to be very little acknowledgement or celebration of it as an option.

When typical conversations among groups of 30 year olds are about engagements, weddings, babies… it’s easy to forget that living any other way is actually pretty common, and an increasing number of people are doing it.  It’s easy to forget that happiness and purpose can be found down many avenues beyond the traditional ones, but it shouldn’t be, and it wouldn’t be, if only we spoke out about it more.  And if as a society we stopped with the echoes of defeatist mantras like, “you’ll find somebody!” when people say that they are single.  These only perpetuate the message that happiness depends on being with somebody else and that what you have right now will never be satisfying enough… and that’s a very dangerous realm of thought for anybody to get into.

I am 33 years old, in two months’ time I will be turning 34.  Tickedytickedytock.  For basically – well forever, since I am older now than I’ve ever been – I have sailed happily on a wave of open-mindedness when it comes to marriage and children.  It’s still very much my belief that life is a matter of fate, and is there to be enjoyed no matter what happens and which way you end up living it.  There is a massive part of me that feels more inspired by the thought of a non-conventional lifestyle – whatever that might entail – than one dictated by a set of milestones, and the race to reach each one “in time”.  Those milestones don’t stop (“So when’s the next one due?”) and quite frankly, I’ve not been to the gym enough recently to believe I have the stamina to cope with engaging with the race. That’s not to say I’m not interested in having a partner or children, there are many things about that particular avenue that are attractive to me too, but it just means I haven’t got my heart set on it.

But, whilst that may have been a useful and healthy way of thinking for 33 years… tickedytickedytock makes you put it underneath the microscope a bit, particularly when you see so many others out there formulating mathematical equations as to when they should meet someone, when they should marry, and when they should start trying for a baby.  Then you wonder if you should be doing that yourself.  Then you remember you’re not sure you want those things anyway.  Then you get up, go and make a coffee and get back to the billion and one other responsibilities you have as an adult – work, paying Road Tax, hoovering.  Then before you know it you’ve turned another year older.  TICKEDYTICKEDYTOCK!

“But what if I get to 40 then think I’ve made a mistake” says Hannah, to a friend who looks incredibly awkward about the question.  And therein lies the nutfuck.  The prospect of trying to prepare today for how you might feel in a tomorrow in which you might be a completely different person, that’s assuming you’re lucky enough to still be alive.  Yes, who’s to say you won’t change your mind and become desperate for a child?  Equally, who’s to say you won’t remain feeling indifferent to parenthood, or – even worse – end up regretting having a child?  But, the response to this dilemma isn’t like stockpiling bottles of water because you’ve heard a draught may be ahead.  You can’t apply that sort of premeditated logic to this. This involves human life, and I can think of nothing more inappropriate than going through the motions of having a baby I feel indifferent about now just in case I later decide that I want one.  I’d like to have a Wagon Wheel right now though, that’s something that I am certain of.

And actually; maybe that’s the only path which is a necessity to take in life.  Concerning yourself only with the here and now and letting nature dictate the rest.  Being fulfilled by what you have right now whether that’s a husband and kids or an evening with friends and a delicious lemon meringue in the fridge.  Making decisions on the basis of how you feel right now because that’s the only emotion you’re sure of.  Putting together the model kit that represents your life without any set of instruction or illustration of the final image, only working out on a piece by piece basis of how it’s meant to connect.

We’ll all have a completely different structure in the end.

And how cool is that?

Song of the Day: The Derevolutions – Spinning Twister Sound

This pretty unique band is so vastly under-rated yet they write upbeat Summer tunes like this.  What is going on in the world.

 

 

Roses are dead, but I prefer the chocolate version anyway

Valentines Day is coming up and we all know what that means – the lonely-hearted feeling like lepers whilst the lovers compare what wonderful gifts and surprises they’ve received from their other halves and maybe even upload the photographic evidence on to Facebook.

Splendid…

As somebody who is currently so much a single that I could probably be eligible for chart-release, I’m very much aware that to write anything anti-Valentines would likely be perceived as an unconvincing and possibly jealousy-fueled attempt to try and justify to myself why I’m currently so far from joining the growing party of peers whom have recently acquired a diamond ring on their finger.  But, I’m not here to bash relationships or romance or deny that I want those things.  I admit I would love to have that, if the right person came along… only if the right person came along.

But he hasn’t yet, so right now I can’t enjoy all the wonderful things that relationships can bring.

So what to do?  Sit and cry into a cup of commiseration coffee?  Stare at myself into the mirror until I find a million reasons to understand why I’m single?  Walk around feeling inadequate to everybody else because they managed to find somebody and I didn’t?

Of course not, because let me tell you something boys and girls – being single isn’t such a bad thing.

I know what some of you may be thinking when you read this, “Aww, poor wee lamb is only saying that because she’s single” and I guess to some extent you’re right – if I wasn’t single, I wouldn’t be writing a whole piece on why it’s not a bad thing.  Though, the truth is – there have been times in the past when I have done all the above things: detested my appearance, picked apart my personality to see what was wrong with it, and yes at times I have even felt inadequate around couples.  We live in a society which loves it’s love stories, afterall.  A lot of people who are single probably feel or have felt the same way at some point.

***“What’s wrong with me?“*** those of us without long-term partners ask ourselves as we notice the middle-aged couple several rows in front of us on the bus, squeezing each others cheeks and giggling like geese as the bus meanders through the streets of London.

But for quite a while now, I’ve begun to look at matters from an entirely different perspective.  I realise now, that the one and only reason I’m still single is simply because I haven’t met the right person yet.  I like to believe he’s there somewhere, waiting in the wings, probably necking a few shots of whisky in preparation to put up with a whole lifetime with me and the baggage I come with (my schweet’earts and my special dietary requirements of four thai curries a week).  Alternatively, maybe he’s not there at all.  Maybe he doesn’t exist.  Maybe the curry thing was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the poor guy was last seen in the back of a taxi destined for “as far away as fucking possible!”  It’s a grim vision, but not one that I can necessarily change.  Sure we can change our appearance, try and meet new people, take tips on how to flirt but even after all of that – you either have that chance encounter with the right person, or you don’t.

Obviously, I hope I won’t be single for the rest of my life, but neither do I want to slip into the dangerous territory of needing a relationship.  They may be important, but not having one doesn’t make you any less of a person and that’s something which I think the world seems to forget occasionally.  From some peoples’ perspectives, singles stick out like sore thumbs and the older they are, the larger the swelling.  The world is full of interfering busybody types who love to play matchmaker and try and create the missing link between two ‘compatible’ single people (who have only their relationship statuses and maybe a love of red wine in common, too) and that’s what contributes to that feeling of inadequacy that not being in a relationship can bring.  Well quite frankly – fuck people like that, they probably live alongside Tinky Winky and Dipsy in an area of La La Land where everybody is happy all the time and the rate of divorce isn’t 50% like it is here in the actual society in which we live.  Real life is much more complex than 120 minutes of Hollywood magic, even if we wish it wasn’t.

We are who we are and things happen how they happen, we don’t write a script in advance – so instead of feeling the stigma of being single maybe myself and others like me should just sit back and enjoy the positives.  Are there any?  Yes.  Plenty.

Ready?

Being single allows you to….

keep your options open with what you want to do in life • have the entire bed to yourself  • not have to worry about the threat of messy break-ups or the mini heart-attack that occurs when they don’t put an ‘x’ at the end of a text • not have to tell anybody what you’re doing and where you’re going • be able to change town or country as you please  • save money on the 14th February • use the money on buying yourself a new pot of foundation instead • not have to sit through really boring films about robots using complex computer systems that you don’t understand kiss Jake Gyllenhaal without having an affair • eat the whole ‘his’n’hers’ chocolate gift set not be told off when you want to do something that doesn’t align with his schedule eat KFC in bed with only yourself to disgust • wink at the waitor  •  “What are you doing? Why didn’t you reply to my text? Where are you going? Who are you going with, are any of them male? Why can’t I come with you? “  • etc etc.

In my mind, being single is like childhood.  As soon as you reach adulthood and begin that battle with your bank account, or as soon as you meet that partner that so often sends you sideways with each minor misunderstanding, you realise how simple things used to be and kick yourself for not making the most of it all.  Does that mean we shouldn’t bother with relationships at all, then?  Of course not!  You always need to try before you buy and not every shoe will fit.  The point is merely that sometimes, instead of waiting around in the shoe shop for that special sandal to come into stock and looking at your watch every five seconds to curse how late it’s getting, you could be next door buying yourself an atlas, some plane tickets and maybe a box of chocolates for good measure.  Once you’re finished with those, maybe that sandal will be on the shelf.  If not, go into another shop and buy something else, and repeat this process again and again until it is, so that by the time you’re wearing those sexy sandals that you wanted for so long, you’ll be able to say, ‘I made the most of being single’.

See the positive in everything and if you can’t, create it!

And on a slightly different note, I’ve added another new section to the site for my travels.  I’ve only done a few U.S cities so far but there’s plenty more places to come, so if you feel like going on somewhat of a trip abroad today, check out the section!

Song of the Day:  Pet Lions – Trinidad

Pet Lions are a great little power-pop band from Chicago, IL and this is the best offering from the 2011 debut LP, ‘Houses’.  Energetically laced with melody and keyboards I fail to see how even the snobbiest of musical snobs could not like this song.