Friday, 10 June 2011

It's not about not hoping, it's about hoping that something else might be alright too.

My last post probably sounded a bit pessimistic.

It's not though, not really.

Of course it's important to hope for all that stuff; the big love story. I'm not for one minute saying that hope isn't part of the deal. I mean, bloody hell, none of us would get out of bed in the morning, let alone brave the London transport system pre-9am if we didn't hope that life would turn out better as a result.

But it's quite refreshing to admit that these big landmark events - the ones society grooms us from an early age to expect (Disney princesses and their princes, anyone?) - might not happen, might not work out, and if statistics are to be believed - probably won't for some of us.

Instead of hoping to find the amazing love of your life by the age of 20-something; to have engagement, marriage and kids mapped out and all going according to plan before your boobs drop...wouldn't it be nice to hope that if these things don't happen, or at least not in the order or by the ages we'd like them to, that we'll still be ok? That the world won't think we're odd, strange, or a crazy cat woman for just being alright on your own?

Hoping for love is all well and good. Search for it, if you like, although personally that's never worked for me.

But surely hoping that you'll be fine anyway - without the dashing handsome man or supposedly perfect woman cheering you on - should be just as acceptable.

It's about admitting that we might not all find the perfect person. And if it was up to me, in a perfect world, that might be something I'd be ok with.

If my last post laments anything, it's that we're not really allowed to have this open minded "whatever happens, happens" view on things. Because you get society patting you on the head and saying "Oh, poor you. There, there, you'll find someone, plenty of time yet" in it's most condescending voice instead.

And sometimes, it would be really nice if that wasn't the case.


Ellen Marshall said...

Funny, because that's exactly what I was going to say in response to your last post!

Of course it's great to be in a good relationship - but it's not the end of the world if you're single (and much better to be single than in a bad relationship). Sometimes things don't work out, and you may never meet 'The One', but it's ridiculous to think that this is all that life's about.

It's impossible to say "I'm happy being single" without sounding at least slightly defensive and unconvincing - but that's mainly thanks to people like the friend I saw the other week who, having just got engaged herself, put her hand on mine and asked, "When are YOU going to find 'The One'?"

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Haha! Oh Ellen. Yesterday at least three separate people asked me if I've found someone else yet, been on any dates...yadda yadda.

I think some people find it impossible to talk to a single twenty-something without asking them about the absense of a man in their life, and what they're doing to rectify it. It's a shame, because as you say, most of us are happy either way.

Hails said...

This is sort of what I wanted to comment on your previous post, but I held my tongue because I realise that the majority of people don't see it like me!

I don't even date. Never have. I've been in two serious relationships, with a gap of about 4 years between them - and have been single since the second break-up, nearly 2 years ago. I have no intention of getting into another relationship. Of course, I was exactly this way after the first one ended, but then the second one just sort of happened, out of a friendship. I won't turn love away if it comes knocking again, but I have never gone searching for it, aiming for it, or working towards it. Because of the way society is, people see my attitude as negative - fear of rejection, inability to trust, fear of intimacy - rather than even considering the possibility that I'm single through choice. I'm happy with my life as it is, and see no reason to go in search of someone to complicate it!

The only difficult part is the unwarranted pity I get from others, as Ellen mentioned. It's as if, because I'm single and almost 30, I must be beating myself up over why I haven't "found anyone" yet. No one considers that I might not actually want to "find" someone. I no longer let people get away with asking me those questions ("No man yet? How's the love life?") or give me the pep talks ("Don't worry, there's someone out there for you"). I find it offensive and arrogant that people assume my life is somehow less meaningful just because I choose to live it differently from them.

So, nowadays, when people ask why I haven't gotten married yet, or if I've "found someone", I look at them as if I don't understand, and ask them an equally ridiculous question. ""Why haven't you sold all your possessions like I did, and gone travelling all over the world? Oh, it's OK, don't worry - I'm sure it will happen for you one day. You're such a lovely person, you deserve happiness like I've found."

Usually, they get the point.

Helen said...

My comment on your last post probably sounded both defensive and pessimistic. But I'm really not. Yes, sometimes there are mornings when I wake up and think 'oh it would nice to have someone to make me a cup of tea'. But those are actually few and far between.

I have a very lovely life. Some very lovely friends. And I do lots of very lovely things. My life isn't any less fun because of the lack of a man. It's just different.

It's all about me. Which is pretty damn ace x

Liverdrawer said...

Judgement of others is not restricted to being single.

After my degree I spent four happy year as a medical secretary, while family, friends and virtual strangers constantly asked me when I was going to get "a proper job".

Now I'm married the inevitable question is "When are you having a baby then?" - I'm getting so fed up with it, I'm going to use the word "barren" to the next nosy parker.

Too many people think their own way of life is the only legitimate choice. These people are arseholes.

Fen said...

I'm in my mid 30's and perfectly content being single. I've had my fair share of relationships but I don't NEED someone in my life to feel fulfilled or happy. I can function wonderfully on my own, in fact I prefer to do things on my own. I don't have kids either and guess what, I'm entirely happy with how that's turned out too. I know most of society thinks I'm a freak but I simply don't care. It's my life and I will do with it what I see fit. I don't like being told what to do.

Ellie said...

The perfect someone is a con. You can get close, but the idea that there is the one is annoying. Once you do 'find the one' and tie the knot then the next societal pressure is kids: when are you going to have kids. Not going to? You have 3 heads.

London-Lass said...

I'm in a similar boat to you as although I am with someone we are not married, not living together and we dont want kids (which, after 4-and-a-half years together, goes against all the laws, apparently, although I must have missed out when this law book was published). I used to wonder why the `Sis-In-Law' hated me and the `Bro-In-Law' used to struggle and look so awkward in my company - now I understand it's cos I dont life my life the way that, apparently, I should be.

Not sure how best to advise on this sticky topic, other than to say that perhaps we should all stop being so darn polite the next time we get asked by either a concerned friend or a random stranger something that really is rather personal and nothing what-so-friggin-whatever to do with them. And I aim to do this soon. Hopefully. When I'm feeling brave. Or sozzled up to the gills.

Lpeg said...

I find that after particularly rough relationships, I am extremely okay with whatever happens, happens. And I can be happy with visions of a life sans man. There are days that I get lonely and wish I had a partner, but I would rather be alone than be miserable in a relationship. But yes... I hate family parties when everyone looks at you with pity when you respond that you don't have a significant other, or that your current relationship isn't working out.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Hails - That final paragraph actually made me giggle. Great response. Seriously. And so true.

Helen - It's more than ace, it's exactly how it should be. Anything else is a bonus.

Liverdrawer - Oh god, when I came back from travelling all I got asked what "what are you going to do next". As if I have the answer to that question. As if anyone does.

Fen - It's refreshing to hear that. I'm not even going to patronise you with a "oh! well done you!". Just refreshing.

Ellie - Exactly. Life is just one big long string of landmark events that everyone expects you to follow to the letter.

Londonlass - I think Hails has got the right idea, just be so blatent about your life choice and pity them for theirs. "Oh, you can never go on holiday without a screaming child? Eek, that's too bad..."

Lpeg - It's the constant questions about whether I've found another man yet that irritate me. No, and I'm alright with that.


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