Valentines Day, and here I sit. In a hip cafe. In my pyjama bottoms. Alone.
One thing I can reason away. The other….I can’t.
Let me explain. I don’t think anyone notices that I am wearing jammy bottoms. I have rather cleverly thrown them off the scent by a) wearing a cute waistcoat so I look like I’m ‘trying’ to be understated and b) I imagine they are probably locked in their own little worlds and unaware of me. Sitting here. In pyjamas.
There are seven, eight including me in the coffee-house. All of us are alone. All but one of us are sitting, faces lit by our laptops. Some sort of acoustic music is playing in the background. It has an edge.
Today I want to write to tell you of my simultaneous triumph…and failure. To date I’ve been single for 315 569 260 seconds, give or take. It is quite some time. Some years I’ve cried to mark the day. Others, I have forced myself to be cheery at my manless state. This year. I actually, truly, feel ok about being SINGLE.
I wonder if I am alone in this. This state of being happy to be single. I should think most definitely NOT. Single is the new married (maybe). I have written about being single before, of course I have, it is my current lifestyle..I am bound to think about it at some point. But this is a bit of a shift in my tumbling thoughts around the subject. I was out walking today. Earphones shoved into my ears, as I listened to National Public Radio. Some author, whose name I didn’t catch, was talking about marriage. Its history, its challenges, rewards, and its future. Years ago, marriage was not just about ‘happily ever after’, it was a coupling to forge a family unit, raise children. It was economics. Companionabilty. She said something that made me think. We are now living in an age where, in the Western world at least (generally…ooh, put out the ‘generalisation warning’) for whatever reason – watching too many romantic comedies or perhaps born of the aftershock of a post ‘therapy era’, We now perhaps believe that marriage is to generate happiness. Anything else is being thrown in the trash and sealed tape marked ‘toxic failure’. Is this belief working for the institution of marriage and partnerships?
The radio programme today flipped a notion I had. I have been in two long-term relationships. They failed. I blamed myself…for not thinking enough of myself to (stupidly) embark on them in the first place (this is ok…in hindsight..when we are young, we are just learning. How can we know what we’ve not yet learned!). My goal was happiness. And there in may lie the problem.
I now don’t get into relationships, because I’ve built a rather sturdy wall around myself. The end goal has effected other areas of my life too. The end goal of being ‘successful’. The end goal of starting any venture (apart from writing…I’m hooked and it ain’t leaving). All because the onus is on the SUCCESS of the endeavour, and it is sometimes seen to have to be continuous and life-long to be valid.
Perhaps, we (I) should be looking at all of my life as an experience that I willingly enter into. The experience of business. The experience of relationships. The experience of long-term partnership or marriage. Friendships too. I cannot know what I do not know. A notion of a reward I guess is needed. But if we could see that life is to feel, assess, balance, refine, and work at on a daily basis. And whatever we choose (to participate in – learning about life/love/business/health or to shy away from taking the trouble with them..or chance the risk of change or uncertainty) will take the same amount of effort and stress. Perhaps we (I) could enter into the taking of risks a little more lightly and with curiosity.
I recall the saying ‘the school of life’. I think I’d fair even better to remember that.
This year, for the very first time I took the long view on Valentines Day and just enjoyed the feeling of people, in concentrated mass around the world, partnered or single…thinking about love.
Happy EVERYDAY to you all x