Can I be happy on my own? It’s the question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately since it seems I’ve unconsciously planted my flag on Singles’ Island (SI), a place apparently akin to the Ilha de Queimada Grande (Island of Snakes). There are no vipers where I live, I assure you, even if it feels onlookers occasionally think otherwise.
In addition to this sudden attention to my status, it appears my skin has decided to wave a white flag at gravity. And, as if that’s not insulting enough, my once-rich-hues are fading to that colour which signals surrender. Suffice it to say, I’m feeling like I’ve passed a “best before” date.
For the most part, however, no matter what the gawkers and judges assume, I’m like everybody else. Just because I can’t captivate a significant other with my stories doesn’t mean I’ve “gone-off”. Seriously, I have great days, okay days, and days best forgotten, like normal folks. I eat and sleep, work and play, like regular people do. That written, if I feel okay with my life, what’s the big deal? Why the question? Simple. A lifetime of singleness wasn’t part of the big picture, the grand plan, the long-term goal. In short, I didn’t expect it. I always thought I’d be somebody’s half. Since I’m not after all these years, I guess I thought the question was warranted.
In hindsight, if I was really intending to be paired up, a Plan B, C, or even D, would have been wise. Surely, putting more effort into the search for “him” would have been advisable. Thing is, running uphill isn’t a strength. Neither is prudence. By way of comparison, I’m more the Don Quixote type which is okay because my external brash foolishness is tempered by an inner desire to be more like the steadfast, Anne Elliot. She never wavered from the happily ever after scenario, certain of love’s omniscience. I want to stand with her and shout, “My Mr Wentworth awaits!” until I’m hoarse.
At this point, some of you might be scratching your heads wondering why I’ve remained so brilliantly uncoupled if I am such a firm believer in true love. Well, Jane Austen aside, I’m scratching right along with y’all. My arrival on SI isn’t because I doubted. It’s not from a lack of trying, or from a lack of time, either. I was divorced in 1989 for goodness sakes! Heaven knows I can manifest some pretty cool stuff in the blink of an eye, yeah? So why not Mr Right?
Well, if I’m being honest (and I always am here), there’s an explanation that covers a chunk of time in the middle. I fell in love. Deeply. Problem was, it wasn’t Mr W. This particular bloke was married. I know, eh? Fatal error. Nevertheless, I was drawn like a moth to a flame.
Despite the pitfalls, there are some perks to committing to the unavailable such as great gifts and no hissy fits over me painting my front door fuchsia. Thing is, there’s never a hissy thrown about stuff because, when all is said and done, he isn’t invested. He has his own front door. Regardless, I hung in and on for years, until eventually, I found the strength to cut those binding ties. It felt good to be done, finished, kaput. It felt even better when I started breathing on my own again.
Still, I look back with fondness on my dalliances. I’m happy with 99.9% of them, even the rude one-nighters, and dreary first dates. It’s nice to recall the past with positive vibes, give or take one or two encounters. But, that’s neither the point nor an answer to the looming question which remains: I’m on my own now and can I be happy about it?
Well, here’s another couple of questions that have sprung up. Could it be I’m too intolerant to be in a partnership, or is it that I prefer my own company?
The short answer is that both apply to me in varying degrees. And here’s the crux. It’s okay. In fact, it’s perfect.
Giving this question its due has assured me that being a solo flyer is brilliant. Of course, there are times when a comforting voice or touch would rescue a tough moment quicker, but basically, I’ve taught myself to be resourceful. There’s always someone to call, always someone who will lend a hand or an ear. And no, it’s not the same as being in a relationship. I know the difference. But I’m a proponent of managing on my own, of learning to enjoy my own company rather than fearing aloneness, and because of it, I’ve become a rare being who is comfortable with solitude. There is nothing I fear and nothing I can’t do. I’m a woman no longer striving to fulfil another’s dreams or needing to be taken care of. I can take care of myself, thank you very much.
This could sound like so much hype and a big dollop of bravado. It’s not. I was raised to be independent and inherited the intellect to pull it off. I also inherited a somewhat low emotional quotient. If I’d not been left alone, I would have remained spoiled and a perennial victim. Happily, on my own, I managed to grow up. For that, I’m eternally grateful.
As for Mr Frederick Wentworth, I have a message which I’ll phrase as my wish.
Despite being content on my own, and certain of my happiness in said state, I’d be very open to your persuasions to the contrary should you feel you are man enough to take on such a task. My wish, then? “Hurry up and find me, lazy git, neither of us is getting any younger!”