So say countless, countless people who are either married/engaged/happily ensconced in a relationship/on the hunt for a partner.
I totally agree with that statement.
But I disagree with the implication of that statement. The implied meaning is: "Being single is unnatural. Get yourself a Significant Other!"
In my humble opinion, that statement should mean exactly what it means: that we should not be alone but living together with other people. The "other people" not being restricted to Significant Others. The "other people" should mean family and friends. When I say "family", I mean family members who do give a damn about you and want/do the best for you. When I say "friends", I mean real honest-to-goodness friends who will stick by you, not acquaintances or drinking mates.
You see, I've arrived at a startling realisation yesterday: A full five-or-so months after having been dumped, I am pretty much a happy singleton because I'm working on my cookbook with a bunch of really wonderful people, I have some wonderful friends who were there for me all through my annus horribilis, The Noisy Neighbour fiasco and the various crises I've had to deal with, my mother has finally settled into realising that she can't order me around forever, and I am pretty much rediscovering my Chinese side with the help of my wonderful classmates and tutors at the Chinese departments.
And finally, I've decided that I don't really want children after all. I used to think that I wanted them--FOUR girls, no less--but lately I've been thinking that given how much my parents have screwed up with me, I don't think I have the right to screw up somebody else's life.
Yeah, yeah--I can hear some of you thinking: "Nah, she'll meet some guy some day and want to have his babies!"
Answer: Given that the only guy at the moment whose babies I might want to have is Orlando Bloom, I don't think so.
Besides, I am currently idly thinking that tying my tubes might be the way to go if I am still single/not married by age 35. Laugh all you want, dear Readers, but I have a strong feeling that if I do find my Other Half or if I do get married, it won't be until I've hit my mid-to-late 30s and that feeling is growing as time goes by and the line of Unsuitable Men that troop by gets longer and longer. Oh, no doubt I'll probably have a few more failed relationships and unsatisfying love affairs along the way. Another reason why children are not an option.
Last week, I ran into a college mate I haven't seen for ages and since she's almost 10 years older than me and single, we got talking about growing into an older singleton and what that does to one's expectations in a relationship.
Me: I find that as I grow older and remain single, I get more selfish. I don't want to share my space with anyone and I just can't suffer fools as much as I used to.
She: It's not being selfish. It's knowing what you want in a mate. If you meet the right one, you'll be able to happily share your life.
Me: Well, at this point, I know what I don't want in a guy.
She: My point exactly!
My grandmother did say that if I got anymore choosy, I would end up like my three unmarried aunts who are in their 40s and have decided to remain single.
But that's the point: I like quality goods, quality entertainment, and I am working on becoming a classy lady. Why shouldn't I be equally fussy about the quality of the men I date? For far too long I have settled for a guy. From now on, I won't. And the best way to ensure that is simply to learn how to be happy single and to be happy with myself.
Now that's a full-time project in itself.
And that's my two cents on the state of growing into an older singleton.
For more edification on this subject, see:
1. Jennifer Balderama's post on Who Needs Parents When You Have The Paint Guy.
2. The inimitable Ryan McGee on Men and the Dating World.
3. Barbara Ellen's pieces on Selfish Singletons and fighting your relationship weight in In the Red Corner....
Cross-posted at Mindscapes, Heartstrings and Soul-searching