A few weeks ago I had lunch with two friends, one is the same age as me and the other is a couple of years younger. The friend that is the same age as me has been single for some time now. She recently started downloading all sorts of dating applications on her mobile to try because she thinks time is running out. Swiping her screen left and right over our teacakes, she energetically shared with us the multitude of guys she was intending to meet up.
The strange thing is that she doesn’t especially want a partner, she just thinks she should be attached and that she’s ‘of an age’ where she’ll miss out if she doesn’t get married.
I’ve never been one to adhere to following the timeline of when to settle down, get married or having children. In a way, I’ve always sung to my own tune and I’m blessed that I’ve always gotten my way.
I am a well educated young(ish) woman with a good job, making a decent amount of money, balancing work and travel, living in a nice house, of reasonable health, who doesn’t consume curious substances or have any other absurd habits (other than occasionally buying too much bags and shoes).
Conversely, my single friend is the only one among her five siblings that is not married with children. Her parents are constantly hounding her about meeting someone and how she should do it and trying to revamp her image or outrightly auctioning her off to any single male within a 5km radius. Just hearing about her parents antics could send me mental.
It made me think about some of those broader life concepts and re-examine how I feel about them. I have never, not once in my whole life felt like I was less of a person when I didn’t have a boyfriend/partner/husband. But to be honest, I’ve been mostly attached all my life so maybe I’ll have to concede that I may not understand the panic attack girls get when they have been single for an extended period of time.
A partner to me is an equal that makes me strive for better. I am not incomplete without him. I am comfortable in my own company, happy to do as I please, travelling, eating and reading alone. I like being with other people too – friends, family and colleagues – but left to my own devices I will not falter.
Having a partner enhances my life. He gives me a sweetness to come back to at the end of a long day, a sounding board to my deep thoughts and a warm embrace to snuggle into. He is a complementary accessory that makes my life happier and not just a warm body to have because I cannot stand to be alone.
I have watched so many people settle for less than they deserve or something that is only ‘enough’ because they’re frightened of being by themselves. This has not been me and I am just not satisfied with having a partner that barely meets the basic requirements. I do have high expectations of my partner and would much rather be single than stuck with Mr. Wrong.
I don’t really want children. Now. I keep wondering when it might hit me, this desperate longing for a baby that has befallen so many of my friends. While I am exceptionally pleased for them, I have to admit that every time I hear another friend is pregnant all I can think of is “ah well I’ve lost someone else to go to dinner/movies/shopping/breakfast with.” (Thankfully, one of best friends, Sushi, still makes time for me to do all sorts of girly stuff in the wee hours of the night.) I am only a semi-interested onlooker in the world of children, not the doting friend awash with desperation.
However I am worried. I am worried that my contentment and complacency now will result in unhappiness a few years down the track. So I don’t want kids now, what happens in five years when I change my mind and I’m too old? Or when my partner starts demanding a different lifestyle? Just because I’m happy with the status quo in 2014 what happens when I’m older and feeling like the grasshopper who sang all summer and didn’t find an ant to live in a beautiful ants nest with and make little ants? Have I wasted all my time planning amazing trips overseas and buying $5000 handbags and lying at home with piles of fashion magazines all weekend?
Is it wrong to be happy and carefree now because I might hate it later?