Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thoughts on singlehood

Nobody wants to go it on their own And everyone wants to know they´re not alone. Somebody else that feels the same somewhere?
There `s gotta be somebody for me out there.

Nobody wants to be the last one there
And everyone wants to feel like someone cares. Somebody else that feels the same somewhere? There's gotta be somebody for me out there.

One could rightfully fault me for using Nickleback lyrics as the kick off to this post, but as redundant as their melodies maybe, I do find their lyrics to often be quite succinct and poignant. I am sure that reflects poorly on my level of sophistication but so be it. So this Christmas marks 5 years of essentially being single. I mean there have been dates and even some follow on dates and a couple of possibly more than just dates, but for the most part I have not had a romantic reference point for 5 years. In that 5 years, many of my peers have married and had multiple children. So I have spent some amount of time wondering about the difference inherent in living your life single and living your life with a partner and especially with children.

Some things are surprising to me. I expected to feel envy, absence or some level of something missing as I see my peers raise their families. So far that has not been the case. Part of that I know is my deep ambivalence about being a mother that existed even when I had the boy and the ring and the path to the house in some hip urban neighborhood in the plan. I get to know personally that I saw that path and it did not ignite rainbows and unicorns in my heart of hearts. It mostly ignited resignation to predictable obligation that I felt already far too familiar with. But part of it, is also the reality that even with partners and children, me and my friends aren't all that different. Our day to day struggles aren't very comparable. I can't for the life of me imagine how one keeps functioning when all the children have the flu and unpleasant fluids are pouring unceremoniously out of multiple orifices, but I am sure that my life of basically being a nomad and dealing with stuff sometimes I don't even understand seems very odd to them. Yet, still we are friends on a level that I dare say challenges most of my romantic interactions for support, honesty, complexity and fun.

But with all that, there is the inherent difference that being single means going through life without the context offered by those domestic relationships. It means that even if I were to meet a great companion and go forward in companionship, that these years are only mine. That is both a good and bad thing and I don't know if I will think well of how I have spent them. I hope that the lack of external markers of progress won't mean that I forget the internal and external battles fought and either won or lost. I hope I will value the time without a reference point, but it is the thing about singlehood. Only you know if you are making any progress.

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