Thanks to my brilliant friend Rose Red who wrote this for Her Glass Slipper. She really is a dynamite woman and at 37, gives me encouragement that it’s just a different journey.
Ok, so cards on the table time – As a 37 year old…well, I was about to write ‘singleton’ but I have to confess I absolutely loathe that word and the many others that so often come along side it like ‘spinster’, bachelorette’, ‘unmarried’ and the list goes on. Even the term ‘unmarried’ suggests that the correct state to be in is in fact…yes you guessed it…married. I’ve had several embarrassing encounters recently with some people I’d not seen or spoken to in several years. There was more than one red face after the major faux pas of them expressing the assumption that surely I must be married by now? I’m glad to say the red face in these moments was never mine – I’m pretty ok (most of the time) with the fact that I’ve not found my own ‘permanent housemate’. But people’s assumptions at my age, of the stage of life they think you should be at can be at best an awkward conversation and at worst, something that makes you cry and wonder where it all went so wrong?
But I digress. Right, so I’m 37, I like to think I’m socially capable, professionally successful and have a broad circle of fantastic friends including many incredible men I love and admire. But this post isn’t about me and being single and how I can go about finding ‘Mr. You’re not an axe murderer so you’ll do’.
Recently 5 of my aforementioned ‘fantastic friends’ have gotten engaged. And this has got me thinking a bit about my own journey through the often-messy haze of of love and desire and what I now think about the whole affair.
I had started the thinking process by focusing on the negative stuff. The ‘why didn’t I? or the ‘where did I go wrong?’ or ‘why am psychotic flypaper when it comes to men?’ kinds of questions. But while it can be easy to look back at all the relationships in our lives that didn’t work we massively short-change ourselves if we don’t also examine the other side of the coin.
When I think about the various guys who have been an important part of my life for a time, I start to remember the great stuff they also brought to the table and things they taught me about myself and life and love.
For example: when I was 16 I summoned up the courage to ask out the best looking guy I’d ever seen – ‘Henri’*. We went to school together and were friends. He said no. No regrets though. I knew from that moment that I would survive the cringe factor of a turn down and it hasn’t put me off asking guys out since.
Then there was the university guys –the first being ‘Jono’*, who taught me that no man looks good in bicycle shorts and that there is definitely truth to the saying ‘fools rush in’.
And ‘Marcus’* who asked me out every time he saw me for almost a year, made me laugh, cemented my love of musician guys and proved that dedicated persistence can pay off (but that there is a fine line between persistence and stalking!)
I met ‘Dane’ online…that was quite the learning curve. But he taught me how to play the drums, as well as the fact that a guy who has a list 4 pages long of the things he must have in a partner are best avoided.
One of the great loves of my life was ‘Simon’*, who I stubbornly loved no matter what…and there was an awful lot of ‘what’ to contend with. But I learned the hard way there that real love should give as much as it takes and sometimes you need to walk away even if it rips your heart out in order to retain your own sanity.
I’ve learned a lot, mostly through the relationships that carved deep rivulets of pain into my heart. But given that ‘we are all the sum of our experiences’, while I may think back and wonder ‘what the heck was I thinking?’, I no longer regret any of them. I’ve learned to like who I am, what I’ve become – it hasn’t been an easy process and it’s nowhere near finished but then again, whoever said that the path of true love never runs smooth, definitely knew what they were talking about!
*All names changed.