. . .
Those three little dots denote my uncertainty about whether I should even write this blog, and how to begin it. It’s going to be hard to not be a bit personal about it, but at the same time, I feel there are many for whom this topic is of more than casual interest.
The reason I’m tackling this topic here and now – and I may yet bring it up again in a post later on – is that I sent a quick impetuous tweet to Diana a few days ago, and was delighted when she replied to it. I thought the matter would stop there, but the Scottish Sun newspaper are vigilant when it comes to entertainment news, and anything to do with Outlander, so they use social media as a source for some of their short articles. Here’s my actual tweet, and don’t miss the # at the end of it.
So – not that it’s NEWS as such – WE know that Diana likes men, and that she’s based Jamie mostly on her husband. I just figured she must know quite few good un’s, because she has a nice range of great characters in her books series. But apparently it’s news to the readers of the Scottish Sun.
Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking and I’ve meant to address the issue of singleness for a while in my blog, and this week would seem to be the catalyst. Here goes.
I’m going to speak from a woman’s viewpoint, but welcome any male viewpoints in the comments below. There are many reasons that someone might be single. 1) They simply never found anyone despite being interested and available. 2) They keep finding partners who turn out to be not-keepers, but they still try. Currently they are between relationships. 3) They are separated or divorced and coping with the loss or the freedom that has brought. 4) They are widows. 5) They have chosen to live alone and have actively not sought a partner for religious or other reasons.
I am from category 1.
Now each category has full potential for deep and complex feelings felt by someone in its status. I can only assure you that category 1 is a difficult one to bear, especially between the ages of 30 and 40. It is still a surprise to me that at 61 yrs old, I am single, never married, and have no children. I always believed I would slide easily into family life like so many around me, but here I am, just as I was at 25. For those of us here, there is no Mothers Day, or family birthday parties to organise, or husbands/partners bringing us little tokens of affection, and as for Valentine’s Day!!! It puts you in a place APART when people talk about their children and grandchildren. And yes, we’re the logical choice to look after an aged parent.
Okay, I’ve had some dates over the years, and have some great male friends. Somehow the men I’ve fallen for, have not felt the same way back, and occasionally one might have shown interest in me, but I did not return the same interest and put them off. I’ve been accused of having expectations that are too high, but really, I don’t think it’s too much to hope for someone with whom you just ‘click’, whose sense of humour matches yours, who shares similar faith, and with whom you can talk easily. There was nothing wrong with any of these, but there was no . . . you know. . . spark.
I am very happy to say that my friend in the last shot IS still a good friend, and last year married a wonderful woman who is a great match for him.
Which brings me to Diana’s books. I think I can confidently say that any women from any of the categories above (including married women) find the character of Jamie in Outlander to be a very appealing one. He is honest, passionate, and has the sort of integrity that we all aspire to, an inbuilt code of honour by which he lives. As Diana has said, she has based her character upon many of the attributes she finds in her own husband, and I must say, I’ve met a few happily married women who say exactly the same of their own. That truly is heartening.
Now I’m coming to the crux of my blog post: I really AM a happy single woman despite never having had a long romantic relationship with a man. It is totally possible to live a completely fulfilled joyous life on your own! Yes, of course, I would have loved to share it with someone, but has that ever held me back from embracing life with both hands and running? No. And the key for me is that I am not really alone. My closest friends are male and female, and I see them a lot. I make a point of seeking them out if I am looking for company. And over the years I have learned to really enjoy my own company and the unique gift it is to just do what I’m interested in, without consulting someone else. It makes you strong and capable of making quick and determined decisions. No-one questions how I spend my money, but there are plenty whose advice I could seek.
It is great to have a world of experiences at my fingertips, friends and family nearby, and fantastic books that I love reading, that give me a wee glimpse into relationships and experiences I have never had. It feels pretty well-rounded to me. It feels like life is there to be grabbed and enjoyed, and I am personally very glad that my past is not clogged with debris from broken or failed relationships. Having said that, I also have close friends who are now single, and have risen out of the ashes of some pretty hard situations in their pasts, and are stronger and more aware of what they want than they ever were.
I guess the thing that I come back to, is that none of us are going to get exactly what we want or expect out of our lifetime’s journey. Most of the time we have to cope with curve balls of some form or other. The releasing of those unfulfilled expectations and embracing the person I am, and what I could do with my current situation, skills, and dreams was the key. Find what you can get passionate about, and pursue it. If you happen to find someone to share that with on the way, embrace it. If you don’t, just keep enjoying what you have – BE a good friend, sister, workmate.
One of my favourite books is C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves. Only one of them is Eros – the others are beautifully described and just as worthy. I highly recommend it. There you are, people: I’ve laid my life open for your scrutiny. It is done in the profound hope that any who feel shortchanged in the romance stakes, find reading this is a tiny balm to their feelings. You may feel alone, but you certainly ARE NOT.