|Myself at Macchu Picchu: Satisfyingly Single|
middle aged people get to take off, with a couple of weeks notice, and go on an adventure?
The look of envy I've witnessed in the telling of my adventure tale of the last few months is curious. I think all of us retain a sense of the wonder we experienced as a child when many things were brand new to us. I think also that we are conditioned, as a species, to move towards stability in order to best provide for the continuation of our species. Nomadic societies are successful but you and I are not likely direct descendants of them. Our current world is ensuring the complete extinction of any remaining nomadic societies although the final frontier (space) may create an entirely new society of space nomads in the future.
I've spent a lifetime caught up in the mating trap. I have been heavily conditioned by both nature and nurture to believe that 'every old sock has an old shoe'. And, if I just went fishing often enough, then I too would land my catch. I could write a book on my dating adventures (first internet date was in 1996, yes, 1996). I met one person for a coffee back in the late 1990s and he told me he just wanted to have a viewing of what a woman looked like that would put an ad up in a singles column. After experiences like that you would think I would have given up but alas, the reproductive mating urge is strong so I soldiered on.
Not once in my quest did I ever stop to think that being single is a viable option. A viable permanent option. During periods of not actively searching I would be buoying myself up to launch yet another search for "Him".
A few years ago I came to the conclusion that perhaps I was just too wounded to be partnered and I accepted, if not embraced, that reality and ended the search. A truism came to life shortly after that decision, I fell in love. A marvelous love affair ensued and the ending revealed to me that yes, I may be wounded but no, I can overcome that if I wish to. And a new decision was arrived at: I am satisfactorily single. I am not single because I am wounded (all of us have baggage, mine is mostly stowed away). I am not single because I am damaged. I am single because I cherish my independence. I cherish my lack of commitment. I am single because I am an explorer at heart and to change my marital status would involve relinquishing something more precious to me than even my daughter: my independence.
I look at the frenzy surrounding The Official Day to celebrate coupledom and think bravo for you if you find fulfillment in a partnership. I have also found fulfillment there, at times. But the fulfillment I am experiencing as a single adventurer so greatly outweighs my former aspirations I wonder why as a society we are not offering up this choice to younger people right from the get go. "Happily Ever After" can and should involve a solo option.