I am a recent single. After a very long relationship, I suddenly find myself in an unknown territory - one which scary at times, amusing at others. Last time I was single, I was in my twenties and life was a different ball game then. In my twenties, I clearly did not know what I wanted. Anything that sounded remotely smart and looked presentable would do. Romance had a different notion. But at my age, its a tad different. I can spot the invisible red flag from far. Well, experience does make one rich sometimes in life.
Being single again is fun. I can wake up when I want. Go out when I want. Come home when I want. I don't have to live up to anyone's expectations. My weekends are mine as are my evenings. The bathroom seat is never up. The music in my house is always to my taste.
There are plenty of good things about being single after a long relationship. One of which is the experience that one has gained being with another individual. I choose my word carefully when I say 'individual' - you realise that the boyfriend is a being unto his own. He has his own likes, dislikes , quarks , mood swings, nasty habits etc and whatever happens these things won't change. You can't get into a relationship hoping he will change. No he won't. You can never get another person to change. Being in a relationship teaches you to respect another individual. Respect their privacy. Respect their whims and accept people as they are.
At forty, you just accept your body the way it is. I no longer feels the need to slim down just to find a man who will hopefully accept me even when I grow fat. If a man does come along, he gets what he sees - fat, bags under eyes, grey hair, creaking joints et al. Trust me its a relief. You only need to work out to stay healthy. Not to stay appealing to the man in your life. If you don't shed a pound, you don't get a panic attack. At my age, most decent people know that human beings come in all sizes and there are no penalty for not being size zero.
Ok, lets get real. There are also challenges aplenty. The dating scene at forty is a bit of a black hole. Men close to my age are like parking lots - good ones are taken and the ones available are reserved for mentally challenged / visually impaired. (I don't mean it disparagingly. But since I am neither, these men are clearly not for me.) There are no available singles - close to my age- happy- funny- chilled- non creepy- guys without baggage - kind of people around any longer. There are mostly 'happily' married men looking to dip their nip in any ink and that's a NO NO in my books. Of course there are now multiple dating apps. I must confess I tried a couple of these apps and they just seemed so wrong. Not sure if its my age or archaic belief in date systems, but to be a thumb swept sexual conquest is not the way I fancy dating men. And since I would not like to date women and can't date the internet, music or books - I am ready to stay single and happy and find humour in the world around me.
What however sucks is that people around you just assume if you are single, you are available. Hey, no I am not. Just because I don't have to run home to warm up someone's dinner does not mean I have no life. I would rather enjoy my evenings with my pals or read a book or catch up on the latest episode of House Of Cards rather then spending an evening with a mind numbing jack ass trying to get into my pants. At forty, one has enough interests to be keep one engaged, perhaps for a lifetime. What perhaps makes me most attractive is my ability to enjoy my own company and that's a lesson well learnt.
While I trudge along, trying to find my way around in this maze of single hood, the only thing that will keep me going is to forget what hurts and to remember everything being in a relationship has taught me.