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Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Being Single

I am taking time-out from my busy routine here at the office so I read the papers. I was leafing through today's issue of Manila Bulletin when I came across this article about Happy Being Single! Anyway, read on...

By KATE JOHNSONS

"YOU'VE NEVER been married?" "No," I say, "I never have been." I try to say this with a smile, without sounding embarrassed, or defensive. Even when they insist on asking why not. "Just because I'm not," I answer, still smiling.

But what annoys me most is that, after the exchange, I can't resist saying I've been engaged. Twice. I try to mention this casually. Something like, "When I dumped my second fiance, I realised I'm not the marrying kind." It's shallow and vain of me. I want people to know that someone did want me, for ever. I was chosen.

Twice.

The responses I get are all variations on the theme of "What’s wrong with you?" There's the patronising, "We must find someone for you." Or the married man who spends all evening chatting you up, then shouts across the dinner party, "You seem like an attractive woman! Why aren't you married?" "Because I keep meeting men like you," I reply sweetly.

Then there's the question, "But what do you dooooo with your time?" or, "Aren't you lonely?" Sometimes. The only person I have to worry about is me, and that means the only person who worries about me is me.

Then there's the unsolicited advice: "You must join a dating agency. Now! This is a problem that can be solved." I'm not even sure it's a problem. For me.

I don't ask people why they're married. I don't ask them why they're still married. I don't even ask them why they got married in a church if they're not religious. (I did once, and the groom replied, "Everyone knows where it is, so it's a good place to meet.")

I don't ask them what they dooooo or if they get lonely.

I'm glad I didn't marry my two fiances. The first time I got engaged, when I was in my early 20s, I realised almost immediately that I didn't want to marry him. The second time, I wondered if I didn't want to be married at all. To anyone.

I'm 38 and I've never dreamed of a white wedding. I've never heard my biological clock ticking. I don't cry at other people's weddings, wondering if that will ever be me. I don't dread that I'll never get married. I'm not against marriage: My parents are still happily married, my brother is happily married and some of my best friends are happily married.

I don't like living with absolutes; never do this, always do that. I just need an escape route in life. The last time I took a ferry, at night, in winter, I insisted on sitting on the top deck so I could jump into the sea and escape if it capsized. I don't like sailing because, if I can't see land, how am I going to get to it if I need to? I don't make plans; I don't even like to buy return tube tickets.

The biggest misconception about not being married, and not wanting to be married, is that people translate it as though I'm saying I want to be alone, unloved and lonely for ever. I don't. I want to meet someone.

But in the meantime, I can go on with my life. And next time someone asks, I'm going to give them what they want – and tell them I'm divorced.

------

I've been there. I mean, being single. And still, it does not ceases to amaze me that sometimes other people perceive that being single means being all alone by yourself, lonely, unloved and desperate. I do not succumb to such crap for I believe that there is always somebody meant for each one of us. Their arrival in our lives may take long but surely, they will come. It is not a matter who comes first but it is more like he/she is the chosen one.

Being single does not connote a person doomed to reach singularity all his/her life. One can still be as happy as a bee despite being alone. It is very wrong to even think that a person's happiness depends whether he/she is attached. Happiness is a choice. It is one's self who can control happiness; not by anyone else. The power to change anything about our lives lies in our hands and not to be dictated by somebody else. Our partner can make us happy but what if suddenly, he/she drops out of our lives? Happiness must depend from within and not decided by external factors. I will be accused of being a hypocrite if I claim that I will still be happy being robbed of the happiness my partner gives me. I will mourn for a while but as I said, happiness is a choice and I will choose to be embraced by it rather than be drowned in sadness.


"Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response." by Mildred Barthel

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It is always refreshing to know what is in your mind. Thanks!