|It's that time of year|
I really should be packing; I leave for the UK in five days and have an exceptionally busy week ahead, and today is my only free day. So I should be packing. I have instead been to the chemist… Then I went and bought some books… Then I had a coffee and read some articles… Then I wandered aimlessly before thinking: I should pack. I returned home, put on some washing, cleaned the bathroom and then I thought: I must really write my blog. So here I am writing my blog when I really should be packing.
I am soon to turn another year older, and when this happens I like to give myself a bit of a mid-year review, which is perhaps just because it’s that time of year – and I’m in HR – but I also like to think that it’s because as the years have gone by I have learnt an essential adulting skill.
As I sit here reflecting on things, I’m thinking that if somebody had told me five years ago that I would be in Melbourne writing a blog as a single young (debatable) lady (again debatable), I would have laughed in the face of my future – and yet here I am. Today is election day in Australia and my friends will be voting for the country’s future; one I cannot yet participate in as I have yet to be awarded citizenship. It’s also quite a poignant day for another reason.
I am sitting here because of a series of decisions I made, and that’s funny because I am often told I am quite indecisive, which is true when it comes to quite insignificant things like, ‘what do I want for dinner?’ or ‘what colour Toms should I buy next?’ But when it comes to the big stuff, I can be decisive, and I like to think that I make those decisions in an informed way that’s reflective of my analytical nature… As part of my mid-year review I was thinking that it took some adjusting to my single lifestyle, it was strange not calling someone through the day and it was weird working out what to do with my time and making major life decisions without consulting someone else. Going from being practically married to single life is no easy transition; no one prepares you for it and there’s no official guide book on the matter. We’re not even taught how to do it in school; in fact, we’re not ever talked through relationships at school, which seems a bit crazy as they are pretty integral to our adult lives.
Anyway, I’ve distracted myself. The reason today is poignant is because every now and then I hear from my ex (I personally believe in keeping things amicable), and today she contacted me to let me know she is now engaged. It’s been about two years since we separated and it’s funny how lives once entwined can suddenly venture in two very different directions. When we separated I spent time in counselling both pre- and post-break up (I can’t recommend it enough), mainly because of the guilt I felt but also because I felt the need to re-examine myself after suddenly not having that person in my life who had been such a big part of my identity. I quite literally felt like I was suddenly standing in a desert, tumbleweed blowing around me, the heat beating down on my neck and armed with neither map nor water.
It’s amusing in some ways because I was the person who did the breaking up, and people are quick to make assumptions about that – gosh, even I used to make those assumptions. But it was the hardest decision I had to make, and was not a decision I took lightly. I didn’t leave because I felt the grass was greener; I didn’t leave because I didn’t love her anymore; and I didn’t leave because our situation was too hard. I put 100% into trying to make it work because I believe that you should never leave someone simply because it’s ‘easier’ than working on your relationship. Likewise, you should never stay with someone for fear of being alone or facing the harsh reality of a break up.
I made the decision because the relationship had broken down into something I no longer recognised, and I loved her and respected her enough to know I did not want things to continue the way they were – it was unhealthy for both of us. But letting go was the hardest thing I had to do. So getting the message that she was engaged was the moment I went from believing 95% that I did the right thing to 100% because I’m genuinely happy for her. Of course, I’m also very human, and part of me was gutted that in two years I have not found something similar. However, after the sting of the news subsided, I realised I am comfortable with the fact that I am here on my sofa writing my blog. It’s where I am supposed to be right now, or else I wouldn’t be sitting here so comfortably.
I think that one of the reasons I’m feeling a little sad about it is because I’m a romantic: I love being part of a team and couldn’t help wondering why I haven’t yet formed a new and lasting one… Well, Corina (note to self: must stop this third-person referencing thing) it’s probably because my special someone is neither hidden under the sofa nor likely to suddenly ring the doorbell – that would be a bit weird and potentially a U-Haul moment. For me (oh, I’m me again), I have never wanted to actively seek a relationship because you make bad decisions that way, trust me – that’s right my memory goes back fourteen years. I believe that you ultimately attract the right person at the right time (I am sure there is some scientific proof to my hypothesis). Although these days I am a lot older, so maybe I should be rushing the process through dating, but I don’t like the fact that everyone has this expectation that because you’re dating you want a relationship. I want feelings for someone to develop naturally, free from pressure, so that both parties can be free to see where the road takes them.
Realistically my option is that someone meets me while I am dribbling at the bar or performing the caterpillar on the dancefloor while thinking I’m gangsta (I totally am), which doesn’t bode for a great first impression.
I am a very lazy romantic (or a scaredy-cat romantic – take your pick). Maybe they should invent an app for that. I am also too invested in my career and friendships at the moment; I am still forming my life in Melbourne, which involves widening my social circles. And although I am acutely aware that I’m starting to feel ready for that next step in my life, how the devil that will transpire is anyone’s guess. Maybe I should invent the lazy scaredy-cat romantic app, where people go with no expectations and a chill pill to just see what develops. I am sure I can come up with a scientific formula for this…
Ok before I share my multi-million-dollar idea, let’s get back to my mid-year review. My friends keep telling me I should date for fun and excitement. Well, if having a panic attack is their idea of fun and excitement then I have really weird friends, because unfortunately pre-date I get worried about things I shouldn’t even worry about (ok, I might be exaggerating about the panic attack for humorous purposes). Although clearly I can’t be too bad at dating, as I make a lot of friends doing it… Oh, actually, that’s not really the point is it?!
I guess the upshot of my mid-year review is that I have one objective for the remaining half of my year: I was lucky enough to experience the feeling of 'wow, where did you come from?' earlier this year, I had forgotten how that feels, the feeling of excitement and wanting to see where it goes. I want to make someone feel that about me. I am pretty sure that moment will occur while I'm dribbling at the bar... 87.24% certain. Maybe I should just stop dribbling at bars, or buy a bib? Yeah, I might need to invest in a bib.
I got distracted again… Where was I? Oh, yes, excitement – why do people assume that being single means you have to date? The excitement of being single comes from reminding myself every Friday at around 4.45pm that I am single and while I am single I should enjoy, well, being single. What does being single mean? It means that at 4.45pm on a Friday I can persuade others to join me in general debauchery in a bar of our choosing because, as Yoda said, ‘Only once you live.’ So for me it’s not about dating, it is about living a little before some very lucky lady gets tricked by my charm and is then stuck with me for a long time.
It also means that this week I have the freedom to jump on a plane and head back to the UK for three whole weeks to celebrate my amazing sister getting married to the love of her life. Which reminds me… I really should be packing.
Written by Corina Hawkins, soon to be author and edited by Sophie McClelland.