Monday, 7 December 2015
Single Plus Baggage
“How did I end up in this situation???”
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve asked that question over the past 18 months. Sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud. I’ve asked not only myself, but also my long suffering dog, my close friends and on more than one occasion an unsuspecting shop assistant with whom I’ve over shared.
At 42, I find myself single again. After 17 years in a stable relationship, 11 of them married, I am once again on my own.
Don’t panic – I’m not about to subject you to a blow-by-blow account of what’s been happening in my world for the last few years. That would be self-indulgent and probably bore me just as much as it would you. This isn’t a forum for me to whine and moan about my life and my soon to be ex-husband, but to consider where I am now and what happens next.
Like you, I did my time looking for love. I found my soul mate, glided down the aisle, bought the house, drove the car, had the kids, walked the dogs, went on the holidays and suddenly, now it’s over. The life I had worked so hard to cultivate and build has been blown apart. Instead of enjoying fine wines and family days out, I find myself agonising over whether I should be ticking the “Mrs” or “Ms” box on forms and cringing at the shame of having to categorise myself as “separated”. Bizarrely, I even miss walking into the lounge and seeing him slumped on the sofa snoring while the golf is blaring out of the TV. Well, maybe only a little bit.
But I know I’m not the only one. Since the separation I’ve become more conscious of other single 40-somethings stumbling through, trying to patch up their world and pretend to others looking in that everything’s just fine. Well, actually it’s not fine. In fact it’s far from fine. Whether you’re separated, divorced or widowed we have something in common. We are single… plus baggage.
The thing is, after the dust has settled and your loving, supportive friends have gone home to be with their families, you close your door and it’s just you. But it’s not the single you from all those years ago. Oh no. It’s you, the kids, the pets, the house, the job, the bills, the senile grandparents, the aging parents… I could go on but you know where I’m coming from. Finding yourself single in your 40s is a lot more complicated than just feeling lonely in a big bed at night.
So where do I go from here? What’s the next part of my story? Life hasn’t ended for me. I’m still relatively young, although my kids would disagree.
As I sit here in this little café typing on my laptop I feel I am already taking a step toward my future by writing this blog. By looking forwards and not backwards. I feel like Sarah Jessica-Parker in Sex & The City ready to take on the world with her girlfriends by her side. Great hair, lovely make-up, shoes to kill for, sipping a latté and nibbling a granola bar whilst inspiring the masses with her words of wisdom. Although I guess my world is a bit different. My hair’s windswept but not in a good way - think Worzel Gummidge rather than J-Lo; my “make-up” time this morning was replaced with “sew the button on my school skirt that I forgot to tell you came off yesterday” time; my non-designer boots are showing residual signs, and smells, of the dog poo I trod in on the school run; plus I’m awaiting the arrival of my full English breakfast. Don’t judge me.
Ok, so this blog isn’t quite Sex & The City. I live in the suburbs and I’m not entirely sure if I’ll ever have sex again. What if it’s changed since I was last available for offers??? I’m changing the subject. There’s so much more to the new me than finding another man, or possibly woman, to share my life with.
It’s a brave new world out there and I’m about to step forward and see what it’s got to offer... assuming I can book a babysitter, obviously. So who’s with me?
Single Plus Baggage (SPB)