When you’re single at the age of 34, it can seem as though the whole world is passing you by. Bearing in mind you’ve just made yourself single, you were never married and you don’t have children, it feels a little bit, well, strange. If you were in a city, this would be normal, for cities are full of single people. It seems that is the place to go if you want to hook up with someone. Yet when you’re out in the sticks so to speak, being single is an odd state to be in.
This weekend, I feel like a divorced mother having the kids for the weekend. I was asked to dog sit Lily. I haven’t seen Lily in three months, and whilst I don’t get to see her, it doesn’t mean that the overwhelming love for her hasn’t disappeared. She bounded through the front door and remembered who I am. She was as pleased to see me, as I was to see her. Wag, wag, wag, went her huge brush-like tail, a huge smile across her blond muzzle. Here was someone, for a change, who was genuinely pleased to see me, no questions asked.
So, being the ‘single mother’ I decided to treat Lily and take her out for a couple of hours. Knowing she loves other animals (cows and horses specifically it seems), I took her to the local wildlife park. I’ll admit, I wanted to go and stand, and stare at the penguins for half an hour (which I did). I let Lily lead the way around the park, she seemed to enjoy this, stopping to bark at the camels and the cows. I love seeing her happy, the big smile across her face, tongue hanging out the side of her head, her tail swishing in the breeze.
I’ve said to friends, that there are few places you can go when you’re single that are socially acceptable. This comment has been waved off on numerous occasions as being something silly to say. Today, my thoughts were confirmed. There are places that you shouldn’t really go when you’re single. A wildlife park is one of them. I was the only single person there. Lots of couples about my age, with or without children, but not another single person in sight. Interesting. For the large part, I ignored this, as Lily was having a very good time yanking me in different directions to look at the animals and have a good sniff. The people, stared at me. Some with a mixture of shock, and others with abject curiosity. It was as if I had become one of those animals behind the wire.
Perhaps I should have a little sign to hang around my neck ‘single white female, not an endangered species, habitat – Wiltshire’. I don’t quite understand what the confusion is really. Perhaps people are amazed at my brazenness – I’ve gone to a couples and children’s domain by myself. Perhaps it’s awe? I do wonder just how many of these couples are as happy as they like the world to think they are. It’s a deceptive painting of life, to see the glorious colours of a Van Gough, when the reality is a cheap sepia photo of someone long since dead. I wonder how many of these people who profess to be happy, are secretly envious of the life I now have? Who knows – all I know is that happiness is what you make it, nobody has the right to question what does or doesn’t make you happy.