A few weeks ago, I had a patient who was fifty-six and about to retire. She wouldn’t stop talking to me, even after I had my next patient seated in my chair. Later, we were talking about her, and Amber said, “She was probably just a lonely, single, older woman who’s stuck working with eighteen year olds all day.” I’d thought, “She probably has a husband who doesn’t pay any attention to her.” But I didn’t say it aloud. It took me a couple weeks to remember to look up her demographics. She was married.
I wonder how many people have this thought of “poor, lonely, single people.” I’ve been a subject of this pity many times over in the past, as if being single and solitary equates with depression and sadness. And happiness is exclusive to those who are paired off.
I’ve long been of the party who doesn’t care if I have a mate or not- my life does not depend on it. It’s nice when someone comes along who makes your life better, but most times I find relationships to cause more anxiety and questions of self-worth than the other way around. But, I am not degrading relationships. When I’ve been in a good one, it’s having someone to conquer the world with, and that is a true joy, and a freedom. I’ve also been in relationships where I was much more lonely than being alone. If that were the choice, I would certainly choose singlehood.
It’s not that I don’t think of being with someone. I do. And I wonder if I am going to be by myself forever. It’s possible. I’ll think of future plans, all things I’ve dreamed up, and then wonder what would happen if I met someone. But then I just go on planning and figure if something happens, it does, and if not, oh well. I’m going to enjoy life.