Sunday, August 31, 2008

One is the Luckiest Number.

To what I’m certain will be the infinite relief of those closest to me, I finally understand why my personal situation is the way that it is. I was never sure how I felt about having children, but I have spent year upon lonely year lamenting my singledom, to which they all can unfortunately attest. I have lived most of my adult life in contention with the fact that this (not having a life partner) is one of the few things that I have minimal control over. It’s either in the cards or it’s not. Health is another one, but one that many of us take much more for granted, unfortunately.

But I get it now: the universe (the sneaky little guy) has conspired to bring me to this point. It cannot be dismissed as purely serendipitous that I am, at the age of 39, single with no dependents, no home, no job, no debt, a little money to travel with, health, a good chunk of free time, and the presence of mind to realize it all and do something with it.

True, some of these results are owed purely to (perhaps insane) choices that I have made. But others were granted to me by the powers that be, for which I must now be grateful. Were I attached and/or if I had children, I’m fairly confident that the decisions and choices of the last few months would have been much more complicated to make, if it had crossed my mind to make them at all. To that end, one may apply different lenses at will: quite likely if I were happily settled with the love of my life and had a fulfilling career, the entire epic of the last few months would have never unfolded and this blog would have no reason to exist.

Regardless, I am here, now, and I must believe that this is where I am supposed to be. Alone. It feels odd to take something that has been a source of heartbreak and pain for so long and suddenly regard it as precious; to now thank God for it. I saw the look in the eyes of my dental hygienist when I told her about my upcoming voyage. She said it was the one regret she had; that she had not taken the opportunity to travel before marrying and having children. (Of course, families also travel all the time: it just presents a few more logistical challenges and demands considerably more luggage.)

Still, while I accept that I am both alone and doing this alone, there are countless moments when I wish I had someone along to share the adventure, in all its ups and downs. Someone to turn to and say “Can you believe we’re actually doing all this?” or “We’re definintely being scammed by this tuk tuk driver,” or “Look over there, they’ve got salwar kameez on special, 2 for 600 rupees!” Having to rely on oneself, especially in the low times and at key photo opportunities, can be depressing and sad. But I know there will also be many times when I will be grateful for it.

So for at least a while, and hopefully forever, my friends and family will be spared my incessant “Why am I still single?” whining. I will try to regard my singledom as a gracious gift that has allowed me this incredible opportunity instead of as a cruel joke or undeserved punishment for an unknown crime. I will polish off the tarnished notion I have of being alone and I will do my best to relish it instead.

Oh, look at the time. I’ve got to run. It’s the world calling. We’ve got a blind date.

The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” Henry David Thoreau


Jeannette said...

So true, so worth it [being alone].

I'd say, in both situations you feel incomplete.

rachelle said...

I found your blog through the LP TT forum. I'm doing the same thing currently. Have just ended a long term relationship, am finishing my MSc, and instead of getting a job I'm leaving. I'm slowly selling off all my belongings, giving them to value village, and throwing them away. I have a ticket to Japan for Sept 23 and that's all. I've wanted to do this for years, and being attached to someone never truly could. It's terrifying to be fulfilling this dream!! Good luck!