I believe that there are two realities to the single life which a single needs to learn to balance between in order to retain a personality viable enough to survive this status. (Failing such marital bliss ever materialising, mastering this balancing act will make you a good conversationalist at a full table of mostly married or dating couples who envy your apparent contentment.)
Self Containment (SC) and Full Submersion (FS) are the opposite poles of life that we singles teeter between on a daily basis.
The one reality (SC) resembles an evening indoors with a meal for one, slab of chocolate and a DVD series to consume, all devoured with barely a hint of self pity or depression. SC is being able to avoid all panic at finding oneself alone again, mixed in with the ability to strategically and calmly implement ‘oh, that’s all right, I love my life anyway’ strategies that are truly fulfilling.
I am currently being Self Contained by blogging, for example, instead of going through my contact list on my phone, wondering who might be free for the evening or morosely running pictures of my future on the shelf through my head.
SC is also being able to have a meal at a restaurant on ones own and truly enjoy it, or to be occupied with activities that make you feel good about yourself – like home improvement, studies, musical endeavours, gym, jewellery-making classes, hobbies and the likes.
Shorter versions of SC (because SC is not always easy to maintain) we will call Self Contained Moments (SCM’s). SCM’s make the single feel empowered, confident and content during brief flashes of inspiration that remind them of some of the benefits of single living.
Full Submersion on the other hand is when we throw our lives into the lives of our married or dating friends/family and become the best aunts/uncles, brothers/sisters, friends, babysitters, listening ears, advise givers and third wheels that we truly can be. The benefit of FS is full blown family life that can become our very own, without having to pay the mortgage.
We feed and burp and coo (as ladies), relieve marital tension through the diversion our presence creates, get hugs and meals, and lavish affection on our ‘safe’ people to keep our hearts pumping.
As there is only so much of borrowing another’s life, baby ,problems and fridge content that one can actually do before it becomes a bit too much, we singles soon find ourselves zipping back down the rope to Self Containment to create some needed balance.
SC is a hard reality, however, which is why some singles opt to live with other singles in a SSC – Singles Survival Commune, where SC and FS can operate under one roof.
FS is easier until it highlights you own lack. Sometimes we don’t quite make it to the other side (to SC) intact and this is when we can be found hanging upside down with others having a SW (Single’s Whinge). SW’s are necessary venting realities. I partake in them on a weekly basis, in fact. It’s much like ‘here we go around the mulberry bush’ – with the same issues and pains revisited and hashed out each time. But it is cathartic and, as we go home to no one, a good boost of encouragement to put heads down and move forward nevertheless.
I have just been interrupted by real human beings at my door and have to conclude that SC is overrated and I would like to put my order in for a family of my own please 😉