Wednesday, 25 July 2018

What to do when all your friends are settling down (and you're not)


I've pretty much always been in a relationship. Since high school, I've lived my life with my partner at my side. In fact, I can't really remember being single. And I'm happy with that - I'm one of those lucky, smug people who found their soulmate young.

But when you reach a certain point in your twenties (especially if you're from a small town), you start to get 'the questions'. They'll often pop up at weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, births - any 'do' which involves family, really. And you'll come to expect them; you'll start bracing yourself once you spot Aunt Helen sidling her way up to you while you're stocking up on mushroom vol-au-vents, because you know what'll come next.

It always starts with 'so'.


"So, have you found a house yet?"
"So, when is *** going to propose?"
"So, when am I going to get a grandchild?"

Or it'll be the ominous 'you're next', as if you're about to become the victim of a rampant serial killer making his way through unsuspecting freelance journalists. Whether it's at your cousin's engagement party or your brother's wedding, it's automatically assumed that you'll be next on the list for a relationship milestone because the family member closest in age to you is your nephew, and he's only twelve. Lucky shit.

And I know it's all meant in the nicest of ways (or is it? I'll consider writing about the detrimental effects of pushy family members in another post), and that the uncle you haven't seen in a year really does just want to know how you're getting on. But, what if you don't even know?

There's definitely an unspoken plan that you're expected to follow when you're in a relationship: get a place together, get engaged, married, have kids, try not to get divorced, die. But what if you're not really that fussed about all those things (apart from dying - you can't really get out of that one)? I've never been someone to gush over the thought of a dream wedding with a frothy white dress, or feel an overwhelming tug in my ovaries when I hear a child cry. In fact, I don't like kids. And I'm not really that bothered about getting married.

I've come to a crossroads


I've been thinking about this plan a lot lately, and how differently I picture my future in comparison. But a recent event has made my mind go into overdrive. One of my oldest friends has just got engaged.

Of course, I love her and I'm so happy for her. As much as it may seem from my cynical tone and sarcastic humour, I'm not bitter (I'm just a journalist). I couldn't think of a person anymore deserving of a happy relationship, and I can't wait to see her happier than ever on her wedding day.

However, it has made me think of my own future, and how I'm going to cope when everyone I know embarks on the road to marriage and kids. Everyone has that unmarried, child-free friend who tries to phone up when you're battling through a terrible-twos-tantrum, and gets a little bit more disappointed every time you decline their offer of a vino down the local. Will that be me?

It might seem selfish, but that genuinely worries me. Who wants to be the last one standing when the lights come on, and everyone else has moved on? From what I've read, I'm not the only one who feels this way - although the majority of others in this boat are single. I'm happy where I am in my relationship; my partner is happy, too. I just need a chance to - for lack of a less cliché phrase - find myself.

What next?


My plan is to travel. Travel until there is nowhere else to explore, until I'm experienced enough to know what I want out of life, until I'm ready to embark down that road (or not, as it might turn out). I want to make more friends, with likeminded people who also don't really know what they're doing, and have stories to tell. I want to take photos of amazing things, and learn about cultures that I never knew existed, and eat food that I've never tried before (oh, the food - possibly my largest motivation).

I've thought about travelling for a while now, and now that it's written down, I have to do it. And if anyone I know personally knows a thing or two about it, or wants to come with me - hit me up. It'd be great to have a companion on this next leg of my journey.

Where I've been, and where I want to go


Although the countryside has and always will be my home, I love visiting cities. I'm not really one to laze about on a beach, because I feel like there's so much I'm missing out on. The cities I've visited have always been vibrant, bustling and exciting - apart from Monte Carlo, which really does feel like a billionaire's playground.

Although I would definitely be open to exploring other areas, cities are where I'm best suited, as I feel it's so much easier to get around for a first-time visitor. I'm dying to go to Australia and visit Sydney and Cairns, so I think that'll be first on my list. And there are a few places I want to visit again, like Los Angeles (especially), Paris, Rome and Amsterdam, as these are some of my favourite cities.

Manila
Los Angeles
San Francisco
Orlando
Barcelona
Rome
Monte Carlo
Nice
Paris 
Amsterdam
Antwerp
Sydney/Cairns
Reykjavic
Dubrovnik
Venice
Positano
Santorini
Mykonos
Copenhagen
Tokyo
Singapore
New York
Vancouver
Los Angeles (again)
Las Vegas
Honolulu
Edinburgh
Dubai

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