I've returned from a week away rested, relaxed, and full of zen. A whole ten days of not talking about Rum, not thinking about it, not having it occupy every waking hour. Bliss! Within 5 hours of setting foot back on the island (while still on holiday, it being a Sunday), someone stopped me on my bike and said; "This is about work and I know it's the weekend, but since you're here..." Urgh!
Later on my Rum Mentor scolded me for not responding with, "I don't mean to be rude, but..." The problem is, I don't want to be rude, and cutting someone off like that feels disrespectful. However, I have promised myself that I will practice asserting boundaries and asking people to respect my non-work time. "I feel a bit rude saying this, but..."
One of my mainland treats is buying a copy of the Guardian on Saturday - easily pleased, I know. It has so many sections that it takes me most of the week to work my way through it. Last week there was a good article about the dispiriting lack of strong, single female characters in literature. Apparently it's not possible to be happy unless you're married / engaged / in a stable long-term relationship. Feisty females beware: should you attempt to live a fulfilling single life, you'll most likely end up under a train / bitter & twisted / otherwise betrayed. Where are all the contented singletons? Not only in books, but in film as well. I recently watched Eat Pray Love, in which Julia Roberts walks away from a series of failed relationships and embarks on a promising journey of self-discovery. Right up to the point at the end when she falls into yet another relationship, abandoning everything she's learned in the preceeding 2 hours about being happy and whole as a single person. Boring.
What if there isn't a Mr (or Mrs) Right, and the whole concept turns out just to be something invented because it's a good plot line? Am I a freak for preferring the single life to making a mass of compromises in order to "be" with someone? What does that even mean? Do we need another person there constantly to validate ourselves? So many of my friends seem unhappy in their relationships, or are running around looking for someone to be with, feeling as though they're only half a person until they meet "the one". I'm not lonely because I'm not in a relationship, I have plenty of fulfilling relationships; I get lonely because everyone I know is one half of a couple, off doing couple-y things and not hanging out with me.
Listen up writers and film-makers: can't I be happy by myself? What's so bad about being single?