It’s fair to say that I have been more than disheartened when it comes to the dating world. In fact, there are nearly 60 blog posts detailing just how unlucky I have been in love. And sure, I am only 25 but I am ever aware of the ticking of my biological clock. As discussed before, even if I did find the man of my dreams tomorrow then I would be at least 30 years old before I started to have children.
But that is beside the point.
I saw my future self the other day.
She was a 50-something year old lady who could have easily passed for 60 years old. She stood in line at the post office on a Saturday morning and had an argument with the server about the fact that she had been given a notice to collect a package. How was this possible, she asked, when she lived at home with her mother and her brother and they had been at home all day? It must have been a new postman, she reasoned, because their normal one knows to just leave the package beside the front door. She was a sick lady with multiple chronic illness and she just couldn’t make her way into the post office to collect a parcel, of all things.
I’m sure you detect the tone of judgement in my typed words and I don’t mean to be horrible to this stranger. She was my ultimate fear- the 50-something spinster. For whatever reason, she had never had children or a family of her own and now she relied on her brother to look after her and her mother. She was fast approaching that time when she would need additional assistance to help her at home and had neither the money nor the family to facilitate this.
She was me in 40 years time, but with one great difference- I would have a million cats.
I often see those elderly people who come into the hospital without any family to support them at home. This may be because they didn’t have a family to begin with or because they have fallen out with their family. They worry about the little dog that keeps them company and who would feed it while they are in hospital for a few days. Or they took an ambulance to the hospital but have no way of getting home. They have no one to collect medications from the pharmacy for them and no one to check in to make sure that they are okay.
Now, I recognise that this isolation may be caused by many factors- infertility, death of a partner or child, mental illness or relocation of family. However, I feel like if I got to menopause and I had not gotten married and had a child (even if they don’t speak to me when I am 80) then I will have failed as a person. Sure, not everyone wants to have children but they build themselves a cushion of friends and adopted family that they can rely on in such circumstances. But while I’ve been waiting for my turn to have a family, I have not been concentrating on building a network of friends to support my hefty frame when the time comes. I had thought that making my own family would mean that I would have to let less people in. I hold everyone at variable distances away from me and hope that I just need to let a few select people past my stringent defences. Because if I can’t trust myself to do the right thing, then how can I trust others.
But I think I do myself a disservice.
Are my walls once again preventing me from optimising my life? Do I need to start investing in an alternative insurance policy in the good friends that surround me but I still hold at a distance? Because I really don’t want to be a 50-something spinster.