Being an expert suggests that you have a talent or gift for something. I prefer the definition of an expertise as a wealth of knowledge rather than a skill, particularly as it would appear that I am an expert at being single!  This preference is most probably based on the underlying societal stigma that can be attached to long-term singletons, but it’s also because I was not always single by choice. Throughout my adult life a lot of my individual achievements have been benchmarked by my career and as old habits die hard, this has also been a useful tool to measure my single status.  I generally think that an experienced person in a workplace has around 5 years track record in that field.  When you start clocking up ten years or more you are in basically in the executive office with a  name plate on the door territory.  So, if you have between five to ten years experience during your adult life of being single, you too are an expert.  I’m sure there are people who believe that because they got married in the last five years this counts them out.  I don’t think it does.  If you calculate that the vast majority of your adult life to date has been spent single, then chances are you’ve got singleton skills too! There were many experiences that I had designated as couples activities.  Like going to the cinema or theatre, for dinner, and holidays.  Now I have to admit that whilst I do visit the cinema and go to dinner by myself, I haven’t quite stretched to holidays yet.  I have also noted that when I go to the cinema on my own I hit the exit fast when the credits roll (i.e. before the lights come on).

Marilyn Bennett

Marilyn Bennett

I also never order tea or coffee after dinner if I dine alone.  No one is paying me a blind bit of notice, except me.   I am growing less conscious, but Valentine’s Day, Weddings and Christenings still tend to be designated plus one affairs.  When I am invited to these types of social gatherings it would be nice to be attending as a couple, but it’s just one of those things.  Lot’s of the things that couples do together I could do by myself, it’s just not ideal. One of the most surprising things I have realised over the last ten years is that a significant number of friends have never lived with a partner.   This is a-whole-nother level of single expertise, Executive Board territory.  If you have lived on your own, making decisions without compromise for more than ten years (consecutively or accumulatively) then the likelihood is you might be stuck in many of your ways, requiring a serious adjustment of your mindset.  I am very aware that I do have a ‘don’t touch my stuff’ mentality in regards to my home, but I also know that I am not thinking in ‘we’ mode.  I operate in ‘me’ mode right now.  This is the natural mindset of the expert singleton.

The idea of being expert at being single is now something that I embrace.  I don’t know if that’s resignation or contentment, it might well be a mixture of the two, but what I do know is that it does not make me unhappy or worried about the future.  I don’t want it to be a way of life, but I do want to take some of the things I’ve learnt as a result and make them have a positive effect when I am not single.   I like cooking for myself and cook a mean meal for one.  I go to the cinema and watch a film that I want to see.   Generally, I like my own company and have made my home my sanctuary.  I like being in control of my life choices.  All of this may sound very selfish, but I do think that being single as often as I have has given me the opportunity to take full responsibility for making myself happy.  I have been able to work out what I am capable of and who I am.  I hope this means that I will be able to give someone else the space and support to be who they want to be when I do find the right person to share my life with.

Published by Matador on 1st March 2017 priced £9.99

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