Friday, May 09, 2014

Singleness vs. Long-Term Projects

Homesteaders: Pie Town, New Mexico 1940 October
Photo by Russell Lee
So... of late I have been newly aware of the limitations in being Single. For years, 95% of the time I have enjoyed my freedom and independence... leaving parties when I liked, only hanging out with people I like, doing nothing much when I come home from work except sit down and watch TV, eating food straight from the container, scheduling whatever I wish whenever I wish. Come and go as I bloody well please. When you live alone, there's no-one to annoy you, to compromise with, to take into consideration of when you make noise late at night or fart or don't feel like sharing food.

But there's also no-one to do Big Things with. My friendships tend to be primarily social, and don't generally extend into the nitty-gritty parts of daily life. If I have something in the car that is too heavy for me to bring up the stairs safely, too bad. If there is a spider to be killed, I have to do it. If the car is on the fritz, I have to find my own ride to and from the shop. If Squeaky George throws up his dinner in various places around the condo, I have to clean it up. If I want to go on vacation, there's no-one guaranteed available to go with me. There's no-one to feed the cats if I'm working late. If I have an accident, I have to drive myself to the hospital if I'm not incapacitated, or ride alone in the ambulance. This is part of the 5% of dissatisfaction I have with Single Life; fortunately it usually takes the shape of minor inconveniences. And I do have friends and family I can call for emergencies; they just aren't on-call, exactly!

However, lately I have been wishing for someone to team up with on projects. I need help doing those things I am too lazy to do, or need accountability to help follow through with worthwhile things. For example:
  • I wish I had someone to exercise with regularly, to go on walks with or to go to the gym with several times a week. I'd like someone who'd help me, as I would help him. A teammate.
  • I wish I had a partner to buy a piece of property and build a house together; like one of those Not-Too-Big Houses that is cosy and charming and well-designed.
  • I wish I had someone who wanted to plan & carry out home improvements; the kind of things I think would be nice in my house, but then I consider what it will entail, and that I will have to do it all on my own, and I sigh and forget about it.
  • I wish I had someone to do yard work with, in our own yard. I want to garden, to keep bees, and maybe someday even chickens and goats.
  • I wish I had someone to travel with. I really don't like the discomforts of travel, but if I can settle into a place for a week or more, I'd love to go back to England or Japan or Europe... but not on my own again. I need help.
  • I wish I had someone whose strengths complemented my weaknesses, and vice-versa.
And no, these are not tasks for a Friend, to my way of thinking. I have had dozens of friends leave town over the years, or marry and have children, or have other occupations that, because they aren't bound to me, they will want to do instead. Please don't make recommendations of That Nice Girl You Met That Time Who Is Single Too or That Guy at Our Church Who Is Always Available. I have plenty of folks like that around me already. I'm not lonely; I just need someone who isn't going anywhere, who is bound to me for a lifetime. And I'm spoiled enough by 40+ years of freedom to not just want SOMEONE; I'd like a husband who I'd enjoy the process with.

I'm afraid I have lost my romantic streak. I discovered recently that I found myself unexpectedly annoyed when watching Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo & Juliet. It doesn't feel romantic, it feels stupidly unnecessary. Romance fiction, rom-coms, etc. - no more enjoyment. Romantic love seems inconceivable. I've seen too many failed love affairs and too many horrific divorces. Since we all know that the spark of romantic love dies out eventually, and the best you can hope for is affection and mutual respect and friendship, I don't think this is necessarily a bad state of thought for me to arrive at... Although I kind of miss it; it's a nice world to visit and fantasize about being in love myself. But now I feel like someone living on a homestead in the wilderness who just needs someone to help bring in the crops.