Today my brother offered me his view on relationships. Since he has been single for a long time, I would generally be quicker to take relationship advice from a nun. However, in the spirit graciously accepting what is generously given, I felt I should listen to what he had to say.
His theory is that dating in your thirties is like shopping one hour before closing on christmas eve. You end up with whatever other people have fought over and damaged past the point of desire, or simply decided against. Basically you can choose to make a meal out of what you find, or accept that you will be going hungry. Everyone else’s big day will not be yours.
By extension, being single and in your thirties also means that you are one of those items left on the shelf. You may be the turkey with the green tinge, the expired goods, the dented tin of asparagus or the mince pies that look like someone sat on them…. But whatever you are, you should know you are in that place because there is something wrong with you.
I had to laugh – my brother has a vivid way of expressing things – but I also knew there was pain underlying the words and a real belief that that’s the brutal way of the beautiful world.
His metaphor has a certain painfully persuasive logic and for a second I felt fingers of doubt creep inside me. It’s never easy to find yourself asking those cold hard questions: ‘am I unlovable? should I accept less than I want because I believe myself to be unwanted?’
But I do not think my life should be shrunk to a seasonal supermarket scrum and a few ‘reduced’ price stickers. To me this life is more, I am worth more than that.
I believe there is value in what is broken; that good meals can be made with lumpy vegetables and out of date sauces.
I believe that the last few minutes might be time enough, that maybe one moment is enough to get it right.
I believe there are bargains, blessings, gems to be found in unexpected places and I wholeheartedly hope that I might just be one of them myself.
I believe I am only bound by the rationale of competitive consumption if I buy in; so tonight I am going to bed with a new mantra – “I am not the asparagus”. I will not settle for less than I want and my life is going to be what I make it.