Tonight my brother and I watched a programme about Euro ’96. We sat there, and I drank wine and he ate his nutritious dinner of turkey twizzlers and chips, or some such horror (I stole some of the chips. I am not above such filth). We sat there in the parental abode where we grew up, and where we both find ourselves, cast adrift as thirtysomething singletons in a world where our peers are almost all coupled up with 2.4 children, or at least 2.4 cats, and we reminisced about the glorious summer of ’96, when Oasis, Blur and Pulp ruled the airwaves (back when airwaves were still a thing) and England beat Holland 4-1 and we all ran out into the street to celebrate, feeling like we had just won the still-gleaming Jules Rimet trophy itself, even though it wasn’t the World Cup and the Jules Rimet disappeared years before.
Someone said something about Euro ’96 being the time of their life, and my brother quipped that it was the time of everyone’s lives.
I thought about this.
I thought about doing my GCSEs, something that I have thought about a lot recently, as I have watched my students doing theirs, twenty years on from when I did my own. And I thought about the glorious summer of nothingness that followed. Where I had nothing to do except prance around listening to Garbage (not a metaphorical statement. They were a real band; a real thing, peeps, and they were amazing) and wonder whether I could get away with wearing my then eleven year old brother’s pyjama top as a fashion statement.
And it got me thinking about where I thought I might be, twenty years from then.
Certainly not sitting in the same house, watching the same old Baddiel and Skinner (although they are truly great), and wishing I was fifteen again.
Did I miss my potential? Or am I just someone who went away, had some adventures, and then returned, in the words of my sometimes too literal brother, like a salmon to breed in the place of my birth?
As a parent blogger, I am largely surrounded by people who are married.
Not all parents are married, of course, some are single, and some have partners they are not married to. For the sake of argument, I am going to consider the latter as “married.” The piece of paper, the legal status, is irrelevant. They are irrefutably Coupled Up, and that puts them in a different bracket.
I am not married. I have never been married, and sometimes I feel as though I am the odd one out. I hear endless tales about people’s “other halves” (as if we are not whole people when we are not part of a couple), and I wonder, am I missing out? Is this some great life stage that has passed me by? Should I be sad? Because I’m not sad. I’m perfectly all right.
I’ve heard it said that it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, but I have no way of proving the truth or otherwise of that statement. I’m firmly in the latter camp, and that’s OK. I don’t need anybody’s pity. I don’t need to hear that it will happen one day, that I will just know, that it always happens when you least expect it, because lots of things happen when you don’t expect them, and not all of them are good.
So I shall continue being the odd one out, the one without an “other half,” a whole person, even if it apparently doesn’t seem that way to others.
And I am perfectly OK. I just wish I’d known twenty years ago that some things really don’t matter, and getting married might be one of them.
This post was first published on the website Meet Other Mums.