Can you be happy alone?

A musing from a conversation the other night with a friend who I’d not spoken to much since I got to New Zealand. He said he was worried about me, because I’m not dating anyone/in a relationship. I told him I was quite happy being alone. But no one’s happy alone, he says. I told him I was. He “wasn’t buying it”.

He then said “Don’t let life pass you by, you’re not young anymore”. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this. I mean, come on. I know I’m not a spring chicken but equally I’m not pushing bloody retirement age either.

Is life only complete and not passing you by when you’re with someone? When you’re single are you supposed to sit and twiddle your thumbs not doing anything until you meet someone?

“Ha, that’s one thing that’s not passing me by – life” I replied. “Isn’t it?” said he. I started to get a bit defensive. “My idea of life isn’t just one person, so no” was my response. “Time will tell” came the reply.

Hmm. Time to try another tack before I get pissed off. Curiosity. As we’re clearly not on the same wavelength and apparently my claims of being happy are false. Because of course someone who I’ve not spoken to much in the last 8 months knows me better than I do myself. Sigh.

“What do you mean by life then? Children?” I asked. Because I’m thinking that’s probably the only thing in life that’s perhaps time bound around my age. As far as I’m aware friendship, travel, work, running and all the other millions of things I do and am passionate about in my life including love don’t have an expiry date. Like I’d hit 40 and all of a sudden ‘life’ would have passed me by and I can’t do anything ever again.

Apparently it wasn’t children. It’s that there’s only so much we can do alone apparently. And I shouldn’t be scared to try again. A life without love is not worth living.

I pointed out that I have a lot of love in my life right now, just not the romantic kind. But that is the “best kind” according to him, effectively regarding any other type of love as meaningless. This is coming from someone who basically ditches their friends the minute they get a partner so I shouldn’t be surprised. “In your opinion” I retort, trying to make the point that we have differing views. “Mine and 95% of the world, yeah”. What about the % of the world that’s stuck in unhappy relationships just to not be alone? I didn’t ask this question as I hoped he’d be intelligent enough to surely understand that it’s better to be single than unhappy and with the wrong person?

At this point I guess I was suprised by the inability to try to understand there might be different ways of thinking and looking at things. I know romantic relationships are important to this guy, and at no point was I trying to change his mind, I was just trying to point out that I felt differently. To be told that no, that was wrong, is pretty infuriating.

Also the fact that he thinks I’m not open to a relationship is pretty annoying. I’m not quite sure why he thinks being happy alone = not wanting to be with someone. They’re not mutually exclusive. I am open to a relationship (jeez, let’s face it, I wouldn’t be here in New Zealand if I wasn’t as that’s the thing that brought me over). It would be quite nice. I’ve even [shock horror] had a few dates recently. But equally it’s not the be all and end all, and I’m not going out there trying to force one and settle for someone just because I’m at a certain point in my life. Surely being happy in myself is the healthiest way to start a relationship? I’m going to enjoy life in the meantime rather than sit and do nothing. Now that really would be letting life pass me by.

Am I right? Is he right? There’s no such thing as right really though, is there? If we all took a bit of time to try and realise that the way we view things are our own perceptions and mean different things to different people then the world probably would tick along a bit better. Interesting discussion but I’m not sure he was quite open to any other view that wasn’t his own.

Did I get defensive and read the wrong thing into what he was trying to say? Would be interested in other views on this and open to discussion, drop a comment below!

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