Ok so this year, I turn 35. I am officially mid-thirties, and on the last rung before the slippery slide to forty.
And friend #6 announced her pregnancy today.
That’s 6 friends, all pregnant, all due about the same time. (Ok today’s announcement was more of an acquaintance but as all but one of my closest friends is indeed, up the duff, I figure I could include her in my tally).
And I, am officially the last single gal.
I’m not sure how I feel about that. First of all, why am I always last? I’m like Gretl freakin’ Von Trapp. That line where she asks “why am I always last?” always used to get me, even as a child- because I did always seem to be last, and I totally understood how she felt. Move over morose middle child, being the youngest isn’t all kittens and sunshine either!
Growing up I experienced a lot of lasts. I was the last one to be picked on sporting teams (thanks, lack of hand-eye-coordination!). I was the last to know about any birthday parties (and I suppose it should be noted, I never had one myself). I always came second to my elder sister in hacking and showjumping (heck, I was usually plain last in showjumping anyway!). I was the last of my friends to kiss a boy. I was the last of my friends to become a woman (urgh I hate that phrase). So far as I know, I was the last to have sex. I was the last to finish my studies. I was the last to travel overseas.
However, I was the first to get my pen license in grade 3, but then I moved schools and upon showing up to my first day with a pen (not thinking anything untoward, I had after all, been writing with it for 6 months by then), my new teacher swiftly removed it from my possession. That I had the audacity to assume I could continue to write with INK before she herself had decreed it so, clearly convinced her that her new pupil was of a rebellious nature and needed to be taught a lesson She then proceeded to make me earn my license back all over again with the rest of the class, and just to make sure I got the point- you guessed it…I was last!
So, in the last few years my friends have slowly, one by one, met, fallen in love with, and (in all but a couple of cases) eventually married their lifelong partners. That didn’t really change much by way of our friendships, I must admit. Sure, sometimes I felt a bit like the odd one out when I’m the only one at dinner without a partner, but I was always thankful that I never seemed to be seated at the end of the table like some kind of outcast.
But this is different. First of all, in one fell swoop, I have lost my social life. No more pub/wine bar action, no more girly soirees over red wine and chocolate (ok I guess the chocolate is still on the list). Two weeks ago I was on my way home after finishing my Saturday activities and I suddenly had the urge to go out somewhere. After two very long work weeks, I was in the mood for maybe a vino and some dancing, some live music and perhaps a flirt with a bartender, but a quick scroll through my phone revealed that in fact…there was no one to call. I had no wing[wo]man.
It’s not unreasonable for this to have happened of course. We are, after all, in our mid-thirties, but naive as it may have been of me to not forsee this, I just didnt expect ALL of my friends to drop out of my social life at the same time.
And I am sad. I am sad that all of my friendships have now changed forever. I am sad -and a little annoyed- that I wasn’t more prepared. In About a Boy, Marcus, even at the age of (12?) recognised that you need backup, and sure enough, here I find myself, devoid of such.
I realise this does make me sound like an immensely selfish individual. Yes, I realise that my friends lives and families are not about me, but this blog is, so please, do try to keep up.
Dont misunderstand me, I am extremely happy for all of my friends who are about to embark on a very exciting new chapter in their lives. I’m super excited about being ‘cool aunty Serene’ again, and I genuinely cannot wait to meet all of the new arrivals. For those who simply refuse to divulge gender (you know who you are) I am simply DYING to know so I can go crazy with the online shopping (my credit card is newly paid off and ready for action!).
And those feelings are entirely separate from the fear that suddenly has its vice-like grip on my stomach and heart.
Furthermore, it turns out that with the intgration of online dating into modern society, it turns out that it is actually much easier to get a date, than it is to make a new friend to hang out with on a Saturday night.
But I don’t want a date. I want someone(s) who I can laugh with, cry with, share my fears with, and dance like a lunatic with and share stupid stories with and whinge to…all without the pressure of having to decide if I want a “relationship” with that person when the evening is over, or having to spend the entire evening thinking up the best way to let them down gently.
This is not an unusual circumstance, a quick Google of something along the lines of “last single girl” or “all of my friends are married with children”, raised countless results of blogs, forum posts and Yahoo questions all uploaded by people in the midst of a massive panic attack, upon realising that they are the last one, who are suddenly desperate to seek verification that they aren’t freaks, and that this doesn’t mean they are destined to be alone forever.
If I wasn’t so goddamned petrified myself, I would be reading these hastily typed queries and marvelling at how desperate they sound.
These people have been left behind- through no fault of their own, or their peers - with no hope of even some good natured girly backup on a night out to blow off some steam and share a few glasses of bubbly, laugh off their fears of turning 40 with a collection of cats, whilst pretending not to entertain a heavily repressed hope that a chance meeting at the bar, or in the taxi queue, might be the critical turning point to set them on the right track to blissful coupledom.
A few months ago, I would have confidently reassured myself that I had plenty of friends and that this would simply never happen to me. There would always be someone still sufficiently childfree to call upon.
But as luck would have it, I find myself experiencing that well worn path of being last….again.
Only, I don’t have an Uncle Max to reassure me that it’s just because I am the most important.
And even if I did, I don’t think that explanation would really fly at my age. I mean realistically, nothing makes you more aware of your relative insignificance, than being left behind.
So, in honour of my beautiful friendships, which are now altered forever, I apologise in advance if my behaviour in the next 6 months resembles some of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_Z3lmidmrY
I am hoping that I will have worked my way through most of the stages before the bundles of joy arrive!