I find myself to my dismay 43 years old, childless, single, and with a penchant for day-drinking alone. If I’d ever made plans, this wouldn't have been what they looked like.
COVID-19 has only exacerbated and brought into focus the various ways in which I've allowed my life to slip into neutral and allow my peers to move onto new things without me.
When I say that my penchant is for day drinking alone, that's not the context in which I’d prefer to do it. It’s not that I'm an unsociable person. Quite the contrary, I'd like to think. I can strike a good conversation, I can make people laugh, but finding participants for these activities seems inexplicably difficult to me. I observe in others how making deep, long running friendships and intimate relationships seems completely effortless. When I do put effort into making such connections, I'm very quickly discouraged when I don’t sense the other party’s interest in engaging. Of course I'm aware of the paradox in that the keener you are, the less appealing others find you.
Sure, I have friends, but at my age they all have more important people in their lives than me. Whether the people in their life are their children, partners, or friends with children for their own to play with, I usually find my plans with them cancelled at the last minute, and with little apology, because ‘something else came up’. It doesn't seem to take much to trump plans involving me. I often get the feeling an arrangement to meet up with me is regarded in their minds as a backup plan in case nothing better comes along in the meantime. It's hard not to take that personally, because it undeniably it is. They seem to think I won’t mind, but I do.
Despite all the preceding hopelessness, I've never doubted but I have plenty to give to others. It just seems that everyone else is fully occupied- all stocked up on friends and obligations- and have little or no room for me in their busy lives. And that's completely understandable. If you have children they will keep you busy and be your priority. Of course if you're in a relationship your partner will always come before a friend from university. Forty year olds without children or partners are outliers, and any suspicion that there must be an explanation for their single-and-childless-status is no doubt a discouragement to invest time in them.