Yes, I am what you would emphatically call an ‘independent woman’ who can handle it all and doesn’t need a man to allow her to take up space in this world.
I moved countries in my mid-twenties as I had no ‘ties’ keeping me there and wanted to see more before I found my person, signed the joint mortgage paper, and said goodbye to my vagina and restful nights. In the years that followed I built up a solid friendship base, a large number of them living in another country with little family ties, juggling work, children, etc and for me embarking on a change of career adding evening study to my list of things to enhance my grey hair.
Over the past seven years male company came and went for various reasons, some long term some with ye old faithful ‘I don’t know what I want’ regardless I stood unwavering paying my rent, keeping my job, passing exams, and walking on my own with copious joking when things seemed too hard.
The last time I saw my family was Christmas 2019, I said to myself I WANT TO SEE NEW YORK and threw in Canada for good measure before spending Christmas and New Year with loved ones. I arrived back in Australia in January with no idea of what was about to unfold globally and how that would impact me, one person out of billions, the playing field begun to level out.
Initially, I felt ok working from home, I love my little apartment, I set up my daily routine because apparently, that is what we were all advised to do on Linkedin. I had copious coffee, ate a proper brunch, and went walking every day. I embraced the freedom of not being in an office and checked up on my neighbor most afternoons to see how she was doing (socially distanced of course).
I had online chats with friends that included a red in hand most nights as we talked about the situation and tried to mask our worries with humor. Then things seemed to get dark, back home the situation escalated with a tough lockdown imposed and the reality started to set in, this was a safe secure bubble to protect me and others, but this safe secure bubble meant I was isolated compounded by the fear of not knowing when I would ever get home, I still don’t.
I kept myself occupied, I started a project where people could share letters to one another across the world, I started more voluntary work and poured myself into anything to take my mind off what was going on, this included using dry shampoo for the first time ever and disguising my takeaway obsession as supporting local businesses.
I laughed with colleagues about how they would be stuck inside with their partners and trying to entertain kids while they scoffed, they wished they lived on their own like me. Now I don’t know what I was laughing at, a quiet house is fantastic when you need the break, but it is deafening when its been months. The increase of domestic violence and the potential for child neglect not being picked up due to homeschooling worried me, add that to a virus and see how vulnerable families become, a family home for many became the very opposite of a safe bubble.
Months later my employment stopped, not for profit organizations struggling to maintain funding, every cause was now a worthy cause. I FORCED it to be a positive, I started job hunting I reached out to friends for advice and I kept saying this will be fine and no matter what has happened it could have been much worse, much much worse.
My brain went into overdrive judging where I am in life. Thinking about having kids was avoided mainly because I didn’t think I would be 35 and still not have any, it sounds arrogant but who didn’t? Next minute I’m researching freezing my eggs and started the process, if one thing this pandemic has done it has forced me to look at where I am at and start taking action to get what I want otherwise what exactly are we doing here?
A year later from when this pandemic kicked off here I am, looking for work, volunteering, studying, and still peddling an independent lifestyle as if I am selling it to everybody but myself. There is no other half here to pay the rent, to listen to me rant about how the world is f****d but at the same time resilient, to understand how difficult it is to forget the feeling of how much older I will be when my mum picks me up from the airport and we take the ultimate selfie.
So here’s to another year of peddling independence with strong friendships, strong goals, and strong relationships if that other half makes an appearance, and if not, I got this and so do you.
If you like this article, check out: https://www.harnessmagazine.com/the-new-normal-what-covid-19-lockdown-has-taught-us/