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When we're in a relationship,
one of the haunting thoughts that can make us especially snappy and bitter
is the idea that if only we were single, we would be a lot happier.
We can be so conscious of the troubles of our own lives,
that we're naturally drawn to look back and remember the nicer aspects of solitude.
We remember being able to get up whenever we wanted;
we recall not having to fret about where we threw things.
We remember how inoffensive our own bad habits were,
when we were the only ones to witness them.
We recall not having to justify our meal choices, however eccentric;
we could go out somewhere and never tell anyone;
we could (when we felt like it)
work through till 2 a.m. without being accused of being obsessive or cold.
Though we were sometimes sad, we could at least always hope for a better future.
It was all so fulfilling, in comparison with the life we lead now.
But memory is a hugely unreliable and therefore, reckless instrument,
which isn't a small point,
for our powers of recall have a huge impact on how we assess our lives in the present.
We are editors of genius,
who know just enough about how to romanticise our single days
in order to poison our conjugal ones.
Some of our ingratitude might be eroded.
if long before we met anyone,
a talented film-maker were charged with making a close observational documentary
about our lives as single people.
They’d capture our face at 5.30pm on a winter Sunday afternoon,
as the sun was setting
and we know we’ll be alone till we reach the office on Monday morning.
They'd observe us looking across the room at someone at a party
longing for their kindly face
but lacking any courage to go up and address them.
They'd capture us spending a lot of time at our parents' house,
and growing increasingly tetchy in their company.
They’d show us struggling to know what to do when the fridge stopped working
or we felt a terrible pain in the middle of the night.
We would ideally be required to view this documentary at regular intervals,
especially after bruising fights with our partners.
It would provide crucial evidence,
which our own memories are so good at strategically omitting
of how less than ideal the single state can be
We would realise that though we are sad now,
we were also very sad then.
We would accept, with good grace and a touch of dark humour,
that life simply gives us few opportunities to be content.
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Why it Probably Wasn’t Better Being Single

48732 Folder Collection
Zoey published on March 27, 2017    Zoey translated    Sabrina Hsu reviewed
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