For some people, the festive period is one of joy and songs and lots of food and alcohol. For others, you are the Grinch, trying to hide on your mountain top and invite your fellow Scrooges over to unite in a chorus of Bah-Humbug! Whichever one you are, embrace what you like and don’t like. That’s totally fine. But what gets me about the festive period is the particular rise of types of news on my social media feeds. You know the ones…
Friends getting into new romantic relationships ready for festive fun, coupled-friends becoming engaged, moving into new houses with their spouses, getting ready for the arrival of their tiny bundle of joy currently cooking in the human oven, along with everyone's literal cooking of their festive meats. Of course, I'm so happy for them and their celebration of their love for each other by hitting these relationship/love milestones. But what about those of us that haven’t hit those milestones yet, or those that don’t necessarily relate to those milestones and want to follow our own paths?
It's only 12 days until Christmas Day. This means that between now and that day, there may be parties and events where people will ask you about these milestones (because that seems to be the only topics for small talk.) Personally I’d rather speak about the awesome book I’m reading or how I managed to eat a sharing platter of Antipasti to myself because it tasted so good; the answers that I generally give seem to make people squirm a bit, and arouse faces of sympathy. It's the same on social media. People will notice that you seem to be posting more animal videos lately as a deter from the questions about your current life status. I’m sorry, did I say that I was miserable in the single state that I am in currently? No, I didn’t. Did the excitement about eating the Antipasti platter not come across enough as I re-enacted scooping salami into my mouth in delight?
At the same time that, yes I admit, having to regularly fight against the current of social norms when it comes to relationships and love is sometimes exhausting, especially when I'm one of the only singles left in my friend circles. However, it's also a liberating reminder that I'm not willing to settle just because of the festive period. Not saying in any case that others do, but I empathise with people who do start rapid dating and getting into potentially wrong relationships during this festive time because of loneliness, or fear of being alone, or fear of being judged in your singleness. And then there’s the relationship judgements for those of you in relationships, so it’s the judgement of your lack of engagement because marriage isn’t your thing, lack of a new house because living together doesn’t work for you (or you're not financially ready), or lack of wanting to have children.
Unfortunately, ‘I’m happy as I am’ apparently doesn’t count as a response to these questions about status, as it seems to confuse people if it doesn’t fit in with what they think should be the ideal festive film plot. And if it doesn’t fit their ideal, then the good old statement ‘you could always make it a New Years resolution to [insert social milestone here]’. This is where I will evidence my happiness with the help of copious amounts of food and wine, dance and be merry and show them that my love life is not all about hitting milestones. And whilst we're on the subject: neither should yours. Just because the festive period has arrived, doesn't mean that I want a man from Santa because everyone feels it should be the way. I want a pair of trainers so that I can prance around to that Wizzard song and then run away from the small talk. Maybe I might even run into someone who I warm up with just for the night?