My housemates and I were having one of our single days. One was at the tail end of an ill-advised romance with a 25-year-old manchild and the other finds it impossible to talk to men without wanting to punch them, or herself, in the face. Me? I'm just a moron. A good (and good looking) friend put his hands down my pants recently and I held my breath for 30 minutes in a bid to convince him that I was dead, just to stave off the chance of anything being awkward ever. "Other people are getting laid/married/pregnant/rich," we lament, frequently. "What the fuck is wrong with us?"
Playing dead aside, there's nothing wrong; we just aren't them. It's human nature to look at other people and want what they've got - I've never been able to forgive my cousin for the insane collection of Hulk Hogan toys he had when we were 10, and though I've grown out of such bitter bouts of envy, I still see what other people have and count it against all that I am.
The internet is part of the problem here. Sure, it has it's charms: I can chat to my gorgeous sister face to face whenever I need a 13-year-old to put me in my place and I can while away whole evenings Googling 'sexy Jeff Goldblum,' but I can (and do) also spend hours trawling through Facebook to see the best and most polished, premium version of everyone else's life. It's a dangerous and stupid sport to take part in and I urge you to stop it right now. Perhaps, when we were trading Pokemon in the playground, joy was quantifiable, now it isn't.
This isn't a new epiphany, although it was hammered home last week after a few too many Monday night cocktails. I was out with work and it got to be leaving time. I blinked into the still-light world, a little bit gin-dizzy and a little bit... alone. There were couples everywhere. To my left, my right, just in front of and just behind me. It was like a zombie film, I was surrounded, but instead of hungry eyes gawping out of rotting flesh, I was surrounded by happy, hand-holding, laughing-at-nothing faces. Even my friend was rugby tackled on the way out of the bar by a Tinder match. A quick glance at Facebook showed my sister (not the 13-year-old!) beaming next to the soon-to-be-occupied cot in her baby's room.
I plugged in my headphones and waded through the London crowds, agreeing with Morrissey as he crooned about all of the things and all of the people he hates. I only paused to take in my surroundings when I got to Carnaby Street. The orange light of sunset was dripping from the glitter draped street signs and the city's ever-so-distinctive buildings tipped me a wink to let me know I wasn't lost. I took a shortcut to the raging inferno that used to be the Central Line, passing so many of my favourite places that had been shared with so many of my favourite people and felt the dark cloud of single do(o)m begin to lift. Alone I may be, but lonely I'm not. Nowhere near.
As I got home (after an emergency fried chicken stop) I got a text from the pregnant sister: 'The baby is 7lbs already and I have THREE WEEKS left. A watermelon has moved into my vagina. I can't do anything but sit naked in front of a fan. Are you drinking??? I hate you.'
All this is to say one thing: you're doing just fine, you excellent little creature. Whether you're single, dating, married, in a polyamorous relationship with a family of shepherds or dedicating your life to cats... This is your unique and ludicrous adventure, so stop counting what others have and take in your surroundings.