Growing up in utter isolation in the countryside gives a child an independence that will stand them in good stead forever.
I learned from an early age, that if I did not do things alone, I didn’t do them at all. I would see groups of pals that grew up in the estates and towns and never felt that I needed that kind of companionship, that neediness for company in order to do anything, or go anywhere.
Things did not change as I got older, I was always isolated because of location, or circumstance. My independence became a certain source of awe for acquaintances who had grown up surrounded by family or friends who would provide an easy source of social support.
I had no problem travelling the world alone, if I hadn’t I would have never gone anywhere.
The worst though is going to places filled with other couples, or as in Bridget Jones words, ‘smug married couples’. I eventually stopped going to hunt balls, once my favourite social event and to Point to Points because of how lonely those occasions made me feel.
A Phil Collins concert was too good to miss though, even though I knew I would have to go it alone. He was one of my favourite singers in years gone by and Face Value had been the soundtrack to a particularly fun part of my young adulthood.
As the stadium began to fill I had never felt so alone, surrounded by some 50,000 people all couples, enjoying spending time together. It was an amazing concert, the feeling of loneliness went away as we were all absorbed by the music.
Making my way out towards the end of the concert, I didn’t want to stay to the end in case I couldn’t get the coach home and didn’t fancy being stuck alone in the middle of the city in the small hours of the night. I’m not that brave! As I left a couple were leaving ahead of me, the woman clearly ill, with her partner taking solicitous care of her as they made their way down the steps and away from the venue. I did wonder what would have happened to me if that had been me.
Then the concert was over and the crowds began to pour out behind me and yet again I was alone again in the crowd.