Today is my birthday. This time last year, I wasn't too happy about being another year older. Moving house and changing jobs was all part of a plan to try to get the sort of life I would enjoy on my own, having given up on waiting and hoping that I might meet someone with whom I would build a life together. I was firmly convinced that I would always be single, and was 99% resigned to that. What I was less resigned to was the idea that I would never have children, and I bought a larger house in the hope that I might one day be able to use the extra space to do some fostering.
I moved out of my old flat a couple of days after my birthday last year, and stayed with my sister for a few months until this house became available. One of the first things I did after moving in was to get a wireless broadband connection, and my television sat idle in the corner as I began to spend my evenings surfing the net.
I thought I was 100% resigned to staying single, but for some reason I still held out enough hope to decide to sign up with match.com. I had already tried Yahoo Personals a couple of years earlier, and the people I had met had no interest in getting to know me better - I never got past a first date, and my confidence in my attractiveness to the opposite sex sank even lower than it had been before.
So it was with some trepidation that I wrote a profile for match.com. I decided to be totally honest. I didn't beat about the bush and say things that I thought someone might want to hear - I said exactly who I was and what sort of qualities I was looking for in a partner. Having written my profile, I ran a search for anyone who might match my interests. The first profile it spat back at me was New Man's, and as soon as I'd read it I sent him an e-mail. He, too, had almost entirely given up on ever meeting someone, and had been browbeaten into signing up with match.com by his best friend.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Actually, that's not true. The rest is our future. I hope we'll be able to have children - it's what I've dreamt of all my life, and New Man would make a wonderful father. But one of the reasons I know New Man is the right man for me is that he's the only person I've ever been able to imagine being happy with even if we can't have children.
And so this year, I'm looking forward to my (ahem, 38th - but don't tell anybody) birthday with considerably more optimism. I love my job. I live in a lovely house, with friendly neighbours, in an ideal location. And most importantly, I'll be spending the evening out to dinner with my wonderful fiance.
This past year, I have been truly blessed. Deo Gratias.