Being single and . . .
Jennifer Muldowney says she has thoroughly enjoyed living the single life. Photograph: Cyril Byrne.
. . . in my 30s
Jennifer Muldowney (30) is an event planner and lives in Dublin
“I don’t know that I’ve actually ever really been in a serious relationship as such. I’ve gone out with guys for a couple of months, but there’s never really been anybody who I wanted to stick around.
“I’ve been described by my friends as ridiculously fussy, but I feel like when it’s right, it will be right. That’s just me. I’ve never settled for second-best. I’ve met some really lovely guys but there has to be a spark.
“I’ve a lot of friends who have been in and out of relationships all their lives while I’ve been mostly single, and I have to say, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
“Yes of course, I’d like to meet Mr Right . . . If somebody comes along and they are perfect and it works, brilliant but if they don’t, then I’m happy out as I am, too.
“I am running my own business so that’s probably my other half. I’m a very outgoing person, but the massive issue is I’m really shy when I like somebody.
“I’ve been at singles events and I’ve done the online thing – I’d happily go for a bit of craic to anything . . . but I hate the words ‘single scene’. I feel like it boxes you in.
“The thing I laugh about is that at family functions, I get the question, ‘How has something not snatched you up yet?’ Maybe it should be taken as flattery, but you feel like saying, ‘It’s not a shortcoming, you know.’
“I’d love to have kids, I’d love to share that with somebody, but if it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.”
“If you asked me if I’d rather have been going out with somebody for the past 10 years, I’d probably say ‘no way’. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the time and if I do find somebody, that will absolutely benefit me.”
. . . in my 70s
Joan Walsh (79), is a mother and
“My husband died 10 years ago and I moved in with my son for a year, sold the family home and bought a three-bedroom house where I have lived since. Five of my six children live within walking distance of my home in Skerries.
“I’m out a lot. I walk every day. I go to all the plays that Rush Dramatic Society put on. I go to the National Concert Hall. I was in local musicals and shows for 20 years but now I’m in a community choir. We rehearse every week and put on shows at Christmas and in the summer.”
Walsh says she is “pretty healthy” . She cooks for herself but no longer cooks big family meals. “I read a lot – even in the middle of the night if I wake up. I’m not as active as I was, which is why older people like me don’t always sleep well.
“I see family members practically every day. I follow everything my grandchildren do – from gymnastics to rugby and I love keeping up with all that. I also have a group of friends who I have met up with every Wednesday for the last 40 years.”
Walsh says she is in a financially sound position, having sold the family home at a good time. “I give my [adult] children money any time I can because they didn’t get so much when they were younger,” she says. Walsh says that she’s not lonely living on her own. In fact, quite the contrary: she feels that after leading such a busy life, she enjoys “a bit of peace”.