Retrograde ... men aren't the centre of the universe, just one of its many wonders.
My invitation to write a column for Cosmopolitan magazine could have been lost forever. I fortuitously found it in my spam folder, drowning in a sea of ads for Viagra and offers of sweet Russian mail order brides. It was 2007 and I had just started writing my blog, galadarling.com, a few months earlier.
The offer had been extended by Sarah Wilson, editor of Cosmopolitan at the time. She left the magazine shortly thereafter, to hike the Himalayas or something else utterly unfathomable. I lasted about five issues before a new editor came in and fired all the columnists - myself included. But from that unlikely beginning, Sarah and I struck up a friendship. Despite the fact that I moved from Melbourne to New York City later that year, our friendship grew, bolstered by obsessive blogging, a mutual interest in living the biggest, boldest life possible, and fancy dinners whenever she came to the States.
I'm endlessly inspired by Sarah. She's daring, thoughtful and kind, and she navigates the tricky world of media and fame with honesty and integrity. Sarah lives the life she wants to live and, as a self-described nomad, she's always having some kind of marvellous adventure.
Living life on her own terms ... Sarah Wilson resists societal pressure to settle down. Photo: Supplied
For example, she recently upped sticks to embark on an open-ended international trek. On her blog, she explained that there's no plan. Just a ticket to London and, from there, who knows.
By now, she's a few weeks deep into her travels. Instagram photos detail her European escapades in living Technicolour. Sarah's feed is fascinating and beautiful, and for those of us chained to our desks or stuck in gridlock, a lovely and much-needed escape.
I thought everyone felt the same way I did: thrilled for her, roused by her sense of freedom, and delighted to see every update. But I was wrong. A little while ago, Sarah posted an image of herself in southern France, standing next to a gold-encrusted statue of a saint. The caption read, "Blessed! 12th Century church, the fresco only discovered ten years ago." Sarah was smiling. In fact, she was glowing.
Then I read a comment underneath the photo, from a woman.
"What are you doing Sarah?! Go find a boy!!!"
I don't mean to demonise the woman who made this comment - I'm sure she was well-intentioned - but I felt like I was reading something from the 1950s.
Let's get a few things straight. Men are fun and falling in love is incredible, but is that all we aspire to? A relationship is only one lovely thing in a universe full of wonder! And love never comes along when you "go looking" for it! It happens when you're living life to the fullest and enjoying yourself. This is not an accident!
Who knows what Sarah will uncover on her adventures? Yes, maybe she will "find a boy". Maybe she'll meet a Greek shipping magnate who wants to lavish her with attention and Hermes handbags; perhaps she'll fall in love with an Italian fisherman with a good heart. But maybe she'll discover herself, instead.
When I asked Sarah how she took the comment, she said: "When you're 38 everyone worries for you on your behalf about your being single. Seriously, I get asked almost every day: 'Why do you think you're single?' It's part concern, part a sociological enquiry. People find it odd that someone can be happily, robustly, independently single. From my POV, to be 38 and single and happy with it, you have to keep defining your life on your own and being confident in it... so that enquiries and comments just slip by."
When we embark on a journey of self-discovery, we can't expect everyone else to understand. But surely it's not too much to hope for encouragement in the quest for self-knowledge. When we arrive at that sense of self, we're not the only ones who benefit. The rest of the world does, too.
Sarah doesn't need a boy. None of us do. We just need the space and time to forge a healthy, happy relationship with ourselves. Mind your heart and love will take care of itself.
Introducing Gala Darling self-described International Playgirl and Radical Self-Love Revolutionary. Her blog, Hello Darling!, will appear fortnightly in Life and Style but in the meantime, visit her website to learn more: galadarling.com