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Thursday 8 December 2016

Confessions of a reluctant bohemian

Published 03/10/2016 | 02:30

Brendan O’Connor
Brendan O’Connor

My father has a saying on his wedding anniversary, as the many years he has been married to one woman accumulate: "What's the alternative?"

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We laugh at it but there is a deeper point in there, isn't there? What's the alternative? If you don't want a long-term partnership to feel like a prison, you have to feel like it's a choice. And if it is a choice you make, then you probably have to ask yourself now and then what the alternative is.

I had an unexpected 'what's the alternative' moment recently when I was walking to work. I accidentally shared eye contact and then a smile with a woman. She looked, I thought, like a bohemian. She looked a bit epic. Tough, beautiful, strong, wilful, free-spirited, possibly contrary and difficult. She looked like a fantasy from a Woody Allen movie. And for a second, I thought to myself that that was the kind of girl I used to go for. And I wondered for a second if I would have a more exciting life if I had ended up with one of those girls. Maybe I would be travelling the world, living on a beach. Maybe I would be some form of artist or creative person.

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