Why I’m determined this is going to be the year I find love
The year 2013 will be full of landmarks for me. Twenty-five years on the island of Ireland, 20 years living in Bangor, 10 years as a single mum, five years divorced, not to mention a big Golden Jubilee-type birthday (don't ask, it's not polite).
And in the middle of all this, I've yet to plan that mid-life crisis I've been promising myself for so long.
It's going to be hectic.
But among the numerous New Year resolutions that I made — seeing the Aurora Borealis, taming a robin, drinking more whiskey and growing old disgracefully in general etc — there is one I'm absolutely determined to attain in 2013.
This is going to be the year in which I finally find love and live happily ever after. End of.
To say that 2012 was an absolute annus horribilis in my love life would be a gross understatment. It was a catalogue of catastrophes from start to finish. Older and wiser? What nonsense. In my 49th year I didn't even have the sense I was born with.
January saw me setting off to a date in Dublin with a professional poker-playing playboy from London who was there to compete in a world tournament.
“Come on down!” he said. “It'll be fun! There's a dinner dance on the last night of the competition and we can hopefully celebrate my winnings! So get glammed up and let's paint the town red!”
Now, of course I didn't have high hopes of finding lasting love with this one; it was more of an adventure than anything else. Maybe I'd watched Indecent Proposal once too often and got caught up in the sheer excitement of it all. Visions of Robert Redford smouldering in a white tuxedo as he sipped on vintage Courvoisier on the deck of his private yacht sprang to mind as I got glammed up and prepared to paint the town red.
So off I went to Dublin full of derring-do, only to be met by a tear-stained, dejected loser who had just blown his life savings on a card game that didn't exactly turn up trumps.
He obviously didn't have a very good poker face, and now he didn't have a penny to his name either — but I did as I gritted my teeth, bought him a drink and smiled sympathetically while waiting for my return taxi to Connolly Station.
After a few more false starts, the year ended with another vast error of judgement, in which I began dating Dr Jekyll around Halloween only for him to turn into Mr Hyde by Christmas. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say the only festive spirit I encountered at Yuletide came out of a whiskey tumbler.
Nevertheless, as always, I remain as resilient as a Christmas cake tin. So it's onwards and upwards in my tireless quest for love in my landmark year.
And I'm delighted to say that so far it's looking very promising indeed.
In fact there's a handsome, successful and charming suitor flying in to Belfast from England this weekend simply to take me out on a date. Robert Redford eat your heart out!
Now I'm off to get glammed up, all over again ...