I’ve been in serious relationships since I was 18. 18, you guys! And when I say serious, I mean I gave 200% of myself, and then some. But honestly, there comes a time when it all feels like too much.
In my younger years, it was a totally different story. There was absolutely no way you could convince me that being alone was a good thing. I used to wonder why people chose to be single, and just never really got it. Why was independence and freedom so important? Why didn’t they want the camaraderie? I immediately dismissed the single folks because they were just…different...from me. I wasn’t built for the single life, I’d tell myself.
Well, it seems that life had a compleeeeeeetely different plan for me. I always say adversity comes to you in the form of a lesson, and man, did I have lessons (and still do!) to learn in this lifetime. Above all else, I valued romantic love more than anything else in this world. It was an absolute deal breaker for my life, and if I didn’t have that, I’d consider my life a total flop. Looking back, that was pretty harsh, don’t you think?
So, it wasn’t until this year that I decided to be alone. Let me tell you, just because I chose it, doesn’t make it easy and I struggle like crazy. However, choice lets us control the sails of our boat, no matter how rough and rocky the waters. There’s comfort in that control, especially when things can turn gut-wrenching in a hurry. I went into this knowing it’d be painful, but I also knew I’d come out better for it.
To be completely honest with you, I never learned how to be alone, and I know I’m not the only one. There’s a beautiful blog written by Kavitha Rao titled, “Indian Women Are Never Taught How To Be Alone, And That’s A Problem.” I was immediately attracted to that title, aren’t you? You can read more about Rao’s views here.
At the age of 42, I had a choice to make. I could either embrace my aloneness and grow from it, amidst all the muckiness it offers, OR I can forever be entrenched in relationships where I had no breathing space or sense of self—but I stayed because it was familiar. (Pro tip: Don’t let familiarity fool you; it sneaks up on you.)
When I embraced aloneness, it was an invitation for me to finally find clarity. There’s no better way to gain clarity than in the company of your own silence, y’know? I created white space for myself. While not altogether glamorous (like my nights out with my girlfriends or travels), I found solace in this white space.
I started to build a routine around my aloneness, and I began to crave it. At the end of the day, when I’d finally flicked off that computer, fed the kids, washed the dishes, and settled into my own lonesome space, I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. I could warmly welcome my journal’s company. I could check in with myself. It’s almost as if I’d enter into a Do Not Disturb zone, and it felt good.
On the flipside, my single mature girlfriends are too busy trying to find their right man. I feel their aches, but I’m also an eternal optimist—what’s meant to happen will happen. (They hate it when I say that.) I think they’re too uncomfortable being alone because society places so much weight on relationships as a measure of success.
There’s that word again—society. It’s a thorn in my ass, really. Happiness is important, and I don’t think anyone would argue that point. But who’s to say you can’t find that happiness in your aloneness? It takes effort, obviously, but it can be cultivated, created, and nurtured—just like a relationship. It’s all about your mindset.
While I’m all for dating sites, they’re just not for me. I can’t seem to get myself to put in any more effort into finding love because I’m spent—I have enough on my plate with my boys and my work, let alone trying to score the attention of some dude who may or may not be the one for me. Quite frankly, I believe that if you do the work on yourself, love will seek you out. And that’s such a beautiful invitation, don’t you think?
In the meantime, for the most part, I’m loving my own company and the liberation that comes with it. It’s such a new and exciting feeling for me, and I can’t get enough. By sitting with my loneliness, I’ve been reminded that I’m enough. I’m reminded that the answers have been within me this whole time. And I’ve been reminded of what I need, and when the time is right, it’ll show up.
And just like my favourite quote states:
Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end yet.
– The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel –