I think the scariest part about being single is when I realize how much I enjoy being single because I realize how less than motivated I am to be with anyone and then… one day I might end up old and alone? And then what? I’d be…. HAPPY????
I think we – not as in ‘the royal we,’ but in the sense of ‘most of us’ given that I know that some of you people out there in blogland and beyond may not agree – spend so much of our lives worrying about being with ‘the one’ or finding ‘the one’ or questioning whether ‘the one’ we are with is the right ‘one’ that we are really avoiding looking at what (might be) the real truth, which is… that perhaps we actually ENJOY being by ourselves more than being with anyone else? And if/when you realize that, that can be a scary thought (unless you’re one of those amazing people who really ARE happy and single and proud. (What are you? A nun or something?)
I’m not saying I don’t enjoy people. Far from it. I find people fascinating. I am intensely curious about how other people’s minds work. And whenever I think I’ve got it figured out, I love how people always surprise me by throwing me curveballs. “Oh, Cindy is soooo anal retentive. She can’t handle not being in control all of the time.” And then Cindy shows ME wassup by going with the flow better than yours truly on the first day of her monthlies. However, sometimes other people’s minds are too much. When I walk along the beach, I am the one tempted to walk farther away than the rest of the crowd walking along the preordained path. I’m always happier ten steps behind or away from the crowd. I like being near the crowd, just not smack dab in the middle of it.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. Maybe some of you out there don’t agree with me, but I’ve met a lot of people who seem to be on the same page. Both longing for social connection and also completely fucking exhausted by it.
The only time I ever get scared being alone is…
- When I try to imagine spending a LOT of time alone. (So my solution is: don’t think about it and generally I don’t. And I’m fine.)
- (Solution? Turn on a light. Turn on some comedy. Call someone. Take a bath. Write.)
- When I see some (apparently) happy couple out and about either a) shopping together, b) strolling together in a park, c) pulling up to a fast food joint and ordering together, d) dropping their kids off at school together, e) sitting and holding hands at a wedding/funeral together, f) walking down the street in (pretty much) matching outfits together, and g) sitting silently but seemingly content at a restaurant because they have spent so many years together that thoughts travel via ESP back and forth across the table…together. (And my solution to being jealous of happy couples? Don’t look at ‘em. Or, better yet, feel pity for them because they’re probably miserable. Noooooo, I’m not that horrible. Just… lie to yourself and tell yourself you’re happy for them. Okay, done!)
I don’t know what the answer is except… just… get over it and be happy with wherever you’re at. No matter what. At least you can breathe and you’re (hopefully) not in too much pain at this moment in time. That’s enough to be happy about. That and a pint of Rum Raisin ice cream. Time to go to the stoooooooorrrreee!!!
Dear blog diary,
So I’ve learned a lot about small towns since moving to the northwest eight years ago. Spoiler alert: I like small towns even though partway with this blog it may sound like I don’t.
- At first glance, many people in smaller towns may seem cold. Almost without expression (if they don’t know you). I have pondered why for a long time. Is it because they’re shy? Is it that colder weather makes people more emotionally cold (not judging that as necessarily a bad thing since being ‘cold’ emotionally could mean you have a better handle on your emotions than those hot headed southern folk – not to stereotype, even though I just did).
- Everyone has their own experience of small town life. I’m not saying my experience is the same as anyone else’s necessarily but it’s what I have to go on. Anyway, what I’ve learned is that this cold exterior is a front. The longer I live here, the more I get to know the people and the more I realize that in pockets of moments sprinkled here and there over the years, those very same people who I thought were emotionally distant ended up being waaaaaaayyy friendly. It’s like a light switch is on or off with them. Most of the day people go through their day in the northwest with their light switch off. And then, if you say the right word or find the right topic that agrees with them to talk about, they open up their heart and suddenly I feel like this person who I had written off as a goner emotionally is actually a very nice human being. I often have way more than I could ever imagine in common with some of these very same people who I had felt looked at me like I was from Transylvania. It’s like…. Looking into a mirror when you are living in the northwest. A still, placid lake that reflects the mountains perfectly above it. If you feel like you’re from Transylvania, people around here won’t necessarily say ‘aye’ or ‘nay’ to your self-perception. They will let you be. So you have to be stronger than that, I believe, in the northwest. You learn to actually love yourself (not in a vain way, a healthy way) because people around here are not necessarily going to do it for you. Again, not a judgement call. Just a fact. Ok, a ‘fact’ in my experience. I’m not laying down the law. Just observing.
- Ok, last thing I’ve noticed. Time is different here. Once you begin to realize that you do have a lot in common with more people than you originally thought in this small northwesterly world, then you may begin to ‘feel’ like time slows down and even stands still occasionally. Again, not in a bad way necessarily although I know it can feel annoying at times, too. What I mean is that momentarily there is the feeling that all of the urgency and bad news and end of the world doom and gloom that is constantly shoved down our throats and which is, inevitably, probably mostly true is gone for a while. And you can actually have pockets of happiness when you feel connected and at peace and even content with the world as it is right now and there is even the feeling that – no matter what – it just doesn’t matter in the bigger scheme of things whether Trump is in office or whatnot. Ok, OF COURSE that shit matters too but what I’m saying is that without a moment or two or three of actual contentment and connection, it’s almost impossible to face the endless parade of nonsense that does filter in via the internet, etc. Which it is important to face and deal with. But you’ve got to have some moments of peace and contentment and connection and the way you arrive at that here, in the northwest, happens but it never quite happens the way you expect it.