When I started this blog five years ago, I hadn't calculated that in chronicling my writing pursuits, enumerating each rejection toward acceptance by a publication, that I'd also be recording the ups and downs, ins and outs of my life in general. Now, I'm so used to coming to this space and doing exactly that. I have a new entry to make tonight in this ongoing chronicle.
I understand better now that five years ago I wasn't yet able to comprehend what life would look and feel like if I didn't hide behind the facades of “Everything's fine! Really!” I plodded along, making the best of untenable situations thinking that was the best strategy—the one that would serve me, and my daughter, best.
As I've written many times, I was wrong.
If you've followed this story for a few years, you know the tide changed—and in shorter time than I expected things changed for the better. I have this blog and the friends who coached me to tell my stories to thank for that.
This evening I had plans to talk with a friend who lives too many time zones away. It takes some maneuvering for our schedules to jibe, which means we don't talk on the phone much.
While I was on my lunch walk, I got a message that he needed to reschedule our call. Things come up. Of course we can find another time.
But then I felt this wave of disappointment wash over me. I kept walking up the hill, feeling the afternoon sun heat up the skin under my denim shirt. I did a mental scan of my thoughts and sensations inside my body. My reaction was growing bigger, sadder, angrier. I asked myself, “What does the moment, this reaction of mine, have to teach me?”
See, that's how I'm different these days. I let myself feel all the feelings, and I don't berate myself for what answers surface. I noticed that my reaction was bigger than the phone call cancellation called for. Things come up. I wasn't mad about that. I'm flexible. I can deal.
I kept walking. Then I sat in the shade, caught my breath. My daughter who is home bound on summer break FaceTimed me. I was glad for the distraction. We talked for awhile and then still keeping her company, I headed back to work. The walking is SO good in moments like this. It ensures that all the sensation, all the feeling keeps moving. It doesn't have a chance to get stuck.
Over the next few hours, with the help of some friends who heard me out as I texted my way to better understanding myself, I discovered that indeed, the canceled phone call was not the source of my angst. The deeper answer was that for as much as I say that I love being single and I love my own company, and I am relishing my alone time, the truth is I feel lonesome.
Over the past three years, I kept those feelings mostly at bay with two long-distance friendships that served as buffers. We were in regular contact and so even though these men lived out of town and our contact was primarily by text, I felt like I had company.
These friendships were crucial to helping me settle into my new life, and I am eternally grateful to them. But as with the ebbs and flows of all aspects of life, these friendships changed. While I know these changes are for the best, it doesn't change that I miss the company.
I am lonesome, which feels different from being lonely. I don't want to fall in love yet. I don't have the energy for romance while I have an eleven-year-old asking if I've been on a date on the weekends she's not with me. That's new territory that I need more time to adjust to--I'm not ready for all of that.
What I am ready for is a guy friend who lives in the metro area. To have someone who will watch the new episode of David Letterman's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction on Netflix. Someone who will meet me for a walk around Creve Coeur Lake, go kayaking, or meet for coffee after yoga.
My current situation bores me. I feel like a broken record vacillating between loving my independence and wishing I had someone to share time with. Today I decided it was time to try something different, and I'm the only one who can change the plot line. I'm not sure what different looks like yet, but I know that doing the same thing—waiting at my library for handy, bearded readers who like to travel and listen to Avett Brothers-and expecting different results is insanity. It's also yet to work.
So maybe I'll try online dating, or join an adventure book club or fill-in-the-blank (I'm open to ideas). I took no big actions tonight other than baking fish and veggies, watching the two West Wing episodes I know will make me cry, and writing this post.
Historically, the best things have happened when I decide it's time for a change and to do something that scares me. We'll see what happens. You know I'll keep you posted.