Friday, August 22, 2008
Thoughts on being unlonely
The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until the other is ready.
- Henry David Thoreau
At first it wasn't my choice to be single. My last boyfriend vanished into thin air leaving behind only a tangle of secrets and lies. Being somewhat of a serial monogamist, I knew it would be a mistake to rush into another relationship. So I gave myself time to heal. For me, healing involved becoming aware of myself and moving into a place of my own with no roommates and no distractions.
Six months of being single turned into a year. One year turned into two. To my surprise, I am still single three years later and am preparing to renew the lease on my place for a third time. All in all, this experience has been surprisingly satisfactory.
There have been a few lonely times (usually when I am feeling under the weather and wish I had someone to run to the drug store to pick me up some cough syrup or something). During these 36 months, I've also seen some of my best friends marry their partners, and that has made me wonder if I'll experience something like that someday. Weddings can make a single person feel sort of melancholy in spite of the joyful nature of the day.
Several months ago, I found the Thoreau quote at the top of this post and fell in love with it. After many years of obsessively pursuing relationships, I've finally learned how NOT scary it is to be alone. I've discovered the surprising bliss of not having someone else to wait on or wait for. I've learned to set my own schedule free from the obligation to check in with a partner. Losing that guy three years ago seemed like such a tragedy - but if it hadn't happened, I wonder if I ever would have found myself.