As I write this, I’m 63-years-young. Except for one ten year period from 38-48 and three years from 53-56, I’ve lived alone since I was 24. Most of the time, I’m OK with that. But, sometimes, just sometimes, I’m not.
Today, while I was on the treadmill, I heard a song by Collin Raye. It’s called “Love, Me” Here’s the beginning of it.
I hear something like this, or I go to a movie and watch some kind of a love story unfold onscreen and I get sad. I think about all I’ve missed in the 39 years I’ve lived on my own. No great love to spend my time with. No one waiting for me to come home. And, I have to remind myself it’s a choice; not always one I’m happiest about and I’d bet it’s not one I’ll choose to change in the near future. The question I’m asking myself is what’s the payoff to being by myself?
I recognize there were three times in my life where there was a special relationship. One of those, I made a huge mistake in leaving. One, she left me; but I did nothing to try and win her back. The third, I married only to find out neither of us was willing to do the work to make it a marriage. It ended after only three years.
My belief is I’m lazy. In work, when I have a job, I work hard. I don’t however, do the really hard work which for a sole proprietor is the marketing. I get by. On this blog, I haven’t been willing to “Hit 500 balls until your hands bleed.” It’s been nearly nine months since my previous post. A part of that I can attribute to that overbearing feeling, fear. I had a post in the can from seven months ago. I was afraid it might cause some hard feelings. I sat on it and eventually did publish it. Hard feelings? People mad at me? Not yet. Maybe never. Once upon a time, when I let myself run unfiltered, I got myself in a lot of hot water. It’s the time I refer to as my ‘Peck’s Bad Boy’ era. Once I started walking around consciously aware of that behavior, the part of me I call the ‘Risk Manager’ steered me in the opposite direction: overly cautious about what I do and say. But, I stray…
Lazy. It’s easier for me to be alone than to work at being in a relationship. Yet, I see relationships, on film, in real life, in a song and it’s what I long for. Not willing to “Hit 500 Balls until your hands bleed.” I want happily ever after. I want to write a song about it. Yeah, right. If I wanted it that badly, I’d be willing to do the work. What’s the payoff for remaining alone?
I believe another part of me, another area I can attribute to the ‘Risk Manager’ is I’m terrified of having someone leave, by choice or by death. It’s true for me about pets, also. In 1998-99, I lost my first cat; he was preceded by two dogs. I vowed never to get another pet because of the grief. It overwhelms me in the short term. It may be only two weeks, that’s about how long I cried when my last pet died in December. It seems like the pain of the loss will never go away. And…it will. I’m just not willing or wanting to deal with it. That sense of loss is exactly what I felt the first time I walked into my house after my divorce. It was unbearable. It lasted two weeks. Two weeks! Out of nearly 3,300. Something’s not adding up right? Not necessarily. Those two weeks, grieving for a pet or for the loss of someone in my life are enough of a deterrent for me to keep me living on my own. Sad, maybe, but it’s a reality in my life. What’s the payoff?
I get to live comfortably in the world I’ve created for myself. I don’t have to stretch into anything. I don’t have to work at anything. I can avoid both the success and failure of a relationship. I can avoid both the pain and the joy. I can continue with things being ‘just so’ without fearing the outcome. I can continue to see films about relationships or listen to songs about them and be sad about that missing part of my life. I can be happy and sad. I can live the life I’ve chosen. Regrets, I have a few (isn’t there a song in that?) For the most part, on most days I’m fine; but sometimes, just sometimes, I’m not.
Deuteronomy 29:9-28: “I have set before you life & death, the blessing and the curse, ” Moses concludes. “Therefore choose life, so that you may live.”
I do. I choose life. With or without a singular relationship. Because, in my life I have relationship with many. Friends, family, new persons who come into my life as customers but turn out to be much more than that. Persons I went to high school with; probably never said more than a dozen words to, but now, through the wonder of the Internet and places such as Facebook, have become some of my closest friends. Persons I have met through New Warrior, Woman Within, The Artist’s Way. Teachers and their families who’ve welcomed me into their lives as if I was always meant to be there. Persons I could call or message on a moment’s notice and get support if needed.
Persons who choose to love me for who I am, warts and all.
When things seem dark or bleak to me, I need only open my eyes to find it’s actually easy to let the light in. Open my eyes! What a concept! Who knew it was that simple?
So, if you come here to the blog, and don’t find something new, don’t give up on me. I’ll meet you when my chores are through; I don’t know how long I’ll be. But I’m not gonna let you down, just you wait and see. And between now and then, till I see you again, I’ll be thinking of you, and you me.
How Am I Changing? I’m looking at my life realistically. And for me, that means accepting the sadness with the joy; the bad with the good; the curses and the blessings. It’s tough sometimes, but so’s life. But not always!