It’s been quite a week.
Something took hold of me and I’ve revved into high gear.
I’ve written before about how as a single person I have a tendency to collapse into my bed. About how weekends and evenings can feel amorphous and insufferable. How with too much unstructured time on my hands I can suddenly become inert and immovable.
Well, something happened and I had an epiphany.
Here it is:
Unless I’ve really knocked myself out and earned it, I don’t like down time.
Without thinking too hard but with this in mind, I proceeded to fill most of my free time this week. As if I was on a mission, only less pressure.
Shout out to all the experts on being single and loving it: I AM friggin’ dating myself, and doing a hell of a job. Now back off, would ya?
My week has gone like this: Monday ceramics, Tuesday Ballet, Wednesday accupuncture…..I need to stop and explain Wednesday.
One of my darling patients grew up and now she does acupuncture. She’s thirty, if you can believe that. I just started seeing her even though I have no idea what acupuncture is supposed to be doing for me at the present moment.
The reason I think I’m going is that it seems to calm my nerves.
On Wednesday I was in a mood. I was melancholy and sad and just a basket of tears when I showed up for my session.
Nicole put needles over my heart and I really tried to chill but during the treatment I just couldn’t settle.
Nicole asked if I would like to try cupping.
Now I think cupping is somewhat insane although if people want little round hickeys all over their back then they should definitely go for it…but basically I think cupping is just weird.
So I said yes.
It was a little painful but also felt really good. A little owie, but also warm and fuzzy.
I left feeling better. And Thursday was really good. Fiddle lesson and then I saw Peter Bradley Adams at the Freight. Had a beer. Swayed to the music. Left when I’d had enough.
I had some good lunchtime hikes, too. And I made my 7am trainings with brother Gary at God’s Gym the entire week. I pushed myself.
By Friday, which is yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice that I was in a great mood!
I had a ticket to see Jimbo Scott – record release party. I got home from work and it was just hot and I almost decided to flop in bed and watch something.
But I said to myself….life is short, you’ll have plenty of time to flop one day, get out while you can!
So I went to the show and was rewarded with some of the best jamming I’ve heard in a long time. Which is really saying something.
Today I can choose between the Greek Festival, a second ceramics class (it’s hard to wait for Monday), some shows I want to watch, playing music or I can do all of it.
Tomorrow I have a vegan cooking class I signed up for through Meetup! and then I’m going to see Elton John.
Last minute, I decided to see Elton John and I bought one ticket.
That’s a big deal for me, and a big change.
Most of my single life, I’ve bought two tickets to everything I do. I’ve always figured that I’m doing such fun things that someone is going to want to join me.
Well, turns out, it’s hard to get people to do things.
My own mother can never seem to schedule in Opera in the Park with me, even though I know she wants to go, and even though it happens every year with plenty of notice.
Single life, unless you have a gaggle of extroverted friends, is pretty solitary.
It isn’t that I don’t put myself out there. I try. I invite people places and I talk to people. I especially talk to people when I’m out alone. A little of this and that. Hi to the band sort of thing.
But mostly I’m the girl dancing by herself off to the right.
I digress but what I’m acknowledging here is the absurdity of always buying two tickets when one is all I need.
Well, I’ve started buying one ticket. And it feels like a turning point.
I don’t know what that cupping did, but I feel like it healed my heart a little. This entire week I haven’t missed having a person to hang with. I have bought my one ticket with the clarity that I will be attending whatever it is on my own. And I’ve been fine with that.
Don’t tear up!
I have plenty of human contact and I do have a small little social life.
But I am walking around feeling perfectly complete and whole doing all this on my own and that is a big accomplishment, if you ask me.
It’s a big accomplishment, because you can’t will this feeling into existence. Okay, you can, but it takes time and energy and a lot of self-talk.
I’ve paid my dues when it comes to time and energy and self-talk.
I’ve lived with waves of crippling loneliness and deep sadness. I’ve done melancholy plenty. Over and over again. Don’t tell anyone, but I think a part of me likes it, because the feelings run deep – and deep and powerful is worth it even when it’s painful and hard.
But it’s still hard.
I’ve mentioned that being single for a short time is like a palate cleanse. It’s a breeze.
But being mostly single for years – I think it’s now four or five for me….well, it’s just a whole different bird. You start to feel like compared to all the coupled up people in this world, you’re an entirely different species.
The three month things don’t count. They are worth exploring, but shorter term relationships aren’t the same as settling in for the long haul. And I haven’t settled in in a long long time. It’s been so long that I almost can’t remember what it’s even like.
Nevermind. What I’ve got right now is the realization that when I am single, at least for now, I need to stay busy. Coming home and just hanging out for too long alone doesn’t work for me. It sucks a little, because I like hanging out at home with my person. But without a person, I’ve got to be careful to keep myself in motion, lest I crumple into a heap o’ sad and melancholy.
I’m accepting staying busy as a necessary evil.
I must be very careful with my down time.
Because what I’m doing is hard.
….. recent empty-nester …..demanding job…. lots on my shoulders. I can’t just take off and travel the world.
Nope. I’m managing a lot, solo.
We probably weren’t meant to manage it all solo. So don’t discount the struggle when you see a single person doing their thing. We appear to lead very full lives. We seem to get out and do more than the average person.
It’s a helluva ride, this staying active business. But we are also swimming and in constant motion because we have to be. We have to buy one ticket to a lot of things and show the hell up fueled by nothing but a desire to have a life, or risk fading into the sofa.
Humans are all very brave but single people are extra brave.
I read a good article about being single long-term and the author seems to feel very much the way I do about it. Nothing can match the energy and creativity that being single can add to your life. It can be quite an expansive and limitless place to reside.
But there is also a kind of existential terror that sweeps over you at times…..the terror we all feel what with being fundamentally alone in this world…the terror that for single people is just a little more pronounced and poignant.
Still, terror and all, I’m having a great week.
And I’m grateful for that.
And I’m grateful for single-life epiphanies like “stay busy for goodness sake” and “you only need one ticket so stop pretending you need two.”
Next week I’m going to see my daughter on Maui. After I trim some pots and take a barre class and hike a bunch and catch some live music. And work. I always get to work and I have the best job in the world.
Not too shabby.