Archives for posts with tag: going solo

Let’s overlook how often I simply choose not to go out to some event, or show, or whatever I thought I’d talked myself into – because that’s a thing I totally do (and I highly recommend it, myself, since I think forcing myself to attend events I don’t feel up to for whatever reason is a rather stupid use of my time, generally). I do like “doing stuff”, going places, seeing sights, hearing music, hiking trails, exploring the world and getting to know its bizarre inhabitants; I love all that. Mostly. Sometimes.

I live alone. Which I also like. Sure, I have a committed and adoring partner. Sometimes there’s a lover in the picture. I have friends. Associates. Assorted hangers-on of one variety or another. A tribe. A social circle. A scene. I live my life in the company of other humans living their lives. Excellent stuff for keeping good company – and I recommend that, too; we are social creatures. Our lurking ever-present need for intimacy, connection, and contact doesn’t somehow dissipate over time spent in solitude. I definitely enjoy the company of others. I don’t always have it. So, okay… what to do in the context of being alone, and wanting to do stuff…?

Go do stuff.

No kidding. It’s that simple. Farmer’s markets excite you? Go to those. Have a determined passion for growing lovely flowers? Go to places where flowers grow, where plants are sold, where gardens are planned – obviously. Maybe art is your thing? Lots of museums, galleries, and art shows to attend! Antiques more your thing? Cars? Beaches? Surfing? Concerts? Travel? Exotic dining? No problem; the world is vast and entertaining, and all the options exist. Do the verbs. Go to the places you dream of.

Alone?!

…Why not alone?

After my break up with my most recent ex I sort of… stopped doing things I enjoyed for some time. I’d pulled the same bullshit maneuver within a short while of being with the ex prior to that one, too. I was just… fuck it. Ennui. I trudged through my experience, supporting my then-partner’s desires to go and do and be, and tolerating the full-time discouragement of my own interests. I didn’t know how to do differently. The relationship before that one… was worse. Over time, learned helplessness crept in, and I failed myself in a rather large way. <shrugs> So okay, fast forward to this great relationship… still carrying these bad habits, and a total lack of skilled self-care. In a practical sense, one reason I made the choice to live alone was to sort some of this shit out. Learning good self-care was a much higher priority than museums, coffee houses, poetry readings, open mic nights, picnics in parks, small venue concerts… surviving was a bit more important, it seemed then, than thriving.

I was wrong though. I was incorrect about the importance and relative value of doing the things I love. Oh, not in a monstrous or malicious or hateful way. I just didn’t understand what living well could look like, built on my own choices; there were verbs I just wasn’t using. I didn’t understand that those things I personally thrive on might help me along my way, even help me sort out some of the chaos and damage, as well as provide opportunities for new connections with other humans.

I live alone. That’s just one characteristic about my life. I enjoy a lovely brunch out with friends. I also enjoy brunch alone. I enjoy brunch. 🙂 I enjoy music, and the events and artists I want to see represent my own taste – sometimes going alone makes for a very special evening, since I won’t spend any of it wondering if the person attending with me actually enjoys it, or is just being polite in their silent misery. I like the things I like whether I am alone or not.

I’m just saying – take time to do the things that excite and interest you, whether you do them with someone else, or alone. They are still the things that excite and interest you. You will still grow from those new experiences. They subtract nothing from your experience to do them alone. It is your journey. Your experience.  🙂

…Clearly ballroom dancing will be easier to enjoy with a partner, but… yeah. In general. Go do the stuff you love. Yes, and alone, also – why the fuck not? lol

My calendar for the autumn and upcoming winter months has filled out nicely. I’ve got tickets for a couple of concerts I’m excited to see. A couple trips down to see my Traveling Partner. Quiet weekends in the studio, or out on the trail (while the weather holds up)… brunch… farmer’s markets… I’ve got a lot to look forward to, which I enjoy rather a lot just by itself. The anticipation, I mean. Choices and verbs. And planning. And living.

Don’t wait around. This is your life. You can live it, fully, delightfully, and even beautifully – even if you’re going solo on this journey. 🙂

I’ll be moving over the next day or two, and while I am sure I will have plenty to say about it I am also aware that all that can keep another day or two besides, and that once I power down my laptop for the last time before the movers arrive tomorrow, it will be a week before my internet connectivity exists outside my phone, or my office. I could tether and go on with writing, but instead I will take a break, enjoy some down time, and focus on the tasks and process at hand.

If you are missing me, in the interim, and we’re associates offline, please email me or phone or reach out on Facebook; all those things are at my fingertips most of the time. (It is the 21st century, after all.)  If your sole connection to me is through these words, and you find yourself missing the sound of my voice, please check out the Reading List or play a nice hand or two of blog post roulette – I sometimes find some lovely moments lurking in past posts.

I’m ready and excited to move. I feel capable, and the time spent planning has paid off enormously. I will miss these few still moments in the morning, writing over my coffee, even for the handful of days that I am away from it. It is a valued self-care practice, and a lovely nurturing routine, for me. I do have others, and they will get their turn to shine this week. 🙂  I hope your moments are well-chosen, and that you take care of you. Enjoy the journey!

See you on the other side…

I will, thanks. :-)

I will, thanks. 🙂

If you were to find that you must quickly, and immediately, depart for ‘points unknown’, and do so in as prepared a fashion as you could with minimal time spent ‘getting your things together’…what would you take with you?

Too much? Not enough? What matters most?

Too much? Not enough? What matters most?

Think about it for a moment. You can use any resources you may have – but whatever you take along on the journey needs to be light enough to manage alone, and serve you well for having rated high enough to be considered to take along, at all. You don’t know the destination – but I’ll at least observe that there will be challenges, and potential risk to your health, perhaps even your sanity. So. What do you take with you to handle most of your basic needs?

Are there also things you know with utter certainty you must leave behind?

If this scenario develops unexpectedly, in the wee hours perhaps, or late in the evening when you are already quite tired, or when you are in poor health, or hurting – does your packing list change? What about the time it takes to figure out the details?

What is on your list of essentials on life’s journey?

Today is a good day to consider questions. Today is a good day to travel light, and to be prepared for change. Today is a good day to reconsider my ‘packing list’ and lighten the baggage I carry day-to-day.

Sometimes growth and progress feel a bit like a fancy pattern of dominoes lined up carefully in a row, standing, waiting…for one small push, and having received it, they topple one into the next, as necessary as breathing, to a conclusion that sometimes both surprises, and also seems rather obvious.

Yesterday was a good day. It was not without emotion, but emotions were not overwhelming or disabling me. Work was work. Home was home. I was feeling a tad on the practical and ‘no  nonsense’ side by the time I got home. Still, it was a pleasant evening of hanging out. Uneventful. Calm.

I felt inspired off and on, and excited to explore new thinking on old pain…and took notes all day. Looking those notes over this morning, there is an evident thread of hurt and frustration woven through the narrative of the day that only shows up in the brief, sometimes terse, observations that although significant seeming, were a distraction from the workload facing me. I look back on them and wonder how much of it is truly relevant; damn little of it is at all inspiring now. I am at a place in life where it would certainly be a goodness to give up day-to-day employment to focus on my own needs and agenda…but our society isn’t really set up that way, and the financial obligations of adulthood find me continuing to maintain employment.

I’m committed to slowing things down a bit, and taking care of me. The timing is right for planning the upcoming hiking/camping for the year, and I enjoy the planning and anticipation, itself. I’m eager to be out among the trees, in the stillness, just being. Quiet and content, and able to hear my own thoughts for more than 5 minutes at a time…trees rustling in breezes…small creatures approaching with cautious curiosity…home. This week I think I made a small breakthrough with regard to emotional self-sufficiency, love, lust, and sexual needs. Explaining it well would require words I have not yet mastered, but I feel more connected within myself, which has apparently been holding me back of late. There’s some other stuff, important on the inside… perspective… identity… self… other… (and much, much more!)

I didn’t sleep well last night. Meditation sort of… consumed a bunch of time unexpectedly. Then there were some lovely minutes of cuddling. Then… I was awake. Awhile. A long while. No fussing or anxiety to it, I just wasn’t sleeping. I went back to meditating at a number of points, which I have been finding definitely keeps the anxiety at bay. I feel okay this morning. I know I’ll be tired tonight. Managing good self-care throughout the day will be critical, and I make a point of taking note of that need for attentive self-care, and set a small number of extra reminders for today; later on I may not be my sharpest.

Here it is another day. Will I learn something new? Will I make good choices and treat others well? Will love find me in some unexpected moment? Will sorrow? I hear the espresso machine in the background and I think of love… and coffee. Today is a good day to make good choices. Today is a good day to take the time to take care of me. Today is a good day to slow down for a moment, and really just savor it. Today is a good day to change my experience.

Taking the journey with my eyes open, and walking a mindful path... what will I see?

Taking the journey with my eyes open, and walking a mindful path… what will I see?

 

Love is wonderful. Life is fairly amazing as experiences go. We are, however, imperfect mortal human primates, made as much of flaws and bad decision-making as we are of ‘star stuff’. This human experience is complicated. In every moment of misery, I try to hold on to something I find to be true about suffering, which is that the intensity of suffering tends to be a fair indicator of the magnitude of joy I am also capable of feeling. Some days that’s not much in the ‘something to hold on to’ department, but paired with ‘this too shall pass’ it’s generally enough to get by on, in a bad moment.

This morning I raise my mug in wry appreciation for the misery that woke me. I’m grateful that my traveling partner was awake, and there with a warm hug, and a hot latte. I woke feeling bereft, cut off, lonely…’lonely’ doesn’t really do the emotion that woke me justice. It was the loneliness of the friend standing by as the person they yearn for talks about ‘finding someone just like you’. It was the loneliness of the ‘tween who wants with so much hunger…and hasn’t yet become woman enough to be interesting romantically. It was the loneliness of sleeping alone, of waking alone, of being alone…and wanting intimacy and connection and companionship so much more than solitude. It was the loneliness of love lost, and the loneliness of the realization that what had been found wasn’t love at all. It was the loneliness of being ignored, or being forgotten. It was the loneliness of being unpopular. It was the loneliness of walking away. I woke feeling every lonely moment I have ever known, simultaneously delivered as a single waking moment, a sort of distilled essence of loneliness. The power of it was horrific. I woke stunned and emotionally immobilized long enough to take my morning medication, and try to go back to bed, uncertain what else to do. I felt ‘coated in distance’.  I pulled the covers over me, made my body comfortable, took a breath and relaxed to return to sleep and… and then I cried. I cried for every lonely moment I’d ever felt that I didn’t have tears for at the time. My heart melted, and it broke, and I cried until no more tears would come. I am clearly not going to be going back to sleep.

Thoughts of coffee differ from actual coffee.

Thoughts of coffee differ from actual coffee. It’s strange how intensely real thoughts can seem.

I finally woke up enough, some minutes beyond the crying, to realize that just laying there was pretty pointless, and, well… coffee. I got up and went first to my traveling partner, rather reassuringly relaxing in the living room and reading his email, sipping his morning coffee, looking for all the world like a man having a nice morning, in a world that is…just fine. He asked me how I’m doing, and I said it simply enough, without baggage or drama, “I woke feeling lonely and weird.” I accepted the offered hug, and he held me for the rest of our lives – well, no, actually just for some moments of lovely warmth and comfort, but it felt good – reassuring, safe, and comforting. By the time I sat down at my keyboard, with my latte, my heart was already feeling calmer, and the loneliness I woke to was receding. I have to wonder…how deeply can I connect to someone, how intimately close can I be with another human being, how vast is my capacity to love – if the loneliness that woke me is something I am able to feel, at all – and not only to feel, but to endure, and survive? Wow. I am eager to find my way to that connected intimate place.

Loneliness is a painful emotion to experience, and one that I find difficult to discuss, or to ease. I don’t often feel it so intensely; I enjoy my own company, greatly. For so many years my ability to connect with someone on a deeply intimate level, and my interest in doing so, was very limited. Lonely didn’t come up much, because I hadn’t the capacity to recognize I was missing something when I was alone, and when I did feel lonely it was generally a fairly biological thing driven by hormones and sexual needs, not at all on the order of the powerful loneliness experienced by someone yearning for a cherished deeply felt intimate connection that has been lost, or the loneliness of heartbreak. Perhaps learning to love truly well must include the experience of loneliness, to be valued in full? That seems a positive way to consider it, and I’m content with that for now.

I don’t know what today has to offer, or the weekend ahead, or the work week that follows. I am adaptable, life is unscripted, and reality brings spontaneity and change every moment of every day. Today I am a fearless explorer on a journey into an unknown future, with only ‘then’ and ‘now’ as compass and map. I hope to discover great things. Today is a good day to discover love.