Alone is not my natural resting state. I am a social creature, a woman who loves to be surrounded by family and friends, and who especially loves to have a man in her life. And it’s really that last kind of alone, that “no man in my life” kind of alone, that I struggle with. So getting to a place where alone feels comfortable isn’t going to be easy for me. I realized as I was driving to work this morning that this is the first summer since I was 22 that I’ve been on my own. Alone, as you can see, is not a place I much care for.
But it’s time for me to try it out for a while. I’ve done it before. After my divorce, I was on my own for 18 months (with a brief and delicious summer fling thrown in just to keep me going). And what I learned during that time is that I have to be absolutely true to myself. I have to keep asking myself, “What do I want? What fills me up? What brings me joy?”
The answers – most of them anyway – are pretty simple: quality time to connect with my boys and with my friends; solitude for writing and reflecting; work which challenges me; time in nature; exercise; healthful food; reading material that inspires me and stretches my thinking; sleep; new experiences; and adventure.
When I’m mindful about it, I can find ways to incorporate all of these things into my life. In essence, it’s all about taking care of my own needs, of providing myself with what fills me up and what brings me a sense of serenity. It’s about relying on myself rather than relying on somebody else.
As I’m writing this, I’m filled with a deep sense of calm. It feels right to be doing this. Already I feel more peaceful and more centered. It’s a place I need to inhabit for a while.