I wander down narrow stone streets, past bright, whitewashed buildings, past doors painted in shades of creamy blue, past intricate iron gates. The evening sun is still warm. The sea, when I glimpse it, flashes turquoise and silver. I’m on Santorini, exploring the Greek island by myself. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve traveled alone. And I am perfectly content; perfectly at ease.
It’s a few years now since that trip to Greece, but that experience for me was pivotal. Santorini has become for me a touchstone, a reminder when I begin to feel uncomfortable with being alone. When I think back to my time on Santorini, I remember the freedom and the spaciousness of my alone-ness. I remember the leisurely meals, eaten in tiny restaurants overlooking the sea. I remember lingering in those restaurants, sipping a cold glass of white wine and watching the sun begin to set. Sometimes, I’d write. Sometimes, I’d just sit and breathe in the experience of solitude.
I remember losing myself in the labyrinth of streets, wandering with no greater purpose than to really see the place. I remember my delight in discovering another whitewashed home with a brightly painted door, another glimpse of the sparkling sea, another perfect vista. I remember rising with the sun, and heading out to photograph in the warm early morning light. I kept thinking, “I feel so content, so happy. This is what it feels like to be alone.”
I’m feeling much the same way these days. I am comfortable and content with my life just as it is. My work is challenging, and engages me fully. Family life is busier than ever, but still offers rich rewards. I am blessed with good friends. My writing nourishes me.
This is a good place to be. It’s the place I needed to get to after the end of my relationship with Griff. It’s been a long journey, nearly a year now. But these days I feel balanced and healthy and whole.
Does it mean that I want to be alone long term? Not at all. I love being in a relationship, I love sharing my life with a man, I love all that good stuff. I’d like nothing more than to find the right guy. I know it will happen, and more and more, I feel ready for it to happen. But I feel no rush, no sense of panic. This is a good place to be.
The last morning of my stay on Santorini, I tread hundreds of stone stairs down to the beach. It’s early in the morning and there is nobody else around. The buildings are bathed in the soft early light and the sea sparkles a thousand shades of green and blue. At the bottom of the stairs, I find an outdoor cafe, deserted because of the hour. Pulled up onto the patio, beside a table, is a solitary boat. It is battered and its paint has worn away. This boat has seen storms. But as I come closer, I see that it still has oars tucked inside, and nets for fishing. This little boat, I realize, is biding it’s time until the tide is right. And then it will head out to sea once more.
Thanks to Marianne, who runs the CBBH photo challenge over at East Of Malaga. This month’s challenge is “Blue.” Thanks, too, to Transformed by the Journey, whose post on being a single Christian woman gave me food for thought as I was writing this post. When she posts photographs, they are beautiful.
Don’t forget to check out Le Clown’s Official Movember Launch.
And finally, thank you to all of you who come by on a regular basis to read my blog. I realized today that I’ve reached the milestone of 100 followers. I know that there are bloggers out there with thousands of followers, but for me, 100 is a milestone, and I am grateful to every one of you!