Learning to be lonely

I find it incredibly interesting that if you were to walk up to most women and tell them they need to be single for an indefinite number of years, they would probably be immensely put off by the idea. Emphasis on most. Definitely not all women. As a young girl, I did not start dating until high school and everyone I dated felt obligatory. Either I got talked into it, or I just didn’t have the heart to say no. I mean, I usually had really good friendships with the guys and thought I would ruin it by saying, “sorry I just want to be friends.” Essentially, in high school there is no win in that situation- damned if you do and damned if you don’t. So I honestly never thought I would be afraid of being lonely. I was a pro at being by myself. Then came my junior year and I ended up saying “yes” to the first guy that I genuinely wanted to be with after knowing him for a solid year- we have been together ever since. Inseparable does not even begin to describe it. He was and is my best friend, therapist, confidante, and love- all rolled into one awesome package. Lucky, blessed, fortunate… they do not cut it as to how grateful I am to have that incredible relationship.

Then imagine one day you are driving home from college to visit family and he springs the m-word. Military. Dun. Dun. Dun. As a girlfriend, I am pretty sure that is probably the last thing you want to hear. Especially after being together for four years at the time. It takes a special kind of woman to do that, and I was not sure if I was strong enough but I was willing to try.

Fast forward almost two years later, and here I sit typing. Alone. Trust me, this is not a pity party. Yes, I am incredibly sad and tears come springing up into my eyes over the smallest thing. I feel like I have no control over my emotions as my body fights the change from being incredibly inseparable to someone very much on my own. I get to start from scratch, to learn how to be lonely again.

For years I have watched girlfriends pine, lust, date, and breakup with countless people trying to find “the one”. Sometimes I want to scream, “just be single!” I firmly believe that good things come when you least expect it, at least that’s how it went for me. Yet, here I stand, unable to make eggs for breakfast, unable to listen to my favorite songs, unable to wash his clothes, unable to look at the stars, unable to watch a sunset (the list is endless) because they all remind me of a billion beautiful memories of my significant other who I cannot even send a good morning text to. Holy guacamole I’m officially one of those girls.

I suppose I write this post for relief and to sort out my feelings, because my mind is telling me “get your act together” while my heart and body are going soft on me. I desperately need acceptance, but I’m fighting it all the same. At the end of the day loneliness has a bad wrap, because if I’m honest with myself I’m not alone. I had the honor to witness within the past few days how many lives M has touched and how many other people feel his absence alongside me. While loneliness is a very real feeling, it is a lie. Not only do I have countless others beside me, M is still out there pursuing his dreams… our dreams. Which, of course, reminds me of a quote from The Alchemist:

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Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Thingsonce said that:

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We all most learn to be lonely, and I feel like it is something that is very unappreciated and undertaught. But more than anything, it is the world’s biggest lie.

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So if I have any wisdom to impart to anyone out there going through a similar experience, it is that while you may feel lonely, you are not. Learn to be lonely and keep mindful of the present moment. I saw a quote the day after I left M at the hotel that said, “You don’t know how strong you are until it is the only choice you have.” Life is still beautiful and there are millions of beautiful people to share it with, but most importantly ourselves!
Best Wishes!

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2 thoughts on “Learning to be lonely

  1. A beautiful post. I’ve thought about this topic from a slightly different perspective. Most of my friends are married now and sometimes I wonder, “Is that guy really so great that you’re better off married than alone?” Far too many people are willing to put up with truly awful relationships simply because they’re afraid to be alone (among other reasons).

    1. Thank you! I’ve always thought the same thing. I’ve constantly been amazed when I watch people go through awful relationships just so they don’t have to be alone. I was always fine with being alone until one day I just wasn’t anymore. Then, when I had to say “see you later” for awhile it was like a whole new experience! I definitely wish, woman especially, could learn to be OK alone. The women that I watch do that are ones I look up to and admire! It’s great to be with someone who supplements your life, but the empowerment that comes with being strong independently is truly extraordinary. Thanks again for commenting! 🙂

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