Back when I was single, I occasionally wished I wasn’t. And by occasionally, I mean there were lots of times that I just wanted someone special in my life. I left the house (way, way) more often than I do now – I saw possibility in an interesting looking stranger on the train, in going to a fundraiser with a friend, in every single roller derby practice I went to. I may have browsed some online dating sites and even kept my eye on Craigslist a little (ew).
But I loved it. It took me awhile over the course of my life to really embrace being single, but I did. Even as I kept my eye out for someone, I was so happy being on my own. Yes, it was fun to go out, interact with the world, and find hope and excitement in pretty much every activity outside my apartment… but, guys? I spent so many nights doing exactly what I wanted to do.
Often, I admit, “exactly what I wanted to do” was drinking a glass of wine (or three), cleaning my apartment, and drawing or painting or making some sort of little art project. I went to bed feeling so accomplished, and ready for the next day and everything it might or might not hold for me.
This is something that I often forget to miss. It’s such a little thing that provided such low-key comfort. It’s not as important as exercise or spending time with friends – things I know make me feel good and that I need to be intentional about.
So here is a letter I wrote to myself:
Dear Bird –
What you need is some time with yourself. You need to remember who you are on your own and how to enjoy your own company and your self. You need to reconnect with your friends alone, sometimes – you need to do the same thing with yourself. And! You need to do the same thing with your pets and with your apartment. And sometimes you need Turtle to leave so that you can miss her a little. Trust me – you’ll be really, really happy to see her when she comes back.
P.S. It’s been nice spending this evening, just the two (er, one?) of us.
Here’s where the subject comes in: it is hard to do these things when you have someone in your life. It’s hard to not fall back on “let’s watch a movie,” or “let’s go for a walk,” or “let’s play a game,” or even, “argh, I’m so frustrated and I don’t know what I need!” which is what has been the most common refrain as of late.
So, I asked Turtle to leave for the evening. I came home from work, and she wasn’t here. And for a minute, I felt a little aimless. What do I do when step one isn’t kiss my fiancee hello? What do I do when I have to make the decision by myself?
The answer is make something delicious for dinner. The answer is play with the dog, clean the counters, read some stuff online, and write her a nice letter. The answer is water the plants and feel grateful for our new apartment. The answer is not something thrilling or crazy, but the answer is calming, grounding, and I am grateful for this evening.
To those of you who are single: I know parts of it suck, but parts of it are awesome, too, and you might miss them – take note of what they are. You don’t have to give them up. To those of you who are not: what parts of your self or your past do you have trouble hanging on to? How do you make sure to nurture your *self*?