Week 15 – 100 days – 31 December 2011
I decided that it was time to stop mourning the loss of ‘we’; to stop being sucked down by the loss of sharing my life with a soul-mate and the feelings of loneliness in being left alone. Instead, I would focus on ‘me’ and embrace my new found freedom of ‘aloneness’.
What does this mean?
For about four weeks now I had been battling a flatness and glumness that came with an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. Seeing that as a loss of companionship, I had tried to break myself out of those feelings by keeping busy, doing things with people, and generally getting out and about. However, I discovered that often my greatest feelings of loneliness came over me when I was alone at times and in places we used to be together such as going out to dinner, visiting relatives and travelling. That is when the greatest feeling of emptiness was being felt, when I was surrounded by people and activity, rather than when I was alone. In fact when I pushed myself to do things it actually made my feelings of loneliness worse because when I did things that I would have previously done together – and now there was no-one there to do it with, to share it with – I would be left with an empty, hollow feeling inside of me. Except for spending time with my family and closest friends, trying to do things with other people became meaningless and fruitless for me at this time.
The other greatest feeling of loneliness that swept over me was an ‘intellectual’ loneliness. More than a loss of a companion – having someone to share my daily activities with – it was the loss of that one person who I could talk to on any topic and who would engage in deep and meaningful conversations – on politics, relationships, religion, society, poetry – that one person who would know and understand and reciprocate. Talking instead with people on topics I found more shallow such as the weather or the price of milk was not resonating with me as a meaningful existence to have. It left me hollow, unfulfilled.
As I thought things through, I realised that it was not being ‘alone’ per se that was the problem. As a wife and mother for 37 years I became swept up in my caring role, in my busy life, and in focusing on my family’s lives and achievements. I lost a little bit of myself along the way. Throughout all those busy active fruitful years I often craved of one day having time to be myself, to do my own creative things, to be alone. Now was that time.
If my life now meant being alone, then the way forward for me was to face the aloneness that was given to me and embrace it with all its glory.
Aloneness means that I can now focus on being me and being happy and enjoying the things that I like to do. I now have the freedom to live my life to the full in my own way. I can take time to find my own desires, my own strengths, my own needs, and to make my own plans, dreams and goals. Behind me are the days of having to fit in with my spouse or my children. I can take on new projects – big or small – or I can relax enjoying some simple pleasures of my own that cannot be dismissed as silly as there is no-one here to dismiss them. I can do whatever I want. I will now be able to take ALL my spare time and use it however I want to use it and make it work for me. I can create a lifestyle that is creative, adventurous, exciting – or quiet . One that is rewarding for me. I no longer have to concern myself with possible disapproval from a now non-existent spouse.
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It is good to go through this contemplative stage and I need to remember how to be more alone, less needy! Thank you for this post that is both thought-provoking and helpful to me!
I still struggle with aloneness sometimes, and at other times I totally embrace it and see the opportunities and freedom that it brings me.
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