On loneliness

I’ve been feeling more lonely, more often, over the last few months. There, I admitted it.

I do enjoy my own company and usually *need* time on my own to stay sane.

But lately, it’s felt a lot more like ‘lonely’ than ‘alone’.

I have friends, but I no longer seem to have a best friend. She’s got her hands very full with two small children, a husband and a hectic life. She’s been drifting away from me for a few years now, if I’m honest. And it’s not for the lack of trying on my part – but after being turned down repeatedly when I suggest we meet up for coffee, or a drink, or even dinner if she can get away, I’ve kind of stopped asking. (She never calls me to suggest a get-together.) I miss her so much. She could always make me laugh until I wheezed. And she was always the person I could tell anything to.

So there’s a big gap in my life without her. I have other friends, but none who I feel I can call at 10pm when I’m having an anxiety attack. Which sucks, because I’ve been having a few of those recently, relating to a health issue.

How I wish that when I wake up in the middle of the night, and scary out-of-proportion thoughts flood my head, and my breath gets shallow and fast, and my heart thuds in my chest, that I had someone I could snuggle up to. Who would put a comforting arm around me and tell me that it will all be OK and that he’s there for me, and that I’m not crazy. And tell me to go back to sleep and it will all seem less awful in the morning.

Because it’s starting to feel like I’m never going to have that. That I’m weird and there’s something strange about me that just puts people off. Is it how I look? Should I lose weight? Do I walk funny? Do I smell bad?!! Or is it this unapproachable aura I apparently project, that makes me seem prickly or aloof and just not the kind of person you’d want to get to know. How is it that everyone else knows what to do to find The One?

I’m dreading getting older and having to deal with health issues on my own. Having to cope with the ageing and eventual loss of my wonderful parents without support. And not having a companion to hang out with and weather life’s ups and downs with.

Yes, I love being single. But no, I do not want to be single for the rest of my life.

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I think I’m having a mid-life crisis

If men go out and buy sports cars or motorbikes, and trade their partners in for younger, blonder models, what do we women do to demonstrate our midlife crises. I’ve heard that each time a woman turns 40, a cougar is born. I quite like that 🙂

I did get my first tattoo at 39… does that count? My 40th birthday is looming and I’ll no longer be a single-thirtysomething… I’ll be a single-FORTYSOMETHING. Eeek. When I started this blog I guess I assumed that I’d lose my single status before I lost my thirtysomethingness.

I am very, very aware that my 30s are nearly over. What have I achieved? It’s been over two decades since I left school, two decades as an adult. Shouldn’t I be more grown up by now? More secure in what and who I am? Don’t all adults have life sussed out? Erm, no… most of us don’t.

On my 39th birthday, I made a list of ‘things to do before I’m 40’. Exciting stuff, worthy stuff. A list to make my 40th year a fun and exhilarating one. Things to take my mind off this big birthday that’s approaching. Well, 6 months later, I can tick off very few of those things. Which makes me feel like a bit of a failure really. Sheesh but there is so much pressure, so much *expectation* for us to be inspired, motivated, run marathons, climb mountains, reach for the stars, etc. etc. I’m all for having goals and working towards them but if I see one more motivational poster in my Facebook news feed, I will not be responsible for my actions.

Is 40 such a big deal? Is it really the new 30? Women certainly look a lot younger at 40 these days that they did a generation or two ago. Or perhaps that’s all relative, and I look pretty ancient to 12 year olds.

How much more time do I have left? If I’ve got 40 years, of how many of those will I be healthy and fit and able to do the things I want to do? What do I want to do, achieve, give, find, explore and accomplish in the second half of my life?

I worry that the next 40 years will go by as fast as the first 40 have and at 80 I’ll be saying, “Wait!! What happened to my life? I still want to…”

Sigh.

How to be alone [video]

Five million people have already seen this… I watched it for the first time today.

How to be alone:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=k7X7sZzSXYs

I should make an intelligent comment about it, or quote my favourite few lines. But all I can say is that it made me cry. I’ve had a crappy weekend – week, really. I’ve been socially awkward, unable to contribute to conversations; my speech paralysed by not knowing what to say, not having a funny or witty comment, not having an anecdote to share. By wondering what impression I’m making, and then it’s a vicious circle as saying nothing seems better than having my words met with slightly confused stares and the less I say the harder it is to come up with words.

I’m torn up about a comment I made to a close friend – something stupid and thoughtless and unintentionally hurtful. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it… well, I did and now I regret it and I apologised and took it back, but still feel like a Bad Person.

Jarring with everyone, I feel entirely isolated, unlovable, misunderstood, mediocre and defeated.

Next week will be better. It has to be.

Coping on your own

A good friend has recently lost her husband after over 30 years of marriage. Before they were married, she lived at home. She has never lived on her own and now she has to adjust to it. That’s a HUGE adjustment. Not only is she dealing with her intense grief, and the trauma and sadness of her husband’s illness, but she is alone for the first time in her life.

Her sons are a huge support, and she has many family members and friends who are there for her. But they’re not there at 2am when she has an anxiety attack, or when she could really do with a hand with unpacking her groceries… or the thousands of other little things she’s so used to having her husband alongside her for.

My heart really goes out to her. Much as I love being single, it’s not something she has chosen and it’s inappropriate for me to trot out the reasons why being single is amazing. It’s going to be a hell of a change for her. She’s going to have to be strong and brave – and I think she’s going to discover who she really is for maybe the first time in her life.

Love and hugs to you, H.

xx A

 

Something’s got to give…

Sheesh. I am so snowed under with work at the moment that I’ve not had time to post on here for ages. I love what I do, and I have great clients, but I can’t keep all these balls in the air much longer. In fact, I dropped one earlier and am bracing myself for the client’s response tomorrow (eek!).

Anyway, when I am really busy with work, being single sucks. Continue reading

Plus ones

If I’m not dating anyone, I would always rather go to an event or function on my own, than find a suitable rent-a-friend to take as my date. Not just because it leaves me free to flirt with any single guys there, but because I find it stressful to be there with someone who is there for the sake of being my ‘plus one’ (note – I’m quite happy to go with a boyfriend).

A few years ago my old junior school was celebrating its centenary and a group of us who’ve been friends for over 25 years decided to take a table at the gala dinner. All the others are married and I thought it might be weird to go on my own, so I asked my friend S if he’d come along as my date. S and I are 100% platonic – I love him to bits as a friend, but we’d last all of 30 seconds as a couple, not to mention that neither of us has had the slightest romantic inclination to the other anyway in the 16 years we’ve known each other.

We arranged to meet outside the function venue and I was relieved to see he had made an effort to dress nicely (although to his credit, he usually does  – and no, he is not gay!). But things went downhill from there. He spent the evening either chatting up a single girl who had joined our party at the last minute (he ended up dating her for a couple of weeks) or ignoring everyone, me included, and having an intense text message exchange with one of his friends-with-benefits. It was so bad that when the evening ended, one of my other friends said, ‘Should I text message S to say goodbye?’

I know S well enough to give him a piece of my mind and not have it ruin our friendship (I think it’s like water off a duck’s back to him actually!). I was furious – I’d asked him to be my date, had paid for his dinner (which was not cheap) and he’d made no effort to ‘accompany’ me or make an effort to be friendly to and interested in the rest of our party (single girl excepted)… embarassing me instead. I would have far preferred to be there on my own instead of having to worry about my date’s behaviour!

Perhaps it’s a sign of the economic times, but I’ve noticed that it’s rare now to get an invitation to a function like a wedding and have ‘plus one / and partner’ included on the invitation. I’m quite happy about that – the pressure of finding someone to go with and the stress of wondering whether he’ll behave is something I can do without 🙂