Reflections on Being Single

It has been a significant amount of time since I have contributed to this blog so I apologize to the four people who viewed it since then. I’m not sure if it is because I am sitting here listening to “Just Won’t Burn” from Susan Tedeschi, or that I am sitting in front of my personal computer at all after getting an HTC Incredible, but I have decided to climb out of the gutter of mental hibernation and put down my thoughts on the last few months.

As a good catholic boy I feel like writing, “it has been x number of days since my last confession.” That is what personal blogging is correct? It is essentially you and the world in a small wooden booth, sharing your inner thoughts, and hoping for some type of recognition or condemnation. I’m not talking about the Kobe had a good game blog, or the iPhone G4 was leaked in a Chinese brothel. There is enough opinions out there on trendy topics, and I may add some myself if I can keep on this horse for more than a day. I’m talking about that honest to goodness inner reflective blog. The kind that makes you feel like you actually know the person who is writing it. Stephen King writes forewords like that. That’s why I have always liked him as a writer. Not so much because of the stories, although they do entertain, but because when he writes to his readers you can tell it’s not contrived. If they are he’s even more of a writer than I thought. And what are the essays of Francis Bacon or the thoughts of Boethius but inner ramblings put down on paper passed down for everyone to consume? Writing, like anything in the arts, is cathartic. I imagine it has its equals, like building a good deck and putting on the last coat of stain, or winning that big game after so many long days of the season and training camp. There is something calming about the sound of the keys or even the pencil that tends to wash away the prior responsibilities of the day. However, I didn’t set out to write a blog on the benefits of writing so I should probably get back to my title before the two readers of this blog bail due to false advertising.

Over the last four months I have been single. The significance of this is that I can’t remember the last time I was single. I am pretty sure I have actually never been single and alone. Prior to college I dated and lived with my parents. In college the same formula, serious relationship and roommates. Then marriage, and now almost ten years later single and living in my own place with shared custody of my daughter. So I guess I could say I have never really been by myself. Others in my position might feel like they don’t know who they are, or are not sure how to take care of themselves depending on the level of pampering they were accustomed. I will admit at first there were the anxieties. Not so much about living alone, or being alone, but for me it was the small things. Like a thousand stand up comedians have said many a time over, men and women are different, and in being different a man tends to learn different things. I found myself standing in Target trying to find that thing you put on stoves to hold the dirty wooden spoon or utensil, and actually feeling anxiety. That small porcelain or silver thing, which I still don’t know the name of, began to crawl up my mind and make me feel helpless, because I knew that if someone of the opposite sex were standing next to me they would know where it is and potentially what it was called. I remember thinking, this is it. This is what it feels like to be alone at that moment. I eventually found that stove thing, or I have an ash tray on my stove, either way I use it to put dirty spoons in while stirring sauce in pots. After that minor panic episode I started to settle in to my new place, and am now comfortable enough to sit, drink wine, and write a blog about it.

I think being happy about your place is key to a balance of the mind and soul. I am sure I could back that up with a number of cheesy quotes, but I think the “home is where your heart is” line does a pretty good job of summing up how important your surroundings are to your mental health. There may not be someone waiting on the other side of the door, but if a piano, good book, or leather couch is awaiting your return, there is something to look forward to that hopefully brings you some small measure of happiness.

The most important epiphany I have had since being single is to enjoy who you are, and don’t rush into trying to be someone else, especially if it involves “jumping back on the horse.” There is a lot of pressure from friends, family, etc. to “get back out there,” or even less demanding but equally foreign, “have fun and go meet people.” I understand the draw. Letting your hair down (hard in my case) and throwing caution to the wind as you gyrate on some dance floor with people less your age (or older) can be appealing. Strange. Exciting slightly. Even challenging. But after doing this a number of times, I began to really think about what I was doing. Do I really need to be another single guy in some bar or some dance floor vying for short-term accomplishments. From the looks of it there is a great number of men that seem to be enjoying encircling the small number of potentially single women. Not so much enjoying the “situation itself,” although this may be the case for some, but more likely I would say it is the “hunt.” At the end of the day that is all it really is. A hunt. Somehow we have evolved to create super computers and chart maps of space, but we are reduced to drinking heavily, Lady Gaga, and simply the carnal hunt for a weakened mate. I am not even saying I don’t get it, or even in small doses partake in it myself, but at the end of the day if that is what your life consists of day in and day out, I feel sorry for you. That is what I mean by enjoy you first. Ride a bike and let go of the handlebars while closing your eyes, windsurf with your hand while you speed along at 85mph, take a walk and look at the night sky, or whistle a tune or sing as you drive without being told it’s weird. I don’t know what being you consists of, I can only share what being me is like, and frankly there is not enough time to truly explain that. Maybe if I keep blogging I will be able to convey some sliver of what is going on in my brain every single day, as frankly it is tireless and unending (see Confessions of an Over Thinker) so maybe if I can get it out it will be like those Wizard memories in Harry Potter.

Do what makes you happy. If chasing skirt or male bodies is your thing, then more power to you, but if you like to collect shells on the beach, and you’re prompted with one more outing to drink and hit on or be hit on, maybe skip the next one.  Maybe take some personal time to think about what you offer to the world. Not so much what you offer to the opposite sex, but what do you want people to think about you when you are long gone. Do you have some inner thoughts or ideas that have been buried deep under the social outings, society expectations, or burden of life and the limited time we have per day? You may think the life you lead is your life, or it is what it
is, as people tend to say. Is it really or did you just settle, either in life or love? How did we become so jaded and boring to think that each individual can’t make a small difference, and that our lives are about who we sleep with or go out with, or even marry. Marriage is like adding peanut butter to chocolate. It’s sweet when combined but each flavor stands on its own, and can be combined with so many more flavors. Whether that flavor is playing jazz guitar, reading in a poetry group, running ten miles, or watching your favorite TV show, each action in life should have one goal and that is to feed your soul or whatever you think makes you tick, and hopefully by doing so you can feed the souls of others. Isn’t that what it’s all about when you finally find that one person you want to share life with? Are we so consumed with not being lonely that we forget the simple fact that each one of us has enormous potential? I am starting to understand again. I think that is what being single gives you. It provides an understanding of what makes you tick on your own, and you will either face it and embrace that tick, or hide behind something because you don’t like what you see. I look forward to exploring my potential once again.

2 Replies to “Reflections on Being Single”

  1. Hi Todd,

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts today and appreciate your outlook immensely. It’s refreshing to look at the positive and be inspired to start tapping into the potential we all have as human beings rather than view ourselves as half of a whole.

    I couldn’t help but chuckle out loud yet feel sorrow with the ‘spoon rest’ dilemma. It was quite an ambivalent moment reading about your plight.

    Thanks for sharing; I hope you write again soon!

    Jennifer

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words. I do need to get back on the horse as they say and contribute more. Life is very busy and I find that I am spending so much time enjoying life, it is hard to find time to sit down and capture it in words. I enjoy sharing so I will try to make more of an effort to share some of my adventures and thoughts.

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