Alone: adjective & adverb
1. having no one else present; on one's own.
1. sad because one has no friends or company.
2. without companions; solitary.
3. (of a place) unfrequented and remote.
There is a difference. I live my life for the most part, alone. I go to movies, and dinner, car shows and sporting events and everything else I do for enjoyment. I do not have a partner or someone I share my life with. I am alone. That is a tough pill to swallow; especially when you look at the facts that I have lived my life alone for so very long. Have I dated and had spurts of non-alone time on a sporadic basis, of course. I got divorced several years ago. I went through the heartache of someone who wanted me... just not enough to stay. I went through the pain and anger and grief process you go through after the death of a marriage; and I came out of it a stronger person with the knowledge of what I certainly don't want in a partner.
One of the most hurtful things I have heard came from a few of friends. "Why don't you spend some time alone?" Really, what are you thinking saying that to ME? At this point in time, minus the dates that went horribly and the "dating" that turned into A date with A man once every three weeks, I have been alone for the better part of five years. Which anyone who actually pays attention to my life would know, and would never think of saying something like that to me. "Get to know yourself", HMMMMM pretty sure I know myself inside and out at this point. I'm a pretty cool chick who has flaws and insecurities just like everyone else. I also know that I am stunning both in and out of make-up, I have "the most amazing beautiful blue eyes" anyone has ever seen, and I know that I have a feminine and "sexy" physique. That's the physical part. I am funny and loyal, sarcastic and determined, driven and traditional, and not willing to settle with thinking that living my life alone; without a partner to share it with, is my destiny. So, please don't ever tell me to "Go spend some time alone, figuring out who you are and what you want." I've done that.
Just because I am alone does not mean I am lonely. I am not sad because I have no friends or company; in fact I have some of the most amazing friends a person could ask for. I am not without companions. Just because a person lives their life alone doesn't auto-equate through some magic formula that they are lonely. To truly allow yourself to get to know yourself, you have to go through the lonely phase. You do have to both be alone and learn about the good and bads within you in order to make for a better version of you. I have done that, and I am very happy with where this life has taken me.
However, with all of that said, to me life doesn't feel natural to live alone. Maybe it is because I watched my parents together for almost 40 years. They shared smiles and bickering, children and retirement, sickness and health, until death did they part. That is how I was raised; the environment of family and Dad at the head of the table but everyone knowing it was always mom who got the veto power; Dad only putting his giant foot down when absolutely needed. There wasn't a struggle of who was in the lead. Everyone just knew they loved and respected each other more than anything else in this world. Dad would bring mom flowers and mom would get him semi-season baseball tickets. They would make fun of each other and pick on each other. Dad would leave mom little love notes on the coffee maker and mom would roll her eyes even though we all know she loved it. They each had individual hobbies and interests they did alone and apart, they drove each other crazy but they loved completely. Who wouldn't want that?
It takes a very strong and reflective person to acknowledge their past relationship mistakes and to be able to pinpoint exactly what their part in what went wrong was and how not to do that again in the future. The way you get to that point is not to stay in the lonely. The lonely is a necessary evil that sucks and feels like will never end. The alone is the reward at the end of that. Being able to live your life alone for you is something on a completely different level. When you are comfortable with yourself and know yourself well enough to be able to do anything that you would do in a couple setting, alone - that's the moment you know you are ready to share your life with someone else.
So, no. I do not need to spend any more time "alone, figuring out who I am." I also don't NEED to run out and settle with someone because I NEED to find a life partner. What I need, is to continue loving my life and my adventures. Loving my family and friends and experience this life with the hope I'll have someone loving to share it with.
That is the same thing each and every one of you should do, alone or not. Find what makes you happy and dig your nails in and don't let go. Find your groove. Find out how to answer, "What is your favorite thing to do with your free time," or "Where is your favorite restaurant?" Don't be afraid to fall in love and get hurt. Don't be afraid to stand back up, dust yourself off and continue over that speed bump. Don't settle with a lonely life because that one person broke your heart. Guess what... those heal; if you let them. You can and should trust again. Fall in love with yourself. Don't settle with the wrong person because you are lonely, take the time to find the right one once you have learned who you are and what you are and are not ok with. Take this life you have been given and suck the marrow out of its bone, living it to its fullest not just once in a while on a whim. Every day.
HuffPost Women sends stories about relationships, politics, sex, work, culture and body image, straight to your inbox three days a week. Learn more