I helped my dearest friends move into their very first house this past weekend. With each box that came down the steps of their second-floor apartment, and each piece of furniture that was loaded onto the truck, I could see the excitement on their faces. I remembered that excitement; I had it once many years ago when my ex-husband and I moved into our first house.
I had so much fun helping my friends move everything in, putting the right boxes into the right room, unpacking each little treasure and helping each item find a home. When the day was finally done (well after 7 p.m.) I headed for home. The minute I walked in the door, I felt a wave of loneliness come over me. I felt sad for the life I left behind when I got divorced last year.
As much as I miss being married, I'm terrified at the thought of ever doing it again. There is something liberating about being single; I can spend whatever money I want where I want and when I want and I don't have to explain it to someone else. If I want to make grilled cheese at 3:00 in the morning, I can! I don't have to consult anyone if I want to work late, go to the park or sleep in until 9. I can watch whatever reality TV I want and no one is here to judge me. I can arrange the furniture any way I choose, and, I never have to look for my keys, wallet or anything else that someone may have moved.
The thought of having to merge my life with someone else's scares the hell out of me.
But then I have moments like I did the other night, when I come home to my lovely little apartment with no one to talk to except for the cat. I make my dinner for one and sit down to write. I wish there was someone there to have dinner with, someone to ask me how my day was, someone to cuddle up with in front of the TV.
It's liberating to live alone; it's also terribly lonely sometimes.
I think about dating from time to time, but get anxious at the thought of starting over with someone new. Like most women, I think I'm pretty complex, and I'm not sure there is anyone out there that would appreciate my "special brand." I start to think that maybe there isn't anyone out there for me. Maybe I'm supposed to be alone, or worse yet, maybe I was where I was supposed to be before I got divorced and I blew my only chance.
The only thing scarier than thinking about ending up alone is thinking about ending up with someone! What if I do find "Mr. Right." Then what? How do you start over at my age? What if he has a house? Do I move in with him? How do we decide which couch to keep? What about my cat? What if he's a dog person? Silly, I know, but the mere thought of combining my life in this way terrifies me.
Truth be told, it's not really about the couch or the house or the vase with the fake flowers in it; it's about emotionally combining. It's about figuring out how to rearrange my life to allow another human being to come in. It's about rejection and hurt. It's about guarding my heart and keeping it away from someone else; someone that might not take care of it. It's sad, but it's real, and it keeps me from moving forward.
Maybe one day the loneliness will be stronger than the fear and I'll find someone that I can start over with or, maybe, that's not in the cards for me. For now, I think I'll just acknowledge the fear and continue to enjoy life the way it is; I can always cross the "Mr. Right" bridge when I get to him!