Sunday, October 17, 2004

Being Alone

After thirty years of marriage, being alone is a bit like living on a sister planet. The scenery might be a mirror image, but the atmosphere is altogether different. Relearning how to walk solo has taken determination, and battling guilt for any happiness I find in freedom, gained by my husband's death, has taken nerves of steel.
The world seems to be custom made for couples. Pairs are in evidence at every turn. One can be the loneliest number, yet there is no law that says it has to be. Independence is a strength and mastering it is a joy, no matter what caused it to be my reality.
Examining my loneliness and the symptoms it inspired as I traveled through its many stages has done much to ease its role in my life. At first I was lonely no matter where I was. Now I am rarely lonely at all, but when I am it never tears me to pieces or brings me to my knees.
During the abusive years of my marriage I suffered intense loneliness of the darkest kind. It was much harder to be lonely while I had a mate than it is to be lonely without one. Fear of reliving that kind of isolation may keep me safe from suffering it again, I hope so anyway.
Women are much more independent nowadays than when I was growing up. And many women are opting to live their lives alone, by choice, sharing space in a less traditional way. Knowing that I do not fear being alone enough to settle for less than I want in a relationship gives me the power to wait patiently for the option that is right for me.