On Being Alone

“He didn’t know why he was running away.
Maybe because being close to someone took a hell of a lot more guts than being alone.”
— Linda Castillo

I think I can identify with this quote far more than I’m comfortable with. It feels to me that a lot of single people my age (early twenties) seem to fall into two categories: either they desperately want to be in a committed relationship with a significant other, planning a future and a life together; or they’re flitting from one meaningless fling to another. And then there’s me. Content with being alone, determined to figure out my own identity and values before I entangle myself with another person.

I have this tendency to throw myself into relationships with others wholeheartedly — I have acquaintances and then I have close friendships that I focus a good deal of energy on, to be a good friend, to stay in contact with them when they move away. Once I’m in, I’m emotionally invested and it takes a lot to make me walk away from someone. Knowing this, understanding this aspect of myself, I’m hesitant to find a significant other. I feel that the most I can give people right now, is the sort of focus and investment which I give my close friends. I’m not ready to make that sort of all-encompassing commitment to someone when I don’t know where my future is taking me, when I am still forming my identity and focusing my beliefs.

Occasionally, though, I find myself wondering if I’m alone not because I don’t feel capable of fully committing to another person, but because I’m safe being alone and I’m just not brave enough to be that vulnerable with someone else.

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The Dreaded “Selfie”

Self Portrait 2

Alright everyone, since I’m still getting the hang of this blogging regularly business, I’m taking on a blog challenge. Starting with DAY 1: A self portrait and…

5 Seemingly Random Facts About Myself

1) I’m left handed.

This is not actually all that unusual, but sometimes I get weird comments about it. I’m a server and once, when taking a tables order, the gentleman asked me

“Why are you writing like that?”

“Like what?”

“With your left hand, why are you doing that?”

“…..Because I’m left handed?”

Not a great story, but apparently it created some cause for concern for said gentleman? Maybe he’s of the antiquated notion that the left-hand is the devil’s hand and I’m cursed. Who knows. He left me a decent enough tip.

2) I have the brattiest, most adorable dog ever.

Sammy, pictured below, is a huge brat. This is what happens when you get a puppy for a 16 year old girl who can’t even take care of herself, let alone focus on training a fluffy creature with huge, puppy-dog eyes. I mean, he’s potty-trained but he’s also spoiled rotten. We’re working on it now. We might even be making some progress.

Sammy, 1

3) I’ve traveled to 7-ish Countries.

The UK, France, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey and Canada. I have an intense case of Wanderlust though, so I’m hoping to expand this list someday soon.

Athens, Greece May 2011

Athens, Greece May 2011

4) I’ve Never Had A Boyfriend.

This seems to bother (some of) my friends more than it really bothers me. When I was in high school, I was very dependent on other people- easily influenced by my mother, my friends and the media (like most teenagers, really). I feel really lucky, in fact, that the friends I made were such positive forces in my life. Over the last four years, I’ve forced myself out of my comfort zone (traveling abroad, interning in DC, moving out) and I’ve worked really hard to be a more independent individual and to be a more complete person- one with my own thoughts and opinions. Occasionally, I feel like I’ve missed something by never seriously pursuing a relationship with anyone and sometimes I feel a bit lonely but for the most part: I’m good being alone.

I know myself, and I believe that if I had had a boyfriend in high school or early college, I would have let myself be far too influenced by him. I wouldn’t have gone to France because I didn’t want to be away from him for 4 months, or gone to DC because that’s just too far away. I’m a better person for my single life and I know that, when I find the right guy, I’ll have a more balanced relationship as a result.

“A lady I will be, but a man’s accessory, his handbag, no thank you. I will not be someone’s ornament. I will not just be someone’s honey, baby, sweetheart.”
Deb Caletti (Honey, Baby, Sweetheart)

5) I Can Never Pick A Favorite Color

Sometimes it changes by the hour, by the day, by the season. Every fall I rediscover my love of that deep scarlet color. In the Spring, I love color of newborn leaves as sunlight spills through the branches. Summertime, that cerulean blue, coupled with the crisp smell of chlorine, wins out over everything. But even the stark white of winter has it’s own appeal. My bedroom has been painted blue, yellow, white, green…at the end of the day, I love vivacity. Any color that refreshes and challenges your mood, that’s the one that I love.

Trees in Spring

 

The Next Chapter

“You have ordinary moments and ordinary moments and more ordinary moments, and then, suddenly, there is something monumental right there. You have past and future colliding in the present, your own personal Big Bang, and nothing will ever be the same.” 

— Deb Caletti (Stay)

Four months ago, I visited my best friend, M, in Vermont. We drove all over the state antiquing, hiking, and reminisced about high school and our camping trip to Prince Edward Island and these amazing cupcakes we got in DC two years ago. We drove to Boston and made a spontaneous trip to Cape Cod and slept in the car. We vegged out on Portuguese Sweetbread and Seafood and chilled on the beach and we made plans for our next big trip, we dreamed about the men we would marry, the careers paths we would blaze. 

Three months ago, I got a call from M that she had met a boy and sure, it was long-distance but she really thought it was the real deal.

Yesterday, I skyped M and we talked about her wedding next June. And just like that, all of her grandiose plans for the future have changed. She’ll never move to a big city, all on her own, and make it hers. Our next trip will be less spontaneous, a little less whimsical and instead of dreaming of what her future husband will look like, she’ll be imagining what their children will look like…and these aren’t bad things. I realize that, but I’m mourning- a bit- for those plans we had and those conversations we’ll never revisit. 

 

Image

I can’t convey how happy I am for her. This future husband of hers- he’s truly a great guy and I know he’ll take care of her and treat her the way she deserves and what more could you want for your best friend? But growing up has never felt so real. Graduating college…that was anticipated, planned, expected. Meeting your husband and planning a wedding only three months later? That’s Growing Up because what inevitably comes next? A mortgage, a career, kids?

The future we always dreamed about, it’s finally really happening for her and it’s so sudden, such a swift shift of direction it took my breath away. I’ve never felt so keenly that I’m leaving my childhood behind- that we all are. And it’s never felt so scary.  

Sometimes I Need a Reminder to Mind My Own Business

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

-Steve Jobs