It’s been a big adjustment for me to live alone, no denying it. The honest truth is, I’ve never felt completely comfortable all alone, I’ve had roommates or a partner or a wife nearly my whole life. There were a few months in 2004 when I lived alone, but Nancy was a frequent guest…and then she moved in. In college, and through my twenties, I almost always had roommates.
Until now, of course. Probably the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with, aside from my feelings of loss and abandonment, is sitting alone in my house. Honoré de Balzac apparently said,
Solitude is fine, but you need someone to tell you that solitude is fine.
It was so difficult at first that I simply fled, and went on a road trip in early January to visit friends up north. Then I spent alone time because I couldn’t bear to be around other people. Then I found myself seeking friends and companions because I couldn’t bear to be with myself. The first couple of months were a wobbly swing from one extreme to the other.
Now I’m happy to say that coming home to a quiet house is often a pleasure. It’s easy for me to keep it neat, I can do what I want, when I want, without interruption or taking anyone else’s preference into account. I can see how my single friends like this, and might never want to give it up for the pleasure of sharing their lives with a partner.
This is where consciousness and change really happens, sitting in an uncomfortable place long enough for the feeling to shift and evolve. I have practice doing this, which has helped me sit here. We call it “sitting in the tension”. This is one of the biggest tensions I’ve ever tolerated for a long time.
Mind you, it’s not always a pleasure, I have plenty of moments where I wish I had someone here.
And sometimes I do.
I’ve been going out with a friend for more than two months, a delightful woman that Nancy and I have known for a few years. It was almost casual, how we started seeing each other, but we seem to be more and more solid as the weeks go by. The amazing thing about our friendship is, we have no commitments, no real boundaries, no discussion of a future together. We’re present and connected when we see each other, and spacious when apart, which is most of the time.
Talk about sitting in the tension! I am so oriented towards classifying and labeling, it’s very challenging to not know, to not even ask. Our unspoken agreement seems to be, “we’re doing great so far, don’t change anything”. I actually set my life up this way, when I vowed to myself in January that I would not commit to a relationship this calendar year, so that I could feel out my own preferences and truth. Well, I’ve got what I asked for…and it’s damn hard to keep my vow at times. This is not simple. Even a question about how she feels, or telling her how I feel, could lead to a commitment discussion. Does she wonder about the long-term potential of us? I don’t know. And I don’t want to know. Yet. For the knowledge itself begs the question.
There is some new level of self-awareness coming in, perhaps a different way to be in relationship, I can feel it. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so uncomfortable. And delightful.