On days like today I wrestle with what to do. It’s a Saturday morning. Little requires my time or attention for this day or the next. No daughters are home. Nothing is scheduled. No work remains undone or even beckoning. On days like today I wonder if I should just stay home, light a fire, read a book, maybe do some knitting and watch a movie; or if I should take myself to a coffee shop, laptop in tow, order an Americano “for here” and wax eloquent (hopefully) on my keyboard, smile at a person or two, maybe even engage in surprising, but welcome dialogue.
Perhaps this is an odd wrestling. But as a single woman it is an ever-present dilemma: to be wholly satisfied with the life she has created and to rest within such or to venture out, allow herself to be in the company of strangers, be seen instead of safely tucked away.
Of course, it’s not one or other. It’s always both/and. And it remains a bind.
In truth, I am wholly satisfied with my life: my home, my schedule, my friends, my daughters (of course), my work, my writing, my presence in the world. And, it is achingly lonely at the same time.
I am not alone. Not at all. People love me, support me, spend time with me – and I them – willingly, enthusiastically, gratefully. But it is not the same as being in relationship – intimately connected in conversation, in activity, in limb, in love.
Believe me: I know the opposite all too well – being in relationship and alone.
Relationship is hardly the exclusive and fail-safe anecdote to loneliness, and, in truth, can sometimes perpetuate it more excruciatingly than any amount of alone-ness. And maybe it’s because I’ve known all of these – healthy, beautiful relationship, being alone in relationship, and being alone, period – that I have some context, some perspective, some broader lens through which to view the nuances of each. Perhaps.
Or perhaps I’m just restless, finding it difficult to allow and appreciate being with just me.
No. That is not it – though it has been, to be sure. I do appreciate me – who I am, how I am, all that I think and feel and understand and don’t. And it’s this that I want to share, this that I want to be seen and worshipped (yes, worshipped), this that I want to offer in the most lavish and luxurious of ways.
I’m not certain that going to a coffee shop today will enable one bit of this. I’m relatively certain it won’t. But maybe there is something to be said for living with intention, stepping toward that which one desires vs. waiting for it to come knocking on your door (or messaging you through a ridiculous-and-nearly-always-disappointing online dating site).
I haven’t decided yet.
For now, I’ll stir the fire I lit between paragraphs three and four, pour another cup of coffee, look out at the endless rain and final falling leaves, and wonder a bit longer…