The other day I realised I was feeling lonely.
It had been a week or so of a couple of big-ticket items; like a job opportunity. Woot! But that meant moving from the comfort of my great team and a much loved role to a big career challenge.
Oh, and then there was the small matter of my divorce settling and the signing of mortgage papers, all by my lonesome. I started thinking about how I’ve been living alone for over a year now; the longest time ever by myself. There’s always been family, friends and flat mates, and for most of my adult life, I’ve been in partnerships.
Mostly I haven’t minded living alone. I’ve discovered some excellent things. Coming and going is limitless. I don’t have to do my household chores to the beat of someone else’s
drum. There are no excuses or arguments. There is no turning the music down because it’s too loud. There is no television on when you just want silence.
There are also not so excellent bits. At first I missed walking from the bus stop and seeing lights on in the house that would be warm when I entered. Laughter, I missed the laughter; and meals prepared and shared. I missed planning together and knowing someone would be there at the end of my day who would listen, who had my back. I realised what I missed was making a home with someone. So, I cried quite a bit and then this is what I decided to do:
Feel it – When I realised what was going on I decided to acknowledge it. I started by telling myself I felt lonely and I told a few other people too.
The sky didn’t fall. It opened up instead. It reminded me that there were never any guarantees, that the only thing that is forever is nothing. Then I realised that the flipside to feeling lonely was strength. I felt self-sufficient and powerful. I can move with life’s changes.
Visit a special place – I have a place I go where I can see the Hobart vista and I can swing. Swinging is one of those things that gave me comfort as a kid. And so it is now. It is wholesome and unencumbered. The simplicity of swinging, at a vantage point above the city, fills me with joy. I now have other feelings competing with that loneliness.
Spend time with a friend – A friend messaged me for a lunch date. It couldn’t have come at a better time. We had a real conversation, filled with years of knowing and compassion. I said I felt lonely and we shared our experiences. We got to understand these feelings by talking some sense to each other and it was grounding. I left feeling fortified.
Do something symbolic – I turned the oven on, cooked birthday cakes and prepared baked eggs. There was a symbolism in it that surprised me. Cooking for someone is one of the ways I show my love. It felt like I was taking control and that another person is not a prerequisite for making a home. I can do that myself!
Value what I have – The sum of these parts is perspective. So I reminded myself about what I have, who I love and who loves me, and all the things I enjoy. I had a glass of wine, watched a bit of teve, I started a new book, and got an early night.
Feeling lonely can be serious.
Did you see our blog on R U Okay – On making connections and staying well it has some links where you can get help if you’re feeling lonely and you’re
We blogged about enjoying being alone, see Ticket for one
There’s also many online resources that can help, here’s one, explore
others too: How to cope with loneliness