Monday, June 15, 2015

Lonely vs. Alone

Somebody recently posted a meme on facebook that had questions you were supposed to ask your husband/boyfriend without any prior notice. I asked Eric the questions last night so I could post my own version of it. Most of his answers were fairly expected, but one answer struck me as really odd. The question was something like “What is your girlfriend/wife not good at?” And Eric said being alone. He didn’t say being alone as in being single, which I could have understood based on my serial monogamy. Instead he focused on being alone as in being home alone. This surprised me for a lot of reasons, one of which is that I actually relish the times I’m in the house by myself. I get so much done! And every year I go to the beach in the middle of winter just to escape the crowds and have some solitary time to think and recuperate.

His answer was even more ironic to me since I just spent the last 6 weeks basically alone every evening and most of the weekends, particularly after my daughter went to bed. He was in the midst of budget, and that kept him out of the house until rather late in the evenings. On the weekends, he was also gone for at least a few hours both days. During that time, while I missed him, I was never without some project or something to entertain me until he came back. I created the wedding bouquets for myself and my bridesmaids (silk flowers), I created a leaf wreath for one window of our venue and I intend to make two more before the end of the summer, I worked on the invitations, and I planned my daughter’s birthday party.

It just struck me as so odd because I am much more typically the one alone than he is. He has fencing, game night and MtG tournaments that he does regularly or semi-regularly (although I made him promise to not sign up for anymore tournaments until after the wedding). As depressing as this is going to sound, I spend most of my time home when I’m not working. I don’t have hobbies outside of the home, mainly because I’ve been a single mom for so long it’s hard to break old habits now that I *could* conceivably join a class or meet up with girlfriends on a weeknight. I also don’t really have the money to pursue anything class related right now and one of the things I’d love to do (community theatre) is such a huge time commitment, particularly once you get closer to opening night, that I just can’t imagine participating in it right now.

But I assume what he’s referring to is the depression I can get when I’m home alone and have no set schedule. This happened when he went to GenCon last year and my daughter spent a long weekend with her father. I was alone and still suffering some serious ill effects from the Mirena. I had a major depressive episode and I had to force myself to follow through on plans I had made for myself, like going to the beach for the day. In the end, I managed to get out of the house and get to the beach, and I was glad I went because I had such a good day in the sun. But it took effort, and it was hard to be alone at that time. However, that’s not so much a problem of me struggling to be alone; it’s more an ongoing battle with depression I will probably fight for the rest of my life. Spoiler alert: it helps significantly to have something to look forward to; it’s why I’m such a huge planner.

If I had answered the question, I would have pointed out that I have issues putting myself out there socially. I’ve become more and more introverted over the years to the point where I sometimes wonder if I’m going to end up like Emily Dickinson. I’m not good at making new friends. I avoid most social outings except with my nearest and dearest. We threw my daughter a birthday party this weekend and I was happy to have so much to do with the kids that I didn’t have to try to make small talk with the adults. The only adults I really spoke to were family members. I relish the furthering of technology to the point where I don’t have to talk to people in many social situations now: I can do a self checkout at the grocery store, order delivery online, and even prepare mail all with technology. Technology has definitely made the world so much easier for introverts. So, to me, I’ve got being alone down to a science. It’s the socializing and interacting with my fellow humans that needs work.

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