I came across an amazing poem and YouTube video this morning via two of my favorite bloggy reads – Quarter for her Thoughts and Quarter Life Lady (and how funny they both start with Quarter? Just realizing that!) – about ‘how to be alone’ and it was so powerful and inspiring to me that I wanted to repost it here and share a few excerpts that leapt out to me:

If you are at first lonely, be patient. If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were you were not okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find its fine to be alone once you’re embracing it….

Dance like no ones watching because they are probably not. And if they are, assume it is with best human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely move to beats, after-all, is gorgeous and affecting. Dance till you’re sweating. And beads of perspiration remind you of life’s best things. Down your back, like a book of blessings…

Isn’t that so beautiful and so utterly true?

I struggle with being alone sometimes, as many do who have been accustomed to not being alone, and I am at the point where, after almost two years of being alone, I *almost* enjoy it more often than not. This is huge for me…and though I would rather be dancing with someone special…reminding me of ‘life’s best things,’ it’s okay to dance through life alone sometimes, isn’t it?

Give it a read, or watch the video here. You’ll love it, I promise. (and, check out my guest post on ‘is divorce an accomplishment’ over at Sex Lies & Dating in the City – thank you Simone for a wonderful opportunity!!)

First, I must say, if this long weekend were a man, I think I might just marry him…or maybe just date him, not sure I’m quite ready for that level of commitment ;-P It’s absolutely gorgeous, I’ve spent the last two days enjoying time with friends, the beach, and some wine (of course) and there’s still one more day left in the weekend, what’s not to like, right?

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Yet, when I woke up this morning, I felt a rush of lonliness mixed with a little sadness.

Why?

Well, a mix of things, I think, one of which is totally PMS-driven (ah, those hormones love to swing my moods to and fro!)

The other thing? I miss my house and my pool/yard more than ever. Let me rephrase that…I miss having A house and pool and yard, not necessarily my past house, given it was ridden with memories and the past, something I am still glad to have walked away from. It put me into a bit of a funk, but I worked out, let my mind drift, and felt a little bit better afterwards, but it’s still nagging in the back of my mind. What do I really miss? I don’t necessarily miss what I had, but I do miss the stability, groundedness, happiness, and couple-ness of having a marriage. Maybe I didn’t appreciate what I had (when it was good) as much as I should have, or maybe I’m just looking at it now too idealistically, but what it does point to is this…

I miss being in a relationship.

Plain and simple.

I know that’s not a huge revelation for anyone, because to you, it may seen I’ve been itching for that since I started dating almost a year ago (damn, time flies…). But truly, I haven’t missed that all too much, I’ve enjoyed being on my own, enjoyed dating, even through the ups and downs, but a big part of me now just misses being in a relationship, being in love, and the stability and happiness that comes with it.

And maybe part of missing being in a relationship is the start of summer (unofficially) this weekend. While I think there are many, many fun reasons to be single in the summer, I also think being in a relationship in the summer is a lot of fun too.

Maybe it’s the third-wheel factor in the summer…it just feels more pronounced for me. Friday night, for example, I was having drinks with some of my Group Kick friends, and I looked around and realized I was the only single in the group, and not only the only single, but the only unmarried too. Double whammy, a little bit. (And, I was secretly hoping ‘pretty boy’ would be there, a playful name referring to a friend of ours that has hung out at this particular bar recently. We went to college together, and our internships, and well, I kinda think he’s cute. Was sort of hoping for a run-in, but no dice).

I go back and forth with this is-summer-better-single-or-not thing in my head quite a bit, at least lately, and I don’t really think there’s an answer to it, because, like I said, there’s plenty of “pros” for both, I just think for me, it points to wanting what I don’t have right now.

And when I was explaining this (in part) to my sister, she said “I just want you to be happy.” And I responded, “but I AM happy.” Because I am, truly. Life is great, I’m in a good spot emotionally and mentally. It’s summer. I have lots of fun things planned in coming weeks and months. It’s just that tiny nagging at me, the alone-factor, that nags ever so slightly more now and again, and right now, it’s nagging.

I know my time will come. I know you all will reiterate that. Or say that I should stop looking. Or stop wanting. Or just to enjoy what I have now. And I am – sorta kinda, all of these things.

I’m not really looking. Sure, I’m on chemistry and OKC, but I’m not really actively looking through them too seriously. Yet, I may have a date coming up…more on that later (It’s the not looking, I swear). I may have a couple of potential “organic” dates brewing. Maybe. That’d be a first, and I’d welcome it. Again, more on that later (c’mon, this post is getting ridiculously long!).

So for now, writing this all out…I guess I’m still okay being on my own. It’s just the time of year where it’d be nice to at least have someone around, at the beach, or at cookouts, or whatever it may be, to have by my side. It’ll come. I know it will, and for now, I’ll enjoy the social butterfly-ness that I’m trying to cultivate as much as possible.

is a very hard thing to do.

I’m reminded of it daily, how much confidence it really takes to go it alone – whether it be life, in general, and/or being alone without a spouse/significant other, but I’m also a firm believer in experiences shaping life, and standing on your own as an individual, and being alone/living alone can be life-changing and everyone should have the “opportunity” to experience it at one point or another in life.

This “ephiphany” of sorts came to me this week as a good friend of mine is going through a pretty painful breakup process, and one of her biggest fears is being alone and being on her own. She is one of THE most independent women I know, though, which is the ironic part, and I know she has the strength in her to make the break (opposite case of my personal situation, but similar in that it is ending moreso because of a love turned friendship) and flourish and grow and do all of the things she wants to do in her life.

My sister was giving her some advice about it, when she was first thinking about it, and being scared to be alone and not have “built in” plans with her boyfriend on weekends, and worries about being lonely. My sister told her to look at me, and see how far I have come, and that it’s not as scary as it seems, and you can move forward, happily so, alone, and independent.

The fact that she used me as a reference point felt so rewarding…I’m the one she’s using as the benchmark for “it can be done?” That’s amazing! And, if you knew this friend of mine, you’d be shocked that she would not already see herself as strong and independent. Because she is, it’s innate within her! I’ve always thought that about her, and I know she will come through this and it will be the best thing for her to move forward and see where life takes her.

So, this is for you – you are a hot ticket – and I’m bestowing upon you a new nickname – HSC – hot southern chick! You’re strong, you’re beautiful, you’re WORTH IT, and you can do it. Stay strong.

The second part of my SinceMyDivorce blog posted this morning and I love the juxtaposition between the two – from being completely petrified of living alone, to relishing the quiet moments by myself. It’s truly been an evolutionary process and I can now take solace in being alone. It’s funny, because this week has been insane and I have barely been home, yet I am anxious to be home so I can regroup (and um, PACK!). I feel out of whack when I don’t have some time to myself – funny how that changes!!

Here’s a good excerpt:

How did I get to like being alone? It was just an evolution of being forced to do it. My family and friends have been extremely supportive throughout my divorce and anytime I didn’t want to be alone I would always have somebody available for company. Nobody ever got into bashing my ex or our relationship. They were just there to support me.

Once I wasn’t so afraid of it anymore I realized that it felt more empowering and I liked having control over what I was doing and not relying on somebody else. I remember coming home once, I was supposed to have plans but they’d fallen through so I was bummed out about it. Then I thought, ‘You know, this isn’t so bad. I’m just going to have a glass of wine and I’m going to watch a movie by myself.’ It was great.

I must say talking about my experience with Mandy was so great. I am so used to just writing about it, for the most part, or talking about it with friends or family that know the situation, so it was sort of enlightening to talk through it all with someone who didn’t. For any of your divorcees out there (or soon-to-be), I encourage you to speak with Mandy, and share your story as well!!

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on a side note – I had a REALLY good date last night! I guess this must be what, boy #7 at this point? I can’t keep track of them all – a few of them fell off before turning into actual dates for various reasons, so I’ve only technically been on four dates (with four different guys!) and I joke that I’m at the date #1 curse…but am hopeful this will turn into date #2…stay tuned!

But you need to line up (and I take bribes). My interview was today!

I was a little nervous beforehand, not sure why, I live and breathe “the situation” and my life daily! (mental note: I’m going to have to come up with a new name for “the situation” – because it’s no longer “the situation” to me. This is my life, and I daresay, that “situation” is turning into one of the best things that could have happened, I am thinking…).

Anyway, it was a great discussion, and some of the things I shared, I hadn’t really verbalized before, nor had I really realized that’s how I felt. Mandy asked me if becoming more independent (something I said was probably one of my – if not my biggest – achievements) was purposeful…and I hadn’t really thought of it that way before, so I don’t know if it WAS purposeful THEN, but it IS purposeful now. Even though I have days where I get down about being alone, or get a smidge lonely, there are days – like today – that I just cherish. I’m sitting here, with a glass of wine, the Red Sox in the background (soon to be So you think you can dance – one of my guilty pleasures…probably because I can’t dance to save my life!!) and um, that’s it. Nobody talking to me, nobody bothering me, nothing. It’s great. It really helps me center myself, reset for the next day and just “be.”

I also found myself a little nostalgic after the interview (can’t wait for it to post BTW!) and thinking towards d-day on 9/11. I’m afraid I might cry during the court session, for some reason, just because the magnitude of what is taking place is hitting me, and will hit me smack in the face then, too. And I don’t want to cry, not because I am trying to be strong and proud and hold it in, but because I am not weak, I am not sad so much about it ending, because I do want and NEED that closure, but just because it’s the end of a huge era in my life. Ten years. TEN years. That’s one-third of my life. Door shut. Just an odd feeling.

But alas, I am rambling again. Life goes on…

I just can’t write about these match.com dates anymore until they happen! Because, my highly anticipated date with boy #3 fell through (he tried for tonight, impromptu but the flight he was aiming for tomorrow ended up being tonight. For now, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he’s legitimate with his excuse!), but I am still hopeful it WILL happen after the long weekend. And, on that note, I am officially NOT blogging about dates until they have actually occurred. Deal?!

So, yeah, I got a bit down about that, but tried to – fairly quickly – pull myself back out of it. I mostly succeeded, after I allowed myself to be down in the dumps about it for a bit, because I need to remember that this is supposed to be fun, I shouldn’t take it TOO seriously (yet, anyway), and I should still be reveling in being independent, enjoying life and not letting boys flaking out on dates get the best of me…dammit! 😉

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In other news, I can’t believe I’ll be moving in ONE MONTH from today. Ack. More on that later…

So, I guess you could say I’ve fully jumped into this dating thing…with date #1 with match.com boy #2 and date #2 pending with match.com boy #1 (and a few other possibilities in the works – lol) and it’s pretty entertaining, fun, and new. But as part of jumping into dating, I’m also jumping into the idea of a relationship – and before I go any further, here is my disclaimer: I am clearly not jumping into relationship mode whatsoever, but it goes without saying that dating can sometimes lead to a relationship, so my thoughts are a natural progression, but not something I’m looking for right off the bat. Not at all.

Okay, now that that is out of the way, what I have been thinking about is how when “the situation” first occurred, I was afraid to be alone, wasn’t independent, and the thought of dating and/or finding anyone ever again made me want to vomit. But now, what I am realizing is that I am SO used to my routine, my workout schedule, my alone time – whatdya know – my independence! So, to think that at some point in the TBD future, my “new normal” could shift a bit here and there- and that feels so strange to me, because now, I can’t imagine myself any other way. And, I think that’s actually a really good thing, because I think that signifies a big step for me mentally – I have embraced independence and it’s now part of what makes “me” me. And that’s way cool.

I also look back at convos with one of my good, single friends – let’s call her BSF – best single friend, shall we? When she was dating someone last winter, she mentioned she wasn’t used to having someone around, someone “barging in” on her schedule, her life, her alone time – and I looked at her like she had 10 heads – why WOULDN’T you want someone in your life? Because that’s how I looked at it – when, in reality, that’s not what she meant at all, it was just the feeling of being accustomed to only having you – nobody else – to consider into your daily equation. And now I TOTALLY understand what she means. Kind of a full circle feeling. There you have it – my random thoughts on dating….on the eve of date #1 with match.com boy #2 😉

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Side note – if anyone has seen the dancing bridal party video that’s been plastered all over the Internet, check out this HILARIOUS parody of the same dance – but in divorce court! BSF send this to me, and I can’t get enough of it (even sent it to Pete, who thought it was a riot – asked if I wanted to do that too – LOL, I sort of do! Weird??).