To be alone

Thoughts on being single after a long stretch of life attached to a person. Being alone removes that safety net of illusions that there will always be someone there for you. It strips you of that false sense that no matter how fucked up you get someone will love you. It reminds you that you can’t always just let yourself go. The consequences of your actions are more immediate. You learn more from a bad day when there’s no one to kiss your troubles away the moment you get home; no one to vent your petty problems to.

I think I knew, deep down, without wanting to admit it, that I had to go through these hard but necessary lessons in self-reliance. Everyone does at some point; unless you want to spend the rest of your life using someone else as an excuse for your lack of success or a metaphorical punching bag for your frustration.

Something curious happens when you feel some strong existential dread and can’t reach across the bed for a hug, can’t call someone that’ll immediately understand and make you feel better and laugh. So you basically have to work through it and move on with your life. And you get better at that. Soon you’re comfortable with those moments, you trust yourself to handle them fluidly. The dread doesn’t exactly disappear but you now know how to use it, how to learn from it and channel it into something productive. The pain of being alone becomes inspiration, the lack of comfort makes room for creativity.

I think it’s only once you’ve been to depths you were scared to visit, and come back with the self-knowledge you needed, that you’ll meet someone else. Someone special that’ll inspire you in completely different ways and make you discover other ways of life and push you to take risks. Until that fades away too, and you’re forced to choose between rotting there or starting the cycle all over again. I don’t know if it ever stops, if at some point two people are truly ready to spend the rest of their lives with each other… or if everyone just sort of settles, making compromises, hanging out in the zone of comfortable denial and fear of dying alone.

Don’t we die alone anyway? Even with optimal deathbed presence and support from loved ones, no one’s hopping along with you for the ride to the underworld. You cross that final threshold in absolute solitude. So all that time previously spent alone was in fact some sort of death-prep, training for the dive into a place where none of the inhabitants of the living world has ever been before. Seen in that light, I guess I cherish these moments of loneliness. They’ll come in handy.

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