I was chatting with a fella the other night, asking him about how he met his girlfriend (I’m always fascinated by the myriad of ways people come together and fall in love) and he followed up by asking me:
What about you, you’re unpartnered right now?
Unpartnered… I’d never heard the term before and found it odd. My state of being as a state of not-being something else. Peculiar. Particularly for me perhaps; partnered is not a natural state of being for me, with a few exceptions I’ve been single all my life. Not that I’m opposed to the concept, I just haven’t ever felt the need to pair bond just for the sake of it. Sometime in high school I came across one of those inspirational quotes: It’s better to be by yourself than be with someone who makes you feel alone. I guess that kinda stuck in my psyche, and it takes somebody extraordinary, somebody who’s firing on all the same levels I’m firing on, someone who can really see and appreciate ALL of who I am to pique my interest – my hippie friends can’t comprehend why I’m hanging out at Protospace, and I try not to talk about the ineffable around my cerebral geek friends. Unless I’m with a guy who can get all the dimensions of who I am, some part of me inevitably feels alone.
So mostly I’m single, and that’s cool. One of the things I learned from the big crash I’ve had this summer is my need for solitude – it isn’t just the rest I need because of the illness, but the quiet time to come to centre, to be grounded, the space to create and write. I need to be alone.
But maybe not all the time. As I try and inspire myself to make some dinner (so far consisting of a handful of cashews and a cup of tea) I’m thinking maybe it’s not good for me to live alone. Having a passive presence in the house, someone to share meals with, someone to hang out with when you’re doing nothing, some idle conversation, it’s just not there in my life. For me to socialize I have to be active about it, go out and seek it, or invite people over and make it happen. And for as tired as I’ve been this summer, I just haven’t made the effort, and found anything but really low key stuff too much anyway.
I regret not getting an apartment with 2 bedrooms; an opportunity to have a roommate (financially this would be HUGE), but also to just have another human presence kicking around. And my parents are aging – certainly not feeble – but I think I’d like to have them close, be able to share meals and groceries, just sit beside my mom and hold her hand and giggle in our idle moments.
I think I’d like to have that kind of shared living, but I think that while I live alone and have an over-abundance of solitude. Perhaps with roommates or family about I might miss my solitude or find I have to work hard to seek that out instead. It’s funny, I live in a building with 30 other people in close proximity and aside from one very kick-ass neighbour have very little interaction with them. I fantasize about filling this building with my friends and family – everybody I love, just a pyjama pants hallway journey with coffee cup in hand (though if you live waaaay up on the 3rd floor, I may not visit you as often). The best of both worlds, the home I have now and love, the solitude I need, and social interaction literally a stone’s throw away.
This crash has been a real time-out for me, a time to really look at who I am and what I want and how I want to live my life. I don’t have all the answers yet, and EVERYTHING seems up for review. I can feel my world shifting underneath me, without any certainty of where that’s going to lead. The idea of that is very stressful and unnerving, and yet ripe and exciting and full of potential too.