I used to live in a house with some fierce women and we spent our evenings eating dinner in the kitchen floor while laughing, crying, yelling, or praying.
Now, I come home to a quiet apartment, to the hum of my refrigerator and the buzz of the light above my stove.
It’s cozy this time of year. I turn on my Christmas lights and wrap up in my chunky gray blanket. It’s quiet and peaceful; there is a lot of time to think pray. I do a lot of that these days, a lot of eating take-out food and talking out loud to the only one who can hear me.
There’s a lot of sitting with my own thoughts. I’ve learned more about myself in these months than maybe in my entire life. I’ve learned a lot about staying with myself, being patient, laughing at my quirky tendencies, forgiving my breakdowns, talking through my frustrations, trusting my gut.
It’s an interesting thing to see how you’ll react the first time you have to call someone from maintenance to repair something, or how you’ll respond if/when you accidentally forget to pay a bill. How hard you fight when everything starts pushing against you. You will surprise yourself and suddenly find out the kind of adult that the childhood version of you grew up to be.
Some nights you will get texts from other friends or see pictures online of everyone eating meals together and you will feel the sting of not being there. There are responsibilities you carry now: work, school, freelance, bills, groceries, laundry.
It will hurt. You will learn to sit with yourself in the pain of working through loneliness and it will hurt. You will reflect on all the times in your life when you weren’t alone. You will regret all the times you chose to be alone when you could have called on others. Because now you don’t always have the choice.
You will think about the movie you went to see by yourself years ago, how you bragged that you were so independent. You will think about the person who told you, “I would have gone with you” and you will hate your youthful pride. The pain of wishing they could say that to you now will settle deep into your bones.
You will put up your first very own Christmas tree and it will make you squeal with joy. You will be proud of it. But no one will will stand next to you to share that joy. You will sit alone and you will learn something beautiful about yourself in that moment.
You love Christmas. You love trees. You love making things beautiful. Beauty can and should still be enjoyed alone, you’ll learn that a lot. You will instantly remember all the times in your youth when you acted like Christmas and decorating was an inconvenience. When you had other things you needed or wanted to do and you will realize that you never want to be that person again. You never want to be the person who thinks celebrating comes too early and who hurries to get it over with.
Loneliness can be one of the best things and worst things to ever happen to you. I’ve found out that I am one of the funniest people I know. I am the worst grocery shopper on the planet. I hate laundry with a fierce passion. Washing dishes calms me. I am the kind of person who has a junk drawer. It is necessary to have 7 shampoos in the shower at once. Bonefish has really good Sunday brunch. I feel weirdly guilty when I use paper towels. I use a lot of paper towels. I like wearing tennis shoes. Every night get really sentimental and teary when I’m turning off all the lights and getting ready for bed. I enjoy myself. I’m learning to stay with myself and to fight for the person that I’ve become and am hoping I’ll turn out to be.
I’m sorry I didn’t ask you to come to that movie.
I really love Christmas.
I might be looking to hire someone to do my laundry.
You should all invest in stock in Bounty.
Sit with yourself, stay with yourself, fight to become the kind of person that sometimes only loneliness can teach you to be.
11 thoughts on “Learning from Loneliness”
Love this, great point about enjoying beauty even when you’re alone. I was ready to do nothing for the holidays, no decorations, no tree because it was “just me” despite the enjoyment I get from doing those things. Your post has reminded me that sharing those things does NOT make them more beautiful, and I can enjoy them as much alone as if I was sharing them….
That gives my heart such joy. It has been painful, but worth it. I hope that you fully dive in and celebrate all the beauty of this season! Thanks for reading and commenting!!
Ah, this is so beautiful! The hum of the refrigerator and the buzz of the light over the stove – one can just hear the silence beneath…
Thanks so much!!! Thanks for being such a faithful reader!
omg i feel weirdly guilty about using paper towels too!! 😱
Haha!! I am so glad I’m not the only person!!! And yet, I keep buying them and using them…..
I really enjoyed that..it was bitter sweet for me.Especially all the times I choose to be along and now that’s not a choice. Being to independent has its risks and I have regrets…..
This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Enjoyed reading it. Being alone a lot,myself, I can relate to this post very well.