Friday, October 26, 2007

Learning to be alone

It's a strange thing... As much as I have considered myself sort of a loner throughout my life, I really hate to be alone. I bore quite easily, that's for certain; but even more than that, I just want a companion with whom I can share all the moments of my life. It's normal, after all, to want someone else beside you.

The problem is, I've never really learned how to be content with solitude. In college it was usually pretty easy--all of my friends lived, worked, and went to school within a five-mile radius; Bob worked within walking distance from both school and home, the two places where I spent all of my time; most of my classes were group-oriented, meaning most of the time when I wasn't in a classroom I was probably at a meeting or in my bed asleep.

Moving has really made it difficult, though. You know, most stress assessment analyses proclaim that the experience of moving is just about as stressful as having a death in the family... and now I'm learning why. Suddenly nearly all of my friends are more than an hour's drive away, and when I go to work I'm surrounded by people with whom I have not yet learned to be comfortable. Who knows if and when I will ever be fully comfortable with my colleagues at work--we share an interest in accounting, but sometimes I think that is about all that we share. Bob works a different schedule than I do and when he gets home, he really values time to himself. And that's something I have been reluctant to give him. I am beginning to realize how selfish it is for me to demand his every spare minute, when he needs time to be alone. It places an undue burden on him to entertain me, and in turn creates stress in our marriage.

One solution for me is to make other friends. I really need friends here in Atlanta, but it's hard, coming straight from a college town that was teeming with people with whom I could usually find some common ground. The world I'm in right now is not set up the same as the world I'm used to, and I'm having a hard time pursuing friendships. I've met a few people whom I really enjoy, but it's still in that awkward state where I'm afraid to make the first move toward spending real quality time together. So that's one thing I am aiming to work on, so that Bob is not the only person I go to when I need company.

But the other solution, which I think is equally important, is to learn how to be alone. Everyone should have time to themselves, and I need to learn what to do with that time when I have it. Most of my favorite activities are not multiple-person activities anyway--writing, cooking, singing, reading, praying and meditating. Often when I'm alone I'm too depressed at the prospect of being alone to actually engage myself in something I would really enjoy. That's the other thing I'm going to focus on doing for myself... and for Bob. And for us.


jenny said...

Have y'all found a church in Atlanta yet?

Jackie said...

Always difficult when moving from your known environment. I know so little about Atlanta except what I read during the Civil Rights period.

I saw they had a Vegan and vegetarian group once when searching for a particular recipe...maybe that's a good place to start ?