So I had a slight revelation over the Christmas/New Year holiday break. It was a thought that I’ve been mulling over the past few weeks. It’s a thought that when first entered my brain, shocked me, then scared me, then inspired me to process further, and now here I am… writing and hoping that something I’ve been thinking about possibly resonates with someone, if not — no worries, it’s doing a job on me (and still in-process).
If you’ve followed my blog, you know I do my best to live my life, do my job, enjoy my friends, live my experiences and be thankful for all those moments, the good, the bad the ugly. There are moments where I “do single” well and then other times, in my most honest and vulnerable times, where I “do single” very poorly.
So my revelation……. it was (and still is) emotional. It was (and still is) a bit shaking. It was (and still is) very much in process!! I realized that over the past years, probably 5-10 years, in a effort to live my life to the fullest, to make it a good life, to enjoy it fully – and an effort to just sit at home, pass the time waiting (possible for “Mr. Right”) I have filled my life with 2hour relationships.
What is that, you ask…..?
I have discovered that the AVERAGE breakfast, dinner,coffee or date, tends to be about 2 hours long. I used to plan my social schedule on that data. In my less content days, where I was doing everything possible to fill my vacant schedule (and in essence, the emptiness – to avoid pain of soloness), I would schedule a dinner, at 5:15-7:15pm then schedule another friend for coffee 7:30-9:30pm. That’s insane, right? I know… and you’ll be glad to know, I stopped doing that.
Being 35, spending the last 10-15 years on the go, in college, traveling the globe, starting a job, finding friends to do life with – I’ve gotten great at catching up with friends in those 2 hours chunks of time. And I think, in all honesty – connect well, feel encouraged, loved, valued, challenged and I think they did too.
For Christmas my family and I headed to Orlando, from PA, driving, hours upon hours in the car, it was good Quality Time – one could say. I was nervous about not having “my space”, my car, my schedule and routine, my control over noise and people being in my personal-space bubble… spending 10 days with people, all the time, was going to be interesting as my norm the past 10 years has been solo, quiet, my space, my schedule……..
Vacation was great, it was way better than I thought – and I SURVIVED! On our way home, we stopped at an extended family’s house and stayed several nights. They were the perfect host and welcomed all 7 of us into their space for 2 days. On our last night there, we ended up eating dinner around the family-dining table, sitting and chatting, then played cards for several hours. We had a great time, but I didn’t realize – until I was in my room later that night, alone, what those several hours did to my soul, to my perspective on my reality.
We had a great time. We laughed. We were family. It wasn’t just a 2 hour dinner, a chat and then off to the next thing. It was chill, relaxed, it was family – it was meaningful relationships. There was nostalgia in that moment of reflection, remembering back to days when I was younger, but in that moment of reflection, there was happiness, sadness, pain and tears. My reality, post vacation, would be soloness – relationships in 2 hour chunks of time and moments ending with “see ya later” – and watching my friends drive off to their reality of spouses and kids, and me going to mine, solo. Yes, I have a great house, great space, quiet, and it really is great, but there are moments as I watch friends – seeing their lives full of long-term relationships, people witnessing their everyday, minute-by-minute lives, beautiful dreams and I stand watching it all happen, not seeing my life with the same glow and fullness – it feel like I’m just marking time, 2 hour chunks of time.
I’ve realized that as glamorous or great as my life may seem to others, it’s made of my 45hrs of work and beautiful friendships functioning in those time frames and on some level it very sobering! I have some of the most amazing friends on the planet — ones who call me on my crap, who embrace my messes and challenge me to new places, who love and accept all my quirkiness but there’s something so sobering to me, the reality of the makeup of my life right now that smacked me so hard in the face.
Please hear me:
I don’t dislike my life. I do not dislike my amazing friends who are married and have families – I LOVE that’s their reality, and I’m not saying that “2hr relationships” over dinner or coffee shouldn’t be, because they are some of the most life-giving times for me. However the reality of my life, and where I stand right now is way different than I ever dreamed, and I think perhaps there needs to be a shift. A friend recently asked me what the “plan” is when I told her of this revelation, and I honestly don’t know. I love that this is my challenge to think through (because sometimes challenge reminds me I’m not dead), but I’m still very much working out the details of change…… I guess that’s why life is a journey. Thankful to have more time, more days to figure out what a few more steps forward look like.