After an 18 year marriage crumbled, followed by several tries at relationships that ended with guys addicted to porn or lying or both, I came to cherish being single. I wasn't at all good at attracting good men, but I became very good at being happy living alone. I discovered I like my own company. I like being with my own thoughts.
I can wake up on any given day and feel the peace, the fulfillment, the conflict free zone that swaddles me, and I breathe easily knowing that I can choose to do exactly what I want that day without asking permission, without consulting someone, without compromising, negotiating or giving in or up something.
All the energy that was once devoted to making a relationship work, and it is work if you try to do it well, is now expended on my passions: photography, art, writing, blogging, reading, learning and activism. No more arguments. No more waiting for someone who is chronically late. I don't need to get along with someone else's friends and family. I don't have to go to parties I never wanted to go to. I don't have to deal with the dysfunction of another human being. I don't have to explain myself. All that energy that went into the struggle of connecting with someone, is freed up for creative endeavors, and of those, I have many. This is bliss. Truly bliss.
Four to five months out of the year is spent in remote mountain terrain close to 11,000 feet (3352.8m) where there's no cell service and no land lines. There's no electricity; only my solar. Water is hauled in. The nearest part-time neighbor is a mile away. Grocery stores are 45 miles away. I thrive in the solitude. I have a satellite, so I have Internet for connectivity to the outside world.
People ask if I don't miss sharing my life with someone else. When I was married, my husband did not like traveling, hiking or camping, or doing many of the things in the city I enjoyed doing such as going to plays or concerts. I backpacked solo through Europe for two months when I turned forty. At another stage in my life I went back to Europe (had a boyfriend after my divorce) and traveled solo again for over a month. Between relationships, I backpacked through Asia for 5 months -- again, solo. I've never had a partner who would or could travel with me. As for all the other ways couples share their lives, I'm at a place in my life, where the trade off of not having that is so worth all the other things that being solo provides. So by way of a long explanation, no, I don't miss sharing my life with one special person.
In BRAIN PICKINGS WEEKLY, an email came to me today, and in a flash of synchronicity, it had a lead article about living alone. Here's an excerpt:
How to Be Alone: An Antidote to One of the
I spend little time thinking about my single status. It's such an integral part of me. I don't long for anyone. My singleness is a non-issue. People will ask if I'm dating anyone and when I say, no, I also add that I'm not looking. When I say I'm happy without a partner, I don't think most people relate or even understand. Some people probably think I'm fooling myself. What they may never grasp is that I'm as devoted to being single as someone else is devoted to their partner. The bottom line is I have no room for someone else in my life. I'm not needing to fill a void. There's no hole in me. I simply have no desire to merge my life with someone. I've done that and now I want independence. I thrive alone. I don't want to cook for another person. Cooking has never been my thing. I don't want to share the remote. (I don't have a TV, but the concept is still there.) I don't want to mingle finances. I'm not only comfortable in my own skin, I like my own company. Being alone is not lonely for me. I'm not a man-hater by any account. It has nothing to do with that. There are some gorgeous men out there - inside and out - but it's not about that. I just love being single.
At the same time, I can relate to people who love being married. I once did. I wouldn't have traded being married for anything. I loved, loved, loved having someone in my corner, someone to rely on and wake up to. But what I loved, in my situation, never really existed. I thought I was in love and living with the love of my life and that he was faithful and honest and real. I was wrong. It was a hard lesson, but a lasting one. I have no regrets. I harbor no resentment. I just picked up the pieces of my shattered life and began rebuilding a life much more aligned with my soul. Once you let go of everything and start over, amazing things can happen. But you have to truly let go in your heart of hearts.
As I thought about blogging on this topic, I did some research. In the 1950s, traditional marriage was seen as the “only culturally acceptable route to adulthood and independence,” according to historian Stephanie Coonz in her book Marriage, a History. In fact, the year I was born, 1957, a survey came out where 80 percent of Americans responded that people who preferred to remain single were “sick,” “neurotic,” or “immoral.” I had no idea there was such a stigma! "By 1978, only one-quarter of Americans still felt it was morally wrong to choose to live without a partner," wrote Janelle Nanos, in her article SINGLE BY CHOICE.
I read where some people are trying to come up with another term for the kind of single who are single by choice. In one article, they were referred to as trailblazers. Personally, I don't feel like a trailblazer and I don't need a new title. Where I'm at as single by choice, is just that. It's where I'm at. If blogging about it helps others to gain a better understanding, then that's good. If someone doesn't like it, doesn't approve of it, wants to judge, that's their thing. It won't bother me.
In experiencing solitude, British author Sara Maitland writes:
"I got fascinated by silence; by what happens to the human spirit, to identity the personality when the talking stops, when you press the off button, when you venture out into that enormous emptiness. I was interested in silence as a lost cultural phenomenon, as a thing of beauty and as a space that had been explored and used over and over again by different individuals, for different reasons and with wildly differing results. I began to use my own life as a sort of laboratory to test some ideas and to find out what it felt like. Almost to my surprise, I found I loved silence. It suited me. I got greedy for more. In my hunt for more silence, I found this valley and built a house here, on the ruins of an old shepherd’s cottage."
I'm an artist, writer, photographer, private investigator and an activist in small ways.
"Turning indifference into making a difference."
A labor of love website devoted to animal and human rights, and better living. A place to be inspired ...
My LADYBUG book is filled with beautiful images & inspiring quotes. Click here for more info.
I visited the Tiger Temple in Thailand & later found out it is under investigation for tiger trafficking and animal abuse. Read full story. In 2015 it was raided. More than 100 tigers and protected bird species in Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, popularly known as the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province were impounded by authorities following complaints that the temple was alleged to engage in illegal wildlife trading.
"The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious,
awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
~ Henry Miller
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS helps people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from healthcare.
Read about life in the woods with Chippy & the crew...