I’ve gone through a lot of change in the last year. I’ve had to come to terms with a lot of things including my health, my life, and my relationship status (or rather my lack of one). I was used to being in a relationship with someone. I was married and when that fell apart I jumped into another relationship way too fast and was engaged. And now, it has taken nearly a year for me to come to terms with the fact that I am single again. But being single is not the end of the world. In fact, there are some pretty awesome things about being where I am in life right now.
Looking at the facts, from where I was as an emotionally abused housewife unable to get out until now, I call this Freedom. It was a fight and a struggle but, I have my own vehicle now. I’m not bound to a location or at the mercy of my family to take me if I need or want to go somewhere. If I want to go see friends, I go. I don’t have to ask permission or argue about why I need the truck. It’s mine, its my time, and I can use it how I want to. No guilt trips, no worries, and no arguments are happening over my wanting to get out of the house.
Having my own job is a similar thing. Its my money. I spend it how I choose. I don’t have anyone taking it to buy a bunch of things that I don’t use or need. And I don’t have to feel guilty for getting something that I want for myself. If I want to go to Starbucks, a movie, or out to dinner I can go and not have to justify it to anyone. If I want a new outfit or shoes, I can pick them out and decide what to spend.
Things are far different for me now than they were when I was married. I have been to see my family more often. I have my dog, Pippin. (Something I wanted but my ex would never agree to.) I have my own space and I don’t have to share that with anyone but my dog. He doesn’t hog the covers or the bed either. I am able to take care of myself. My health is a priority now. I go to the doctor, I get the medicine I need – when I need it, and I can take time to relax when I feel like I need it.
Those are all good things. There are many more that I could list. Maybe another post on the perks of being single is in order. For me, the most important part of this is figuring out who I am and what I want out of life. In so many ways I feel like I’ve been propelled back to when I was a teenager. I’m 35 years old and having to look at life from a whole new perspective. Coming to terms with the idea that what I wanted before may not be possible isn’t easy. I think it is necessary though. Reclaiming my life as my own and deciding what I want to do with that from this point forward is important to me.
I’ve come to embrace being single. I don’t date. I tried to do the online dating thing but found it to be lacking in responses and far too shallow in the ones I did get. Besises I really don’t see a reason to date. My lifestyle and what I want requires more of my time than I can expect a partner to spend on their own. Instead, I seek out new friendships and try to build a social circle. I plan excursions that create new experiences and allows me to fill the creative well. I don’t have to explain why I want to go to historical sites or browse antique shops. I don’t have to worry about what to do for a vacation whether I want to go to Disney World or take a cruise or just visit with family down by the beach. I can just do it. I admit that it would be nice to be able to share those experiences with someone but, I’m becoming somewhat selfish in my singleness. Having spent so much time thinking about what others in my life wanted or needed and conceding my needs for theirs, I think that I have earned some time to be a little selfish.
Claiming an artistic life doesn’t have to mean being alone though. I know that. But, I’m selective in who I will share my life with on such an intimate level. The one thing I did learn being in relationships is that if you lose who you are in them, you miss the point entirely. I won’t say that I won’t ever be in another relationship. But I will say that I am worth the effort it takes to earn my trust and keep it. I will say that I won’t lower my standards for what I am seeking and I won’t give up my dreams or my art to have someone in my life. That would be denying who I am.
The next year or two is going to be about reclaiming my own life and my identity as a woman, as an artist, and as a human being. It takes self-care and exploration to do that. It takes time and that is something that I seem to have in abundance.