Home > life, links, reflection > Being in the singular

Being in the singular

November 7, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Things are still up and down here in my little universe, but at least the amplitude between the highs and lows is decreasing.  Got to reconnect on the phone with Max yesterday, which really helped brighten my day.  Though I’m strangely disconcerted by the thought that it may be the lack of consistent human company that is so strongly affecting my moods recently.  I think it may be at least partial cause, anyway.

I am a firm believer in the necessity of a tribal structure for us humans to really thrive completely – socially, emotionally, and within relationships.  Community really is a big deal when it comes to our psychological stability, I think, which is interesting as I’ve never felt liked I belonged to any central community at any depth.  People and places have always gone by without much consequence, but I think that’s all finally starting to catch up to me.

It seems that I’ve just come to the conclusion that I am psychologically unstable.  Uh oh.

On a not-entirely-unrelated tangent, I came upon this lovely article, called “10 realistic rules for good non-monogamous relationships,” through the Twitter stream this morning.   I don’t know that it directly applies to me, since I’m still not sure where I stand within the realm of sexual relationships, but as I commented on the post, I’m sure the majority of these rules are important for any kind of meaningful relationship: recognizing and battling jealousy, communicating honestly, and knowing your own desires, needs, and boundaries of compromise.

Her rule no. 3 is what stuck out to me, though:

3. Be happy ALONE. Yes, that’s right. Alone. All alone. No partner. Married or otherwise partnered already? That’s fine, but you still need to have this one down. If you approach your relationships with the idea that they’ll make you happy when you can’t make yourself happy, you will inevitably be disappointed.

Reading through this section, I realized this may no longer hold true for me.  While I spent the bulk of my childhood happily content to be left alone to my own devices, and while I never felt uncomfortable eating meals alone throughout high school and college, somewhere between graduation and now, I seem to have lost that sense of contended solitude.

I have a track record of being a loner.  I’ve gone to music concerts bars, and restaurants – and attended tons of eventsalone.  Usually it’s because I want to go despite friends not wanting or able to accompany me.  In fact it’s gotten to the point that I’ve started going to events without thinking about inviting others, because I’ve already anticipated that they won’t want to or can’t go.  I think this ties in strongly with my issues with intimacy as well, but that’s a whole other post altogether.

And, given the choice between not attending something because no one will come with me and just going alone, I will almost always choose the latter.

In contrast, I openly admit to being lazy, giving in often to inertia, and being a complete homebody.  So it’s not always others that contribute to my solitude.  I’ve always preferred being surrounded by trees to being surrounded by people.

(Maybe that’s another contributor – not being able to easily find a patch of green that isn’t surrounded by the bustle of the city…)

Yet I remember how, living by myself for a summer in Taiwan, I often felt overwhelmed by loneliness.  And now, living in San Francisco, despite there probably being tenfold more activities here that I have available to me than I would ever have had in my rural hometown, I’m again hit by wave after wave of discontent and sluggishness.

So, what has changed?  Why does it now seem that I am no longer content to be in my own company?  Why is it that I can be so happy when I’m with people, and then suddenly experience such a drop in energy and mood when I find myself alone afterwards?  Why do I suddenly feel lost on my own?  Why do I no longer feel the desire to attend anything if I have to go alone?  As those who’ve dealt with my pining on chat know already, I’ve been bemoaning my lack of a consistent and close partner, with which to attend things like play parties and rope workshops.

I know that with this discontent will come a move towards change.  That is inevitable.  I already feel strong urges to make some lifestyle changes to help the process.  It’s unfortunate, however, that the one activity I really want to engage in – rock-climbing – really requires having a consistent partner, not to mention a partner who can belay.  Perhaps I should take up running again (oh, but how I loathe running!); I’ve also entertained the idea of signing up for yoga and/or boxing classes.  Both of which surely are not cheap, however, so I don’t know if my budget will allow for either yet.

And,  dammit, I will attend a workshop or play party at the Citadel!

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Categories: life, links, reflection
  1. Max
    November 8, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    “psychologically unstable”? How about just a bit moody and adrift?

    Let’s see: Graduated. Left college. Moved to new town/state/culture. Looking for work. New job. Parental pressures. Financial pressures. You’ve got a lot going on – I’d be amazed if you weren’t struggling a bit.

    Give yourself some time to sit with all this. It’s OK to be sad or moody or uncertain some times.

    You’re strong and smart. I’m utterly confident that you’ll sort all this out and that you’ll make (mainly) good decisions.

    And I’m in your corner.

    – Max

    • November 9, 2009 at 12:42 pm

      I guess that was a bit of an exaggeration…

      Thanks for the reality check and support. I think I just needed to get mad enough at myself to make some changes. And reading this already makes me feel better!

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