So this Fall, I’ve been spending a lot of time hanging out with single people. Don’t get invited to many couple events, and most are busy with their own relationships and responsibilities. A quiet evening at home doesn’t usually include inviting a single girl over for dinner and a movie. I still have some challenges with eating by myself, so I tend to hang out with other single people. It’s easy to get a little jaded and cynical when you hear stories of folks dating at my age. Combine those stories with episodes in my circle where grown ups behave badly and add the dollop of my own failed post widowhood relationship. It’s enough to make anyone swear that solo is the way to go. A dog and a few close friends. Who needs anything more?
At Burgdorf last weekend, I reserved 3 cabins. 2 small ones for the couples I invited, and the larger one where we gathered for all of us that came solo. It was wonderful to be around couples that actually still like each other, and refreshing to have enough time and lack of responsibility to think. I didn’t sleep. I thought a lot. Here is what I came up with:
- I am surrounded by love. I have family that loves me, friends that love me, and I know couples that love each other and have room in their hearts for me. I am lucky. I see the divine in 2 places. In the natural world and in the love that exists between people.
- I will likely be in some state of grief for a long time. I am a girl, I am from the midwest, I accommodate, and I am vulnerable. This makes dating scary.
- I cannot separate sex from love, and I am monogamous. I won’t have sex with someone that may be sleeping with someone else, and the concept of friends with benefits makes my skin crawl.
- While I may be crazy, I am not insane. Health; mental, physical, financial, and social, is important to me. I work hard to keep myself out of the gutter of despair. While I can empathize with a friend’s pain, I cannot rescue them. I am simply not strong enough.
- I still believe in love in all of its forms. I believe in romantic love. I believe in a relationship where one plus one equals one but is also is far greater than 2. I’m grateful for that kind of love in my past, and believe that it can happen again.
Last night I walked the dog through the neighborhoods rather than our usual jaunt down through the linear parks. Amazingly, it seems I know someone in just about every other house. And you know what? Behind most of those lit up curtains live folks that are still married and/or committed couples. Not all of them are “meet in high school/college, get married, have a family and grow old together” couples. Many are on their second, or their third relationships. There is death and remarriage. There are folks that weathered affairs and broken promises and are rebuilding. I’m sure many are struggling and working through something even as I write this post. But the thing they all have in common? They believe. And so do I. Look at the pictures. The evidence is overwhelmingly in our favor.