One of the hardest things about being divorced – other than sharing your child – is learning to spend time alone. I’ve always thought of myself as a social person but I do relish in time alone. I enjoy reading and writing and having time with my own thoughts.
But getting divorced and having more time to yourself than you can remember since before kids can be torture.
I remember my first couple weeks alone. My friends said things like: “I’d give anything for a night to myself.” And “Oh to sit on the couch and watch a show with no interruptions – I can’t imagine!”
And I, myself, had once uttered those words before.
But now it’s different.
My friends are all married with kids, and I find that being by myself can actually feel…dare I say it…lonely?
I’ve had this conversation with many – all of whom tell me to enjoy the time to myself, work on my passion (Concrete Boots), and get to know myself again.
Now I just find myself here. Here alone when my daughter is with her dad.
Sure I sometimes enjoy the time alone – the minimal time to myself. I do enjoy going to the gym, shopping and going out for drinks with friends.
But often it can be painful. It’s lonely. I have to find things to do to keep myself busy. Sometimes I have nothing to do – and those times are especially trying.
I have been working on this.
I’ve had more than a few people tell me I need to learn to enjoy my own company and learn to love myself. I was told just today how imprudent it would be to get into an unhappy relationship for the sole purpose of having company.
I hear that – and I agree – but it’s easy for those of you with someone to say. It’s easy for those of you who have full weekends and see your kids 24/7. If you are unhappy you’re probably too busy to know it.
Now I sound bitter, and I’m not meaning to sound bitter.
In fact, I’m meaning to sound positive!
Because today I did something I’ve never done. Today I went and saw a movie by myself. I’ve eaten alone – I remember eating a fabulous dinner all by myself in New York. And I love – and I mean LOVE – to shop alone.
But I have never in my 37 years gone to see a movie alone.
Today I decided would be the day. Today I spent the day with my daughter and my parents until I had to be home for the switch off. Driving home I felt like crying. Felt like my heart was empty.
Earlier this morning I had decided I wanted to take the afternoon for myself…..I love the Jaws thrillers so I decided at 7 AM that this evening I would go see The Shallows. I also have a total girl crush on Blake Lively.
How nice would it be to go sit by myself wherever I want and not have to look at anyone or talk to anyone and to have a glass of wine and whatever food I want…It was all about me.
This was my plan over Dunkin Donuts iced coffee at 7 AM. But, by 3 pm – pick-up time – I was dreading it.
Go see a movie by myself? What kind of loser had I become? The whole thing was just so sad.
I walked into Hollywood Blvd and wouldn’t you know it was packed. Like there was a line out the door packed. I stood there – alone – thinking who in their right minds is going to a show at 5 pm on a Sunday evening? Other then me by myself.
Luckily the theater playing The Shallows was empty – though I did have this awkward exchange with a woman looking for four seats. I happened to be right in the middle of the four seats they could sit in. I offered to move and felt her look at me with pity: “You sit wherever you want. We’ll figure it out.”
Once the movie started I was fine. No one was trying to whisper in my ear or ask me, “What just happened?” I could just sit and be. And drink my wine.
It was super odd because this lady in front of me brought four kids under age 10 to this somewhat “scary” Jaws movie (albeit PG-13) and as this shark is attacking this beautiful girl someone behind me started to laugh. Like wtf, you serial killer, I thought to myself, then wondered what in the world made this mother bring her children to this movie over Finding Dory?
I can’t imagine those kids won’t have nightmares because I know I will never get in an ocean again.
The movie ended (a very entertaining one hour and 27 minutes) and I left alone.
surprised sad it was still light out. More time I’d have to find something to do.
But, I did it. I survived and have lived to share my insights with you.
As with everything there is good and bad….I promise you that the mother in front of me with the four kids was wishing she had the peace and quiet I had during that movie.
Just like my friends who tell me they would love to watch a show without interruption. You want it until it’s forced upon you. Until you have no other choice but to sit by yourself, with yourself.
You’re forced to relearn you. And forced to love yourself again.