After the end of a ten year relationship and a 3,000 mile move I had to relearn how to enjoy moments alone, and how to grow and continue moving forward in life.
I am here, living in this moment, and it is great. I have goosebumps on my skin. A wave washes over me, and I want to share it … to share the sights and sensations. But I am single; I have no partner beside me to share this moment with, so I enjoy it alone.
I was in a relationship for ten years. I became accustomed to having someone by my side who knew every facet of my life, from the day-to-day monotony of work and chores to the big dream discussions. We might have such relationships with friends, parents or even siblings. But one life event, such as a break-up, a move or a passing, can suddenly leave us feeling a little empty.
I have discussed these feelings with friends, both male and female, who can relate, who have experienced the same feelings following similar disruptions to their everyday lives. Each day we have new, unique experiences, yet sometimes we lose our one steadfast companion and have no one to share these moments with.
I try to feel strong in my independence, my achievements, the moments when I know I accomplished something on my own. But I cannot deny that sometimes I am lonely and just want to lean into someone and share in their warmth for a moment. There are times when I miss having someone to talk to later about an experience; it brings a tear to my eye, this moment of strength and complete vulnerability intertwined, as I struggle to find my footing in this emotional state that comes with loss and learning to move forward.
After my ten year relationship ended, the majority of my inner circle moved, and I moved 3,000 miles from home, I decided to find a way to embrace these moments; I was determined to not let being single hold me back. So what if I don’t have a singular companion to share all my experiences with? I have created new friendships, and in meeting new people, I will not only have all my previous experiences to reflect on, but new ones to create and share.
It was hard at first. I found I missed the deep conversations you have with life-long companions. I found it sad to survive for long periods of time on the surface-skimming ‘getting to know you’ conversations that come with meeting new people. But I grew from it. I learned how to make friends again in each area of my life.
I learned to grow a bit bolder. As an introvert, putting myself out there to make new friends was hard. But I pushed through the rough patches, learnt from them and grew as an individual.
Once I gained a bit of traction, I decided to fully embrace spending time with me, myself and I, and I booked an overseas holiday on my own. I was asked whom I was travelling with and found my footing to proudly say, “I am travelling on my own.” I dived into the whole experience and was able to enjoy dining alone, exploring on my own and being available for anything I fancied that came my way.
Sure, I still have days where I miss my old friends, or driving a car around familiar streets that don’t require a map reference or conversations about some funny incident I went through years ago. But I know those times will come again; I will visit old friends and have deep conversations with them. Until my new friendships mature, I will learn the streets and find my direction in this new city. In time, I will make new friends and slowly build experiences we can laugh about and reflect on together.
The silver lining from these changes is growth, as I learn more about myself each day through these challenges. Such a change brings fresh experiences as I explore a new city and surroundings, now part of my ‘backyard.’ I will learn from new people, new places and new experiences that weren’t available to me before.
Living alone has given me time to wonder, to discover more about my passions, my strengths, my character. I have made a new friend in myself, and I now give my dreams newfound time and priority. I have embraced the positives amongst the challenging times, the chance for growth and self-discovery.
At some point in our lives, most of us get thrown a curveball, something that changes our day-to-day lives. We can easily dwell on it, and while adequate time for healing may be needed when dealing with a particularly difficult challenge, we must seek out the silver lining. We should try to let adversity mould us for the better and make us softer, not harder.
My changes have been blessings in ways I couldn’t have imagined, and looking back, these blessings followed a challenge I pushed through. The clouds do make way for the sunshine, and whilst there will always be an unreachable pot of gold we can dwell on, our unrealistic desires and unrealized dreams, if we choose not to let that overshadow the beauty of the rainbow, oh, how beautiful it can be to stand proud and strong, even alone, when the storm clears.